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The Philippine Government to support 44,475 STEM scholars in 2020

The Philippine Government will be funding the education of 44,475 science scholars next year. This will include 1,927 in PhD and 4,264 in Masters’ programs.

According to recent press release, Senator Ralph Recto announced this initiative which is expected to boost the national talent pool that the country needs to win the future.

An investment, not an expense

The Senator highlighted that the total amount they will spend in 2020, which will reach PHP 7.4 billion (US$ 141.80 million), is not an expense but an investment with high returns to society.

The funding will cover the cost of the tuition fees, books, travel, living and other allowances of these scholars.

This will also include the operations of the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) and the Science Education Institute (SEI).

The amount is lodged with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), which administers the “menu of scholarships”.

The amount accounts for more than a third of the Department’s proposed PHP 20 billion (US$ 383.21 million) budget for the coming year.

Background of the scholars

The scholars are dispersed over many courses under the science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) umbrella.

Joining the 6,191 PhD and Master students are 28,900 undergraduate students as well as the 9,384 students in the 16 campuses of the PSHS System.

The Senator reiterated that this program covers high school education to the highest degree available.

He noted that the number of Government PhD scholars is six times the membership of the House of Representatives, and 80 times that of the Senate.

This proves how they are undoubtedly more important for the country’s future.

Science is key

The problems being confronted today, which range from health, agriculture, and even traffic, can only have science-based solutions.

The scholars are vital for the country’s future because, according to the Senator, “We can only science our way to the future.”

Knowledge workers, who can fix these problems, even the ones that are about to come such as existential challenges like climate change, should be trained early on.

This generous financial aid, which must be periodically adjusted to inflation, and the scholarships would attract the best and the brightest to pursue STEM courses.

The country already has several political scientists but only few data scientists. The country is also lacking ICT systems administrators.

Who are involved?

The DOST scholarship programs are run by two agencies: the SEI and the PSHS.

The SEI is in-charge of handling all of the college and graduate programs, with a proposed 2020 budget of PHP 4.74 billion (US$ 90.9 million).

The PSHS, meanwhile, handles the high school programs and is being earmarked with PHP 2.6 billion (US$ 49.9 million).

The DOST scholarships are separate from other government tertiary education financing programs bundled under the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education.

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