SEARCA presents overview of available scholarship programs

SCHOLARSHIP aspirants were briefed on Joint Scholarship Programs (JSP) for Academic Year 2023-2024 offered by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), an inter-government treaty organization hosted by the Philippine government.

Through the Education and Collective Learning Department (ECLD), SEARCA which is headquartered on the campus of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, presented an overview of SEARCA's graduate study program and all the joint scholarships currently available for the ongoing call for application.

SEARCA director Dr. Glenn Gregorio said the ongoing call for scholarship applications opened on Sept. 1, 2022, and will close on Oct. 31, 2022.

Gregorio noted that while SEARCA has 13 ongoing JSP, there are five scholarship types, namely, the German Academic Exchange Service or DAAD-SEARCA, Universiti Putra Malaysia or UPM-SEARCA, Tokyo University of Agriculture or Tokyo NODAI-SEARCA, National Taiwan University or NTU-SEARCA and Sejong University-SEARCA.

On Sept. 24, SEARCA organized an online info session for its JSP for the Academic Year 2023-2024 through the SEARCA Online Learning and Virtual Engagements (SOLVE) platform.

Gregorio said the center conducted the event in response to the growing number of JSP and the steady increase of applicants wanting to pursue their graduate studies through the center's scholarship.

He said the event was conducted as an avenue for interested applicants to explore their options for studying within the region, and for SEARCA to emphasize available opportunities that nationals from Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) member-countries may consider.

According to SEARCA, the presentation included a description of the programs, the universities where future scholars may study, the major fields of specialization available, the scholarship benefits they may receive, and the requirements peculiar to each joint scholarship type.

For the capacity building of the employees of partner institutions, five more scholarship types were specifically established, SEARCA said.

These joint scholarships are the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute or MARDI-SEARCA, the Center of Excellence for Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition (CESAIN) of the Royal University of Agriculture in Cambodia or CESAIN-SEARCA and CESAIN-USM-SEARCA, Bulacan State University or BulSU-SEARCA, and the Philippine Carabao Center or PCC-SEARCA.

Gregorio said these specific scholarship programs require the applicants to be endorsed by the partner institution, hence, were not included in the ongoing call.

Three more JSP not included in the general call as these follow a very different selection process are the Agropolis Fondation-SEARCA, the UPM-Agropolis Fondation-SEARCA and Nagoya University-SEARCA.

During the Sept. 24 event, the info session, besides providing information about the available scholarships, included a walkthrough of scholarship information system or Ischo which is the online scholarship application portal of SEARCA.

Gregorio said the ECLD provided tips on answering the application fields, uploading the requirements, and submitting the application and discussed the common errors received by applicants such as missing requirements, unanswered fields, and slow internet connection.

After the info session presentations led by Dr. Maria Cristeta Cuaresma, ELCD senior program head, a live question-and-answer portion which is an interactive feature of the info session offered scholarship advising specific to the situation of the virtual attendees, future opportunities, as well as clarifications regarding the requirements.

Cuaresma said there are things such as "must-haves and nice-to-have" in a scholarship application that SEARCA looks for during the evaluation period.

SEARCA has advised interested applicants to visit the website or watch a replay of the info session via SEARCA's FaceBook page