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Scholars in the Philippines to receive allowance through e-wallet

The government is set to make the distribution of scholars’ allowances faster and much safer with help from e-wallet service providers. Isidro Lapeña, Secretary of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) informed the public that it has partnered with e-payment mobile app GCash for the disbursement of allowances for its scholars.  

The TESDA chief highlighted the benefits of migrating payment of allowances in a mobile application. For one, he mentioned that this method is the safest way to reach out to the agency’s scholars amid the implementation of strict protocols to stem the spread of COVID-19. He added, “This is also a more efficient mode with shorter processing time. Scholars only need to download the app and register their account.

The TESDA projects that 274,577 scholars from different areas in the Philippines will benefit from this mode of allowance distribution. The department also announced that these scholars will be able to receive their allowances via mobile starting next year. The TESDA Secretary assured that the online distribution of allowances through GCash will still be available even after restrictions due to the pandemic are lifted. 

Aside from making disbursement processes more convenient for TESDA students, the department mentioned that the change in their processes will further allow scholars to maximise their allowances. Using a mobile app to receive and encash allowances would mitigate expenses in transportation in going to physical offices of TESDA.  

The agency has released a circular earlier this year which covers the allotment of a training support fund for its scholars. Circular No. 078 provides that under the new normal, 50% of this support fund will be given to scholars within the first two weeks of their training. The remaining chunk of the budget shall be disbursed after the students have completed at least 80% of their training. 

According to recent news, TESDA announced that it is rolling out an initiative to provide scholarship grants to more than 200 drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs) and their dependents in General Santos City, Sarangani Province under the “Tsuper Iskolar” program. The bulk of beneficiaries were dependents of PUV drivers who were affected by the PUV Modernisation Programme. These beneficiaries were to enrol in seven skills training courses that are offered by TESDA-accredited schools in the area. 

TESDA to team up with other e-wallet services 

In the same statement, the TESDA Secretary said they are open to teaming up with other e-service providers to further upscale its digital programmes for students enrolled under their curriculum.  

TESDA added that its decision to sign an agreement with GCash was bolstered by its current reach in the e-payments market. According to a study made by TESDA, GCash recorded over 20 million users alongside a high number of application downloads last year.  The TESDA chief was quick to say that it is not closing its doors to possible tie-ups with other e-wallet providers that can deliver the same quality services. 

TESDA subsequently mentioned that it is considering a collaboration with government-owned Landbank. However, the partnership did not materialise due to issues in processing the scholars’ enrollment information and in releasing prepaid cards to be presented for disbursements. The agency added that it is on the lookout for an allowance distribution scheme that will suit their short-term courses. 

This recent undertaking is anticipated to be improved by the National Broadband Program of the Department of Information and Communications (DICT). In a report by OpenGov Asia, Congress announced that it has doubled the nation’s budget for the improvement of digital infrastructure. The NBP is expected to speed up internet connectivity particularly in far-flung areas in the Philippines.

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