SENATOR Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada has put forward a proposal to grant free tuition to government employees pursuing a master’s degree in state universities and colleges (SUCs).

Estrada has filed Senate Bill No. 2277, known as the “Government Employees Free MA Tuition in SUCs Act,” which seeks to provide career and non-career government employees with the opportunity to pursue a two-year Master’s Program in SUCs without the burden of paying tuition fees.

“Government workers play a crucial role in the country’s human resources, and it is essential to offer them educational advancement opportunities to improve their skills. By enhancing the professionalization of civil servants, the efficient delivery of public services can be further improved, benefiting the people ” Estrada said.

He said that some agencies, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), already provide scholarship grants to qualified employees pursuing a master’s degree.

“There are many employees in other government branches who wish to pursue higher education to enhance their personal growth, advance their careers, and serve the public more effectively,” the senator said.

He noted that higher positions in the government require individuals to hold a master’s degree to ensure they possess the necessary capacity and competence to fulfill their responsibilities and make informed decisions for the organization.

As of June 30, 2022, the Inventory of Government Human Resources (IGHR) of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) indicated there are 1,820,457 career and non-career employees in the government.

The cost of a master’s degree varies from P800 to P1,500 per unit, resulting in tuition fees ranging from P19,200 to P50,000 for the completion of a 24-unit program.

Additional fees related to various activities required for the degree are not included in the amount.

To be eligible for the program, non-career contractual government personnel must have at least five years of employment and pass the entrance examination and other admission and retention requirements of the SUCs.

Individuals who have already received government-sponsored graduate education scholarships in any higher education institution, whether public or private, in the country or abroad, are ineligible.

Moreover, those who fail to complete their master’s degree within a year after the prescribed period in their graduate education program will be disqualified.

The proposed legislation aims to provide government employees with the means to pursue higher education and enhance their professional capabilities, ultimately benefiting public service and the nation as a whole, Estrada said. (AI/MNM)