Few Lumad students maintain scholarship; daily expenses cited as among factors

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/16 Feb) —   Lumads (indigenous peoples) enrolled in the city’s Scholarship on Tertiary Program (STEP)  are finding it hard  to maintain their scholarship,  the program coordinator said. 

In an interview, technical assistant Emilio Domingo, Jr. saidonly around 5% to 10% of their indigenous peoples (IP) scholars have succeeded in continuing their scholarship.

“We have not tracked the reasons yet, but this could be due to different factors,” Domingo said.

Domingo said it was possible that the Lumad scholars did not have enough money to sustain their everyday expenses, aside from the stipends that the government provides them.

Among the financial assistance given the Lumad scholars are  board and lodging allowance of P1,500, as

well as P7,000 financial assistance per enrolled semester, depending on the grades.

Also part of the scholarship assistance is a stipend of P1,500 for uniforms and P1,500 per month financial assistance.

Sustaining the scholarship depends on the grade performance of the student, Domingo said.

This year, the STEP program has 54 Lumad scholars.

“We have conducted an exam in Marilog district for 250 lumads who could be qualified for the program,” he said.

Scholars are required to maintain a 93% general average every semester to qualify for the program again in succeeding semesters.

During the second semester last year, the STEP scholarship was able to finance 609 students, among them 10 differently-abled students and two technical program students, aside from the 54 Lumad scholars.

From those students, 185 graduated, five of them  graduating magna cum laude and 33 cum laude.

Domingo said the office is aiming for a budget of P34 million to continue to sustain the project.

He said that incoming freshmen for the incoming first semester can avail of the STEP scholarship by submitting their form 138.

Aside from these are the students’ National Career Assessment Examination (NCAE) results.

Meanwhile, Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre reminded private schools about the ordinance passed in the City Council which required them to take in Lumad scholars for their existing scholarships.

“Some schools have not admitted Lumad scholars,” he said.

The city is also working on a Lumad scholarship of around P40,000 per semester for Lumad students of Medicine and P15,000 per semester for those taking up Law, provided that the students enrol in a school within the city. (MindaNews)