Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sarangani produces first 30 graduates of IP scholarship grant


MALUNGON, Sarangani (March 29, 2014) - Sarangani has begun producing graduates belonging to the Indigenous People (IP) with an expectant pool of teachers who would serve their own tribe in the uplands.

On March 26, around 30 IPs graduated from a baccalaureate degree as the first batch of scholars of the provincial government's Special Tertiary Extension Service (STES), an exclusive college scholarship program for IPs in partnership with Mindanao State University-General Santos City (MSU-GSC) since 2008.

MSU-GSC Chancellor Abdurrahman Canacan noted the significant survival rate of the first batch as "higher than what is expected."  

These students' performance, Canacan said, was comparable to the performance of the university's regular students and are likely to pass the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) with sufficient preparations provided.

Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon pointed out he knew the "values of education, that's why we are putting emphasis on education for Sarangani." He disclosed the provincial government has already allotted some amount to fund for the scholars' LET review to ensure they will pass.

The provincial government has a budget of P9 million for this program which would cover three batches to take up the elementary education course.

Glenda RevaƱo, program manager of the provincial government scholarship program dubbed as Paaral Para Sa Sarangan (PPSS), explained part of the budget will be for the LET review and the refresher course of the upcoming fifth year students.

Unlike the regular curriculum, classes in STES are held only during Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays due to conflicting schedule of the university's instructors and also to give the scholars time to help their parents at home or in their livelihood.

Roger Bago, 37, admitted his gratefulness to have finally graduated despite poverty and difficulty to cope with his lessons as it took him ten years after high school before he got to college. "Nahirapan ako sa lahat ng subjects ko kasi sampung taon akong hindi nakapasok sa paaralan."

Bago is a Blaan from Lamlifew, a Blaan-inhabited far-flung sitio of Malungon town where the province's famous School of Living Tradition is found. He said he has to work in the fields during his free time to earn some amount.

Half-Blaan half-Ilonggo Rizelle Mae Dawang said it was very fortunate of her to have availed of the program. "It (STES) is really an opportunity to free us from poverty. And it really helps especially that most of the IPs could not afford to send their children to school."

For his part, Rommel Zamora recalled how his father had reprimanded and told him he could not support his education when he asked after graduating from elementary a calculator as he loved numbers. This, however, did not hold him back to work for his dreams. He enrolled in high school as working student until he got the college scholarship.

On July 19, 2012, then Governor Migs Dominguez turned over a four-classroom building for STES. The STES program which started in 2008 was conceptualized and prepared by then Board Member Rolando Octavio with the assistance of non-government organization MASICAP (Medium and Small Scale Industry Coordinated Action Program).

In 2008, a Memorandum of Agreement between MSU-GSC, the provincial government and Department of Education was signed. The provincial government and MSU-GSC collaborated to offer a five-year Bachelor of Elementary Education baccalaureate degree for deserving IPs to study in the MSU-GSC satellite school based in Malandag.

For this year alone, the provincial government allotted more than P6 million for its PPSS scholarship program.

Among its scholar graduates this year are midwives and the first two doctors produced by the province thru PPSS. (Beverly C. Paoyon/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

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