Scholarship Grants To
Top 10 High School Graduates
The Senate bill granting automatic college admission and scholarship to the top 10 graduating public high school students was approved by the Senate on third and final reading last week.
Authored by Senate Majority Floor Leader Peter Alan Cayetano and sponsored by Sen. Pia Cayetano, chair of the Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, Senate Bill No. 2275, also known as the Iskolar ng Bayan Act of 2014, seeks to make quality higher education more accessible to the underprivileged youth.
Senate President Franklin M. Drilon also hailed the passage of the measure, saying that such initiatives can help address the challenge of providing complete and quality education for the Filipino youth.
“Binilisan natin ang pagpasa nito, upang sa susunod na pasukan ay maging ganap na batas na ito at mapakinabangan ng ating mga kabataan. Sa batas na ito, kahit mahirap ka, basta magaling ka, ikaw ay may laban na makapasok nang libre sa mga state universities and colleges,” he said.
Under the proposed legislation, Cayetano said, the top 10 public high school students of their graduating class would be accorded automatic admission to State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) of their choice within their provinces or nearby provinces, depending on the size of the SUCs and their course offerings.
However, she said, the University of the Philippines (UP) will be excluded in the list of SUCs due to its institutional autonomy as the national university unless it would come up with its own scholarship program for the top 10 public high school students.
“It is an unfortunate fact that college education is out of reach of majority of the Filipinos,” Cayetano lamented during her sponsorship speech.
Cayetano cited a study conducted by the Department of Education which showed that out of the 45 students who graduated from high school, only 26 students actually enrol in college. According to the study, the high cost of education is the primary reason for the low turn-out of enrolees in college.
“The youth are either employed or would rather search employment. The quality of higher education must be more accessible to the students,” Cayetano stressed.
She said once the bill was enacted into law, the scholars would be provided with free tuition fees, textbook allowance and a monthly living allowance.
“The Iskolar ng Bayan Program provides a big incentive for high school students to work hard and excel in their academics in order to rank within the top 10 of their graduating class and be afforded the benefits of this measure,” Cayetano said, adding: “Poverty and lack of opportunities will not hinder the crème de la crème of our public high school system from pursuing higher education.” (Patrishia Catilo)/MP