Escape Poverty through SM Scholarships

More than 500 hopeful youth gathered together for the first SM Foundation Technical-Vocational Scholarship General Assembly on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Complex. This year, SM Foundation gave 1,000 technical-vocational scholarship grants nationwide which is a big jump from its previous average of 100 a year.

Education has always been a means to alleviate poverty. This is especially true when it comes to countries with citizens who are economically challenged like the Philippines. That is why government and non-government organizations are working together to promote it.

In recent years, the Philippine government made improvements to the educational system of the country. They added two more years to the otherwise 10 years of required schooling.

The K-12 program was designed to enable future generations to compete with other countries with more or less the same format in their education. The division is similar to the old curriculum; from the kinder to Grades 1-6, then junior high school that’s four years.

The only difference is the two years for senior high school. Their subjects were also revised and updated to suit the current generation. In senior high, students can choose what kind of track they’ll take according to their interest or skills.

There are four main tracks for senior high students. The first one is the academic track, next is the technical-vocational-livelihood (TVL) track, the sports track, then the arts and design track. After senior high school, the students can choose to continue their studies to college or to be part of the current workforce especially those under the TVL track. They are capable of taking TESDA tests that would enable them to apply for work right after senior high school.

Escape Poverty through SM Scholarships

The whole K-12 program may seem like a paradise escape from the hard life, but with this addition to the country, it left a dent in their pockets.

New school buildings need to be built, new teachers had to be hired, new school books needed to be supplied, to go with new school supplies and many more. The truth is not every Filipino can afford to send their child to school.

That is where non-government organizations (NGOs) come in with scholarships that allow these economically challenged students to thrive despite adversity.Scholarships from companies as a form of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a way for them to give back what they earned to the world.

It is financial aid for the students who need it–much like how the SM Group helps students through their college.

SM Scholarships first started in 1993 by the couple, Henry Sy, Sr. and Felicidad T. Sy, when they accepted scholars. At first, the number of the scholars were few, but as years went by, the scholars boomed to more than 3,000.

The late Henry Sy, Sr. believed that if one person or student from a poor family got to graduate college, they would soon lift their family from poverty like a chain reaction.

There are two kinds of scholarships in SM: The SM College Scholarship and the SM Technical-Vocational Scholarship.

The SM College Scholarship has certain qualifications, such as the students need to be senior high graduates with a general weighted average of 88% and a household income amounting to P150,000 annually. 

The college covers most of the universities or colleges from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The Scholars-to-be do not need to go through the hassle of applying for it is done online.

The  courses  they offer  are BS in Computer Science, BS in Information Technology, BS in Electronics  and Communications Engineering / BS in  Electronics Engineering, BS in Computer Engineering, BS in Civil Engineering, BS in Electrical Engineering, BS in Elementary Education, BS in Secondary Education  major  in Biology, Chemistry, General Sciences, Physics, Mathematics, English;  BS  in  Accountancy, BS in Accounting Technology,  BS  in  Accounting  Information Systems, BS in  Internal Auditing, BS in Financial  Management, BS in Management Accounting,  and BS in Civil Engineering.

These college scholars benefit from full tuition fee paid in the college, a monthly allowance, the choice of specialization, part-time jobs during semestral or holiday breaks and exclusive job offers when they graduate.

The SM Technical-Vocational Scholarship has fewer qualifications as they need to be high school graduates and must have passed the requirements in their Technical-Vocational school. 

These scholars can choose to specialize in Food and Beverages, Automobile Mechanic, Fitter Machinist, Electro-Mechanical Technician, Refrigeration and Air conditioning, Small Arc Welding and Electronics.

Like the college scholars, they also enjoy full tuition, but they have on the job internship, referral to SM industry partners after they graduate and many more.

SM Foundation doesn’t only just help in terms of scholarships, but also provide buildings for schools, complete with the essentials of a typical school building. 

Aside from this, it also helps in times of need like disasters, they plant trees to help the environment and many more.  

Education is a means to escape poverty, though the decisions to actually prosper are with the person themselves.

It’s because being educated is like giving wings to people in order for them to soar.

Read more: Manila Standard