COA: Parents of PSHS scholars should also be sued for breach of scholarship pact

Published August 18, 2018, 4:06 PM

by iManila Developer


By Ben Rosario

Instead of making Philippine Science High School scholars solely liable for taking college courses not related to science and technology, their parents and guardians should also be sued for breach of the scholarship agreement between the school and the students.

MB FILE—Commission on Audit.

The Commission on Audit made this recommendation after scholars from PSHS campuses in the Cordillera Autonomous Region and Western Visayas ignored demands for the refund of the monetary value of scholarship award totaling P6.861 million they received from the PSHS.

COA, in its 2017 annual audit report for the state-run secondary school, also called on PSHS to conduct an annual home visitation of scholars to “promote equity in the grant of scholarship privileges to deserving students.”

The audit agency revealed that the PSHS failed to collect the refund of financial assistance it gave scholars of the CARC and WVC who were discovered to have taken up nonscience and technology courses in college.

Under a scholarship agreement between the PSHS and its scholars, the latter will benefit from various financial incentives and other assistance from the school on the condition that they will pursue only science and technology courses in the university.

It was discovered that certain CARC and WVC scholars reneged on this commitment, thus, must refund government P301,000 and P6.283 million, respectively.

Two scholars from the WVC were also ordered to refund P277,000 for being expelled from the school.

COA noted that there is no provision in the scholarship agreement that would allow PSHS to pursue legal remedies against the reneging scholars.

“Consider adding provisions in the Scholarship Agreement on the legal actions that may be pursued against scholars and their parents/guardians for any breach of agreement,” auditors recommended.

COA also demanded that PSHS accountants must recognize in the books the money owed by students who defied the scholarship pact.

In the same audit report, the state audit agency said the guidelines on scholarship categorization should include a provision allowing the yearly inspection of living conditions of scholars, saying that this is “considered an effective means of monitoring significant changes in the students’ socio-economic circumstances.”

There are currently 537 PSHS scholars who are granted free tuition fees, monthly stipend of P500 for a maximum of 10 months per year, group life insurance, and other benefits depending on the socioeconomic status of a student.

A living allowance of P3,500, free uniform and transportation allowance are granted full scholars who are categorized as such due to the economic conditions of their family.

A re-categorization of 22 full scholars were put in effect in 2017 after home visitations conducted by the school’s re-categorization committee showed that some “families of scholars” did not declare their true financial status in order to continue to avail of the full scholarship benefits.

On the other hand, the panel upgraded the scholarship categorization of two students, from Grade 10 and Grade 12.

Audit examiners led by director Martha Roxana Sese stressed the importance of house visitation as “an effective means to validate information” provided to the PSHS regarding the economic status of students.

“This can present the real scenario in the life of the scholars and provide evidence that serves as basis on how the school can help the students realize the aim of being a respected scholar,” the audit report stated.