South Cotabato offers scholarships for law, medicine

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/02 March) – The provincial government of South Cotabato has expanded the coverage of its seven-year-old scholarship program to accommodate residents who are planning to pursue degrees in law and medicine.

Alex Basco, executive officer of the local government’s flagship Kabugwason-Paglaum Scholarship Program (KPSP), said Friday preparations are now underway for the launching of the eighth phase of
the program, which received a funding of P24-million.

“The program remains focused on bachelor’s degree programs but we decided to open up slots for those who want to enroll in law and medical schools,” he said in a report from the South Cotabato
Information Office.

Basco said they decided to add law and medicine courses to its scholarship offering to address the “scarcity of lawyers and doctors in our provincial offices.”

“The province does not employ its scholars after graduation but it will now be a part of our policy to mandate our scholarship grantees to render services to the provincial government for several years,” he

Of the P24-million allocation for the program this year, Basco said some P15 million was earmarked for the tuition and matriculation fees of students taking up degree and non-degree courses.

He said the allocation also included provisions for the review and licensure examinations of the scholars.

Basco said the remaining P9 million was set aside for the grant-in–aid scheme for selected tertiary, secondary and elementary students and pupils as well as for short or modular courses for the out-of-school youths.

As part of the program’s continuing reforms, he said they will advise their prospective scholars to shun from courses that are covered by moratoriums issued by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

He said these courses include business administration, technology, hotel and restaurant management, nursing and teacher education.

“We will instead advise our scholars to take up courses that are considered in-demand in the employment scene such as mechanical engineering and electronics, agriculture, medical technology and pharmacy,” he added.

Since the program was launched seven years ago, it has already produced 169 degree and non-degree graduates as well as eight board passers in nursing, certified public accountant, mechanical engineering, agricultural engineering and teacher education.

Basco said 34 degree and 75 non-degree scholars are expected to graduate this March out of its 128 college scholars.

Under the grant-in-aid program, he said 505 grantees in the tertiary level, 356 for the short/ modular courses and 15,619 secondary students will also graduate this year.

For this school year, the local government included the elementary level in its grant-in-aid program, which has benefited 1,562 pupils. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)