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South Cotabato execs eye expansion of scholarship program

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (PNA) -– South Cotabato officials are pushing for the inclusion beginning next school year of more indigenous peoples or tribal scholars and elementary pupils in the provincial government’s expanded scholarship program.

South Cotabato Governor Arthur Pingoy Jr. said Tuesday they are studying the possible revision of the policies and guidelines of the local government-funded Kabugwason Paglaum Scholarhsip Program (KPSP) to allow more “poor but deserving” students from the province to take part in the program.

“We want to amend some of its provisions so we can expand its coverage and align it with our ongoing efforts to achieve our education for all targets by the year 2015,” he said.

The governor was referring to Goal no. 2 of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals that seeks to achieve universal primary education by the year 2015.

Estelita Retirado, KPSP scholarship committee head, said they are mainly seeking for the amendment of a provincial ordinance that established KPSP to allow the proposed expansion of its coverage.

The provincial government had allocated some P22 million for the program’s implementation, which covers P15 million for the scholarships and P7 million for its grant-in-aid scheme.

Program implementers had proposed for an additional allocation of some P4 million to allow the absorption of the elementary scholars.

At least 9,950 elementary pupils or 50 pupils from each of the province’s 199 barangays were identified as initial beneficiaries of the expanded scholarship scheme.

Alex Basco, KPSP executive director, said that aside from the inclusion of the elementary scholars, they are also pushing for the expansion of the program among tribal folks in the province.

He said they are also looking at the possibility of opening slots for medical and law courses to help address the lack of government lawyers and doctors in the area. (PNA) DCT/LAP/AVE/HST

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