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Community Bulletin Board

Landbank offers college scholarship grants to agriculture students nationwide

Children of agrarian reform beneficiaries can pursue a college degree in agriculture with financial support from the Land Bank of the Philippines under its Gawad Patnubay College Scholarship Program.
Landbank President and CEO Gilda E. Pico receives a certificate of appreciation from Dr. V. Bruce Tolentino, IRRI Deputy Director General for Communication and Partnerships during the signing of the Deed of Donation for the Gawad Patnubay College Scholarship Program – a scholarship program for dependents of farmers and fisherfolk in agrarian reform communities who will major in the fields of agriculture and fisheries. Also in photo are (from left) LandbankVice President for Corporate Affairs Catherine Rowena Villanueva, Senior Vice President for Corporate Services Julio Climaco Jr., Director Victor Gerardo Bulatao, IRRI Senior Research Manager Engr. Eugenio Castro Jr., IRRI Training Center Assistant Manager Anilyn Maningas, and Landbank Director Crispino Aguelo.
Landbank recently partnered with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for the implementation of a scholarship program for dependents of farmers and fisherfolk in agrarian reform communities who will major in the fields of agriculture and fisheries.
Gawad Patnubay was originally launched by the Bank in 2008 as a scholarship grant for 40 children of members of agrarian reform beneficiaries’ cooperatives, covering their education expenses from elementary to high school. The program is funded by Landbank and its employees, who voluntarily contribute a minimum of one hour’s worth of wages to support the scholars.
“As these scholars are set to graduate from high school next year, we deemed it timely to take the program to the next level by offering a college scholarship program,” said Landbank President and CEO Gilda E. Pico. 
Slated to commence this coming school year in June, the new scholarship program covers 100 percent subsidy for tuition fee, including monthly stipend, book allowance, and uniform costs, through Landbank funding. Under the agreement, IRRI shall administer, manage, and implement the program in coordination with the partner-universities and the Landbank Countryside Development Foundation Inc. which will handle the monitoring and validation of the status of scholars.
Landbank initially identified five universities as partner-schools for the pilot run of the program this coming school year, namely the University of the Philippines-Los Baños Campus, Central Luzon State University, Visayas State University, Central Mindanao University, and the University of Southern Mindanao. More partner-schools will eventually be covered by the program in succeeding years. 
The Gawad Patnubay college scholarship program is part of a two-pronged program offering both formal and informal education scholarships–in the form of a college degree in agriculture and a TESDA-certified ladderized education program. Fifty scholars –28 for the formal and 22 for the informal scholarships – stand to benefit from this education-to-employment grant, wherein recipients will not only receive educational funding but will also be provided with employment assistance upon completion of the program.
“We are confident that through this program, we can help provide a solid base of education for the next generation of rice scientists and agri-preneurs and infuse much-needed fresh blood into the country’s agriculture and cooperative sectors,” added Pico.
Last February, Landbank also formalized a partnership with the Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc. (KCFI) for the Gawad e-Dukasyon Program, which aims to educate students on agriculture and fisheries at a young age. Landbank and KCFI will produce videos on agriculture and agri-preneurship, which will be aired over Knowledge Channel, and complemented with e-modules that will be made available on the internet. 
Gawad e-dukasyon and Gawad Patnubay are complementary programs created in response to the consistent decline in the enrolment in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries among college and universities in the country and are aimed at generating renewed enthusiasm for the agricultural sector, especially among the youth.  Press release and photo from Landbank