01 December 2014
In a bid to beef up the Philippines’ pool of Science and Technology teachers, a total of 500 third year college students passed the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute’s (DOST-SEI) Junior Level Science Scholarship (JLSS) exam administered nationwide on 18 October 2014 to qualify for the 2-3 year S&T scholarships and become future S&T educators.
The JLSS is a scholarship program of the DOST-SEI under the Republic Act (RA) No. 10612, titled “An Act Expanding the Coverage of the Science and Technology (S&T) Scholarship Program and Strengthening the Teaching of Science and Mathematics in Secondary Schools”. Otherwise known as the “Fast-Tracked S&T Scholarship Act of 2013”, this law builds on the current S&T scholarships offered by the DOST-SEI as provided for in RA 7687 or the “Science and Technology Scholarship Act of 1994.”
The implementation of R.A. 10612 supports the execution of Section 8 of the K to 12 law which urges the hiring of teachers from among the graduates of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses.
“By fast-tracking graduates in STEM courses, the RA 10612 aims to strengthen the country’s science and technology education and hopes to inspire our scholar-graduates towards a career-path in science teaching,” Dr. Biyo said.
Qualifiers of this scholarship program will receive the privileges following the existing financial assistance of the RA 7687 scholars. They will be entitled to subsidy for tuition fee subsidy and other school fees, monthly living allowance for 10 to 11 months, book allowance, and more during the last 2 or 3 years of their undergraduate studies.
The scholarship program under RA 10612 would not only answer the shortage of STEM teachers in the country, but also provide more competent teachers to handle the K-12 basic education curriculum.
Upon graduation the scholars are required to serve as STEM teachers for a minimum of two years in any public or private high school in the country, preferably in their hometown. They will also be given teacher training by the Philippine Normal University (PNU). To ensure that graduates under the program would be able to serve, the Department of Education (DepEd) will assist in the job placement and hiring of qualified graduates with a starting salary equivalent to that of the Special Science Teacher 1 position at the Philippine Science High School. Other incentives include relocation allowance if they would be assigned outside their home region or province; and they would be allowed to teach initially without LET (Licensure Examination for Teachers) eligibility provided that they take and pass the LET within five years of hiring.
Dr. Biyo believes that this strategy will not only help produce quality teachers right away but will also ensure dynamic and effective science and mathematics teaching in many schools in the country.
Meanwhile, Prof. Fortunato T. De La Peña said that hiring of experts in these fields will truly aid in the promotion of research, innovation and utilization of studies related to S&T in the country.
“To stay competitive, we need a competent S&T workforce such as engineers, and people with Master’s and PhD degrees in advanced S&T fields. Thus, we need more S&T teachers to inspire more children to take science and engineering courses. I truly believe this program would be the way to do that.” Prof. De La Peña said.
Initial implementation of the JLSS Program will take effect in the Second Semester of AY 2014-2015. (30)