Angara to push for scholarships in foreign universities for deserving students

Angara to push for scholarships in foreign universities for deserving students

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Sonny Angara is set to file a bill that will provide
assistance to deserving Filipino students who wish to pursue their
higher education overseas.

Angara said he is looking at expanding the scope of Senate Bill 961 or
the proposed Pensionado Act, which he filed at the start of the 18th
Congress in 2019, to cover high school graduates.

“Marami tayo na mga estudyanteng magagaling at matalino na may
pagkakataon na ipagpatuloy ang kanilang edukasyon sa ilang
prestihiyoso na unibersidad sa ibang bansa. Subalit dahil sa sobrang
taas ng halagang pera na kailangan para dito ay mas marami ang
napipilitan na ibaon na lang sa limot ang oportunidad na ito,” Angara
said.

“I had the good fortune of studying abroad through the support of my
parents. But not everyone is as fortunate and this is how the
Pensionado Act can help deserving students in fulfilling their
aspirations,” the Senator added.

Apart from the experience of being independent, Angara said that there
is so much knowledge that a young student can gain from studying
overseas, particularly in specialized fields of study such as those
related to mathematics and science.

“Once they have earned their degrees, these scholars can bring back
home what they have learned and use these for our benefit in a form of
knowledge transfer,” Angara said.

Under the proposed Pensionado Act, the government will provide support
to outstanding college graduates, who are employed and wish to pursue
advanced studies overseas.

A Pensionado Program will be established under the Commission on
Higher Education wherein all fellowships, scholarships, and training
grants sponsored or extended by foreign governments, agencies and
other bodies; local agencies and organizations, whether private or
public, intended for advanced studies in international centers of
advanced learning, scholarship and research will be pooled together.

A national secretariat will be established to assist in the
negotiations with the sponsors of fellowships, scholarships and
grants, and provide continuing assistance to the scholars.

The bill provides for the selection of 24 fellows annually- three from
each priority discipline/industry field of the eight vital disciplines
or areas of specialization identified by the CHEd, in consultation
with the National Economic and Development Authority as frontiers or
new areas essential for pushing the economic and social development
thrusts of the country.

The scholarships shall be for a period not exceeding three years.

To qualify for the fellowship program, the applicant must be a
Filipino citizen; gainfully employed; a college degree graduate, with
honors; with demonstrated leadership and proven exceptional
performance in his/her present work; enthusiastic in undergoing
further training; and willing to sign a contract requiring him/her to
return to his/her job in another capacity after training.

Assistance will be provided to the grantees in the form of three years
leave with pay, including allowances and other benefits; round-trip
airfare and other expenses required for foreign travel; clothing
allowance; monthly stipend; books/instructional materials/research
allowance; and health, travel, and insurance fees.

In the case of the incoming college students, Angara said the program
should cover the duration of the course chosen by the grantee,
including board and lodging.

“The cost can be shared by the foreign government, institution or
organization and the national government. We shouldn’t see this as an
additional expense but rather an investment on our youth,” Angara
said.

Under the bill, a national network of specialized institutes for
advanced studies will be established to provide returned scholars an
office, laboratory, library, and conference facilities for their
continuing activities.

There will also be an exchange program and collaborative research
among local and international scientists and scholars in priority
areas of research and development. (ai/mtvn)

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