BACOLOD CITY, April 30 (PNA) — Fifteen out of 87 high school graduates belonging to various ethnic groups in Negros Occidental will proceed to college this school year for free.
This is made possible after Governor Alfredo Marañon signed on Tuesday a memorandum of agreement (MOA) providing educational assistance to the fifth batch of IP scholars of the provincial government.
Of the qualified IPs, Fevin P. Acse of Bukidnon tribe in Silay City topped the scholarship admission exam, according to Development Management Officer Hazel Torrefiel of National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
Torrefiel said the scholarship provided by the provincial government is separate from their own scholarship program in NCIP.
The benefits of the two scholarship programs of local and national governments also vary.
The IP scholars of the province are freed from tuition and other school fees plus given P2,500 monthly stipend and P4,000 allowance for book or uniform per semester.
The scholars of NCIP, on the other hand, are receiving P10,000 educational assistance per semester under its Educational Assistance Program and P30,000 per semester for its merit-based scholarship.
Torrefiel said those who are NCIP scholars already are disqualified to take the scholarship program of province so as to provide others the chance.
Negros Occidental’s Scholarship Secretariat Head Virginia Parreño said granting four-year scholarship to IPs in the province is one of the innovations in the program.
Before, the province’s scholarship for IPs is only limited for those who will take two-year vocational courses in state college and universities, she said.
But now the scholarship covered baccalaureate degree programs after two of their IP scholars graduated magna cum laude in their respective courses about two years ago, she said.
“The academic achievements of our IP scholars inspired us. And so Governor Marañon decided to broaden the coverage and features of the scholarship to help IPs succeed in their chosen careers (sic),” Parreño said.
The scholarship for IPs also affirmed the provincial government’s commitment to provide access to quality education to poor and less privileged sectors in the province, she said. (PNA)