• CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
The City of Himamaylan will be increasing its number of scholars for private schools for school year 2003-2204.
Himamaylan Vice Mayor Justin Dominic Gatuslao announced that despite the reduction in their overall budget, their flagship program as far as education is concerned, will be expanding.
They currently have about 3,200 scholars from Grade 7 to 4th year college in government and private schools but they will be opening about 100 slots for private schools for school year 2023 to 2024, he said.
“At present, we have scholarships for college students in state universities and colleges (SUCs). But we have already passed an ordinance in December 2022 providing private tertiary education for implementation in SY 2023-2024,” Gatuslao said.
The first batch of scholars, which he and Mayor Raymundo Tongson Jr. accommodated in 2019, will already be graduating. In order to help them find jobs after graduation, the city partnered with the Philippine Business for Education for the “Jobs Next” program. This is an upscaling, rescaling and linkaging with industry program, he said.
Gatuslao said that under their term, they have about 125 graduating 4th year college students who are being considered to avail of the “Jobs Next” program with the help of Board Member Rita Gatuslao and Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson. The students will link-up with the Negros Occidental Language and Information Technology Center (NOLITC), for whatever upscaling they need.
“Before our term, the city used to provide scholars P3,000 per semester. One of the first ordinance I authored and passed when I was vice mayor in 2019 was to increase the stipend from P3,000 to P5,000 per semester. So each scholar receives P10,000 per year,” he said.
Scholars from Grade 7 to 10 will receive P1,500 per year; Grade 11 to 12 will receive P3,000 per year; and 1st year to 4th year college will get P10,000 per year, he said, adding that they give the stipend directly to the students so they will learn financial responsibility.
Gatuslao said they have also launched the fourth batch for higher education in private schools for graduate studies and doctoral program with a stipend of P25,000 per semester.
“Our goal together with the mayor is to have one college graduate per family, and the easiest way to do this is to have them enrolled in SUC’s. But we realized that not everyone enrolled in private schools can afford. So we want to show that at some point in their life, the city was able to help them,” he said.*