Tuesday, August 11, 2015

DOST says number of SEI scholars tripled in 5 years under PNoy
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 9 (PNA) -- The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said the number of slots for undergraduate scholarship given by its Science Education Institute (SEI) has increased more than threefold in five years under the Aquino administration.

The number jumped from 1,250 in 2010 to 5,595 in 2015, according to SEI’s Public Affairs Unit.

The DOST is also now preparing the groundwork for the recruiting new partner-universities and introducing innovations into the program for the SEI to expand it by 100 percent in 2017, on its way to meeting the required critical number of scientists that the country needs, it said in a statement reaching the Philippines News Agency here over the weekend.

In addition, the agency is also presently producing an average of 350 Master's and 35 PhD graduates in priority science and engineering courses annually, the SEI said, citing a statement of its secretary, Mario Montejo, saying that since 2010, the government has been strengthening and enhancing the science and technology ( S&T) ecosystem. “This ecosystem empowers our scientists and engineers to come up with innovative ideas to improve productivity, enhance delivery of government services, and address the most pressing concerns of Aling Maria and Mang Juan,” said Montejo during the recent Science and Technology Week celebration.

The most critical component of this ecosystem is its human resources, and their number is critical for the Philippines to become a Science Nation able to sustain its development, he said in the event which feted DOST-SEI scholars who achieved academic excellence in school-year 2014-2015.

“You are blessed with intelligence. It’s only proper to use this God-given intelligence to explore and understand nature. Whatever God created in nature is for our benefit. Let us use this for our country’s own good,” Montejo said, addressing the scholars in the audience.

In response, Ernest Nathan Nogales, a scholar who graduated summa cum laude from the University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman with a degree in BS Chemical Engineering and one of the honorees, rallied his co-DOST scholars to think about serving the people, not out of duty but out of love, as he assured them there is lasting happiness there, according the SEI statement.

On the other hand, DOST Undersecretary for Scientific and Technological Services Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara called on the scholars to venture in entrepreneurship while completing their dissertation or thesis.

Around 239 undergraduate, MS, and PhD scholars under SEI’s various scholarship programs were honored this year for their academic achievements in the celebration themed “In Touch with Excellence” held at the Philippine International Convention Center, the SEI said.

In the event, the DOST-SEI also cited the excellence and overall contribution of all its scholars in nation-building.

Among them were the 253 scholars who graduated with honors, along with 525 who finished graduate degrees in school year 2013-2014 alone.

Around 400 scholar-graduates and ongoing scholars were also honored in a separate gathering.

Overall, the SEI said, there were 12 summa cum laude, 55 magna cum laude, 187 cum laude, seven honorable mentions, one with academic merit, and one with academic distinction scholar-graduates who were awarded both in the undergraduate and graduate levels during the ceremony.

Four scholar-graduates were also given incentives for completing their degrees earlier than the prescribed period of studies.

It said 64 honor graduates under the DOST-SEI Merit Scholarship—the agency’s pioneer scholarship program for undergraduates—were recognized, which listed seven summa cum laude, 21 magna cum laude, 34 cum laude and two honorable mention students.

On the other hand, Republic Act 7687 or the Science and Technology Scholarship Act of 1994 produced 189 scholar graduates with honors headlined by five summa cum laude, 31 magna cum laude, 145 cum laude, one with academic distinction, one with academic merit, five honorable mentions and three early-graduates.

As for the graduate scholarships, a total of 351 MS and 36 PhD students graduated under the Accelerated Science and Technology Human Resource Development Program.

It produced three magna cum laude and eight cum laude graduates.

The program is a unified and innovative human resource development strategy aimed at hastening the production of highly trained scientists by awarding MS and PhD scholarship grants to eligible individuals who will fill in the gaps of identified areas of science and technology.

Under the program, nine scholars finished cum laude, and one as an academic excellence awardee.

On the other hand, the Engineering Research and Development for Technology program—a graduate scholarship program in priority engineering courses and related fields—recorded 136 MS and two PhD graduates.

Priority S&T courses for the scholarship grants include agriculture, agricultural biotechnology, biochemistry, computer science, environmental science, fisheries, food technology, forestry, geology, information technology, science/mathematics teaching, statistics, and engineering courses.

Scholars are enrolled in any of the state universities, colleges, and tertiary institutions identified as Centers of Excellence or Centers of Development by the Commission on Higher Education and in DOST-SEI identified network institutions all over the country.

Among these are the UP, University of the East, Ateneo de Manila, Ateneo de Davao, De La Salle University, University of Santo Tomas, Mapua Institute of Technology, Don Bosco Technical College, Siliman University, Don Mariano Marcos State University and St. Louis University. (PNA) CTB//FGS/DOC/CBD/ssc