The government will be spending P850 million next year to finance the studies of 3,201 scholars taking up masteral and doctoral degrees in science, engineering, and mathematics.
Sen. Ralph G. Recto said the allocation, booked under the budget of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), will allow 2,407 Masters in Science (MS) and 794 Doctor in Philosophy (PhD) students to pursue their studies.
“These MS and PhD graduates in science form the bedrock of our development. If we want to grow, this is one urgently needed human capital we must develop,” Recto said.
“India and China are churning out science and engineering graduates by the hundreds of thousands. They form the tip of the spear of their competitiveness,” he said.
In addition, DOST will also be spending P1.33 billion for the tuition, monthly stipend and other allowances of 16,557 students enrolled in science-related undergraduate courses.
Recto said DOST’s scholarship program also supports 6,493 students in 14 Philippine Science High School (PSHS) campuses.
The budget of the PSHS system will increase from P1.08 billion this year to P1.91 billion next year, Recto said. “We’re increasing the budget of PSHS by almost a billion pesos.”
Of PSHS’s 2016 budget, P254 million is earmarked for the monthly stipend, uniform, transportation allowances of PSHS scholars, Recto explained.
Recto chairs the Senate finance subcommittee hearing the DOST’s proposed P17.9 billion for 2016.
Recto said the DOST scholarship program is but one of many student assistance and tuition aid initiatives of the government for those in high school and in college.
For 2016, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will administer P2 billion worth of Student Financial Assistance Programs, Recto said.
This is on top of the P8.3 billion that it will dispense next year for K-12 transition scholarship and faculty development programs mostly for private schools.
One component of CHED’s K-12 readiness program is the 9,365 “faculty development grants” costing P3.5 billion.
According to Recto, government will also set aside P21.2 billion for its Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education or GASTPE.
GASTPE grantees will reach 1.8 million next year, up by almost 800,000 from this year’s 1.08 million.
As a result of the “big jump” in GASTPE beneficiaries, its budget will increase by close to P12.9 billion from its 2015 funding level of P8.33 billion.
If you add all of these, government tuition assistance and scholarship grants will reach almost P34 billion next year, Recto said.
This does not include scholarships offered by state colleges and universities and by the Technical Education and Skills Development Administration (TESDA).