22 out-of-school youths get scholarships

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/16 Sept) – Twenty-two 22 out-of-school youths from the municipality of Tantangan in South Cotabato have received training grants for various livelihood skills courses though a scholarship program supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Nelida Pereira, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office chief, said the training grant is among the main components of the USAID’s Education Quality and Access for Learning and Livelihood Skills (EQUALLS2) project that is being implemented in the province.

“The project mainly aims to open up opportunities to our young people, especially those in the marginalized areas, by transforming them into highly-skilled and productive individuals,” she said.

Under the program, Pereira said the selected beneficiaries receive scholarships for short-term skills training or technical-vocational (tech-voc) courses.

She said the EQUALLS2 grant also covers meals, transportation and clothing allowances for each beneficiary throughout the duration of the training course.

The 22 scholars enrolled in a 55-day Commercial Cooking-NC (National Certification) II course at the Green Valley College Foundation in Koronadal City, she said.

Bella Mariñas, EQUALLS2 scholarship program manager, said the training grants are mainly being offered to out-of-school youths who are members of the Pag-Asa Youth Association of the Philippines to give them opportunities for a better future.

“These opportunities could bring significant changes in the lives of our beneficiaries. We hope that they will all finish their courses and make use of it to help their families,” she said.

The EQUALLS2 project, according to a project briefer, mainly involves various interventions aimed at increasing the access to quality education of elementary school children and the provision of relevant learning and livelihood skills training for out-of-school children and youth, especially in areas most affected by conflict and poverty.

Its aims “to increase the learning opportunities for children and youth through community support for education; strengthening capacity for teaching English, science and math at the elementary level; and improve the relevance of education and training for out-of-school children and youth.”

The project is being implemented through the coordination of the Education Development Center and in partnership with a team of international and local organizations with expertise in education and youth development in Mindanao.

It said the project interventions are delivered in partnership with the Department of Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, local government units and community education stakeholders. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)