In line with its commitment to supporting the education sector
The U-Go scholar grant will help young women from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue higher education. The initiative aims to support high-achieving, motivated Filipina students in public universities by providing financial assistance for their education.
Ayala Foundation will manage the program implementation—from the application screening to interviews, and scholar monitoring. The announcement of the grant is timely as the education sector reels from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Prior to the onset of the pandemic, the National Economic and Development Authority already highlighted the importance of women possessing a diploma. This is in order to participate in the labor market, saying that “a completed college education seems to be critical for women to be at least 70 percent more likely to participate in the labor force.”
By targeting women, the grant aims to help address the gender gap in the local labor market. At just 49 percent, the Philippines’ female labor force participation in 2019 was below the average in the East Asia Pacific region. In contrast, 76 percent of Filipino men were in the labor force. The World Bank estimates that increasing women’s labor supply by 0.5 percentage points per year would increase GDP per capita by almost 10 percent by 2050.
Each scholar will be awarded an amount to cover their school and living expenses, which will renew annually as long as she maintains good academic results. An initial class of 75 to 100 scholars will be welcomed into the program in the coming months, with a medium-term goal of at least 1,000 U-Go Scholars across the nation.
The Philippines is the seventh country in which U-Go will operate. The California-based non-profit launched by Room to Read founder John Wood is also in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Vietnam.
Mariana Zobel de Ayala, BPI senior vice president of consumer bank marketing and platforms, has joined the U-Go Global Board of Directors and will lead expansion efforts. “The issue of education equality for women is as much about empowering women as it is about building the most capable economy possible for the Philippines, to ensure our collective progress as a nation. The opportunity to contribute to this possibility, through U-Go Philippines, is exciting,” said Zobel de Ayala.
To apply for the grant, visit https://afi.ph/u-goapply. Applications close November 15, 2022.