The Department of Science and Technology- Cordillera Administrative Region (DOST-CAR) welcomed its new sets of scholars under the DOST-Science Education Institute’s (SEI) 2022 Undergraduate Scholarship Program.
Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) is one of the most overlooked and neglected fields in the industry. According to the updated Philippine Development Plan (2017-2022), the challenges to STI include slow commercialization of outputs on STI activities and its underutilization; inadequate research and development (R&D) infrastructure, especially in the regions, and slow implementation of STI projects; underinvestment in R&D and low level of awareness on the results of R&D activities and the government’s support mechanisms; and information dissemination campaigns, particularly on available technologies, remain inadequate and fragmented. It is for these reasons that the DOST continues to beef up its promotion and advocacy programs to create a science culture in the country.
The scholarship program provided by the DOST-SEI will provide the needed leverage in increasing the S&T manpower of the Philippines as it engages the youth in science-related activities and opportunities to improve their competencies in STI. It shall also address the dearth in the number of scientists and engineers in the country, whose contribution in improving the STI ecosystem cannot be overemphasized.
With the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, DOST-SEI was not able to conduct the national qualifying examination for two (2) consecutive years. For the academic year 2022-2023, 10,487 students all over the country are about to join the ranks of the DOST scholars with 5,567 qualifiers under the RA 7687 Scholarship Program and 4,920 under the Merit Scholarship Program.
In the region, out of 1, 209 applicants, a total of 147 scholars from the different provinces and Baguio City qualified. There are 77 qualifiers for the RA 7687 program—a scholarship for talented and deserving students with a high aptitude for science coming from socio-economically disadvantaged families, and 70 qualifiers under the Merit Scholarship Program—students with high aptitude in science and mathematics who are willing to pursue a career related to science and technology.
On June 30, 2022, DOST-CAR, thru its Scholarship Unit, conducted a virtual orientation and signing of Scholarship Agreement with the 2022 S&T Undergraduate Scholarship qualifiers. It was virtually attended by the students and PSTC staff from the different provinces such as Abra, Apayao, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province. Meanwhile, Baguio-Benguet qualifiers were oriented thru face-to-face on July 4, 2022 in Baguio City.
Dr. Nancy A. Bantog, DOST-CAR Regional Director, in her opening remarks, warmly welcomed the young scholars for being part of the DOST elite scholarship program. She stressed that she is eager to watch the scholars to grow and be developed as a DOST scholar for the nation.
“To all qualifiers batch 2022, we welcome you to the S&T community, soon you will be part of the pool of the qualified S&T human resources who can help the country towards national progress” she said.
The orientation aimed to provide adequate and accurate information regarding the various aspects of DOST-SEI Undergraduate Scholarship Programs. All concerns and issues about the scholarship’s policies and procedures were clarified during the said activity. Scholars were made aware of their roles, terms, and conditions prior to the signing of the Scholarship Agreement and the pronouncement of the Scholar’s Oath.
Moreover, resource speakers from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, discussed the relevance of financial management given that they will be receiving monetary privileges and other incentives. Mr. Gomer Gomez Sr. Science Research Specialist, lectured about Savings and Common Fraud and Scams, while Ms. Rodora Tersesa Openiano, Bank Officer II, discussed the Basics of Investment. This can assist them to be financially secured and empowered in their future endeavors.
Freda Macaling, a newly qualified scholar under RA 7687, who is about to take Bachelor of Science in Statistics, expressed that along with the financial aid and benefits of becoming a scholar, the program would keep her focused and grounded. This would challenge her to think outside the box and perform well in an academic setting.
“With the motivation to finish a science degree, it would be a constant reminder of how I can give back and use my education as a catalyst for change and innovation. Along with this, the program has a community that fosters an affinity and a collective goal of becoming leaders in STEM-related fields,” she added. She also reiterated that as the world is at the forefront of change, so will the need for science and technology rise.
Dr. Pepita S. Picpican, Assistant Regional Director (ARD) of the Technical Services Division, congratulated all qualifiers as well as reminded them of their scholarship obligations as they are expected to render service after graduation.
“The challenge now is for each of you to continue investing your time and effort to be active in science and technology while in college, we look forward to seeing you all finish your studies and be included in Science and Technology human resources in the future,” she added.
Meanwhile, DOST-SEI is now accepting applications for the 2022 Junior Level Science Scholarship (JLSS) thru the E-scholarship Application System. For more information and details, just visit the official DOST-SEI Facebook page and website. The application ends on July 31 while the qualifying exam will be on August 27-28, 2022. The DOST-CAR is encouraging students who are willing to take STEM-related courses to be one of their scholars.
By Rine Lee Carantes