DMW to sign deal with CHED in July to create scholarship fund for nurses

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 9) — The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on Friday said it is set to sign an agreement with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in July to establish a scholarship fund for nursing students to jumpstart a career abroad.

RELATED: CHED seeks nursing curriculum with 'exit credentials' to address shortage

In a media briefing, DMW undersecretary Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones said the scholarship fund is for third and fourth-year nursing students.

"We are poised to sign an agreement with the Commission on Higher Education na mag-e-establish ng [to establish a] scholarship fund intended to support deserving nursing students who are already in their 3rd and 4th year sa [in] nursing school," Allones told reporters.

"Ang distinctive characteristic ng scholarship fund na ito kumpara dun sa existing scholarship funds ng CHED na lahat galing sa pondo ng gobyerno, ito naman manggagaling sa donations ng employers from the countries that expect to recruit or host the nurses when they finally get licensed," Allones added.

[Translation: The distinctive characteristic of the scholarship fund is compared to existing ones in CHED which are all funded by the government, this one will be from donations of employers from the countries that expect to recruit or host the nurses when they finally get licensed.]

She said the proposed scholarship grant will cover tuition fees and allowances, including the students' two-year internship, and expenses needed until they pass the licensure exam.

DMW Secretary Toots Ople, however, noted this is still not final as they are still going to sign the agreement with CHED in July.

Patricia Yvonne Caunan, undersecretary for policy and international cooperation, said countries such as Austria, Japan, Canada, United Arab Emirates, and Singapore were interested in the proposal and have said they will contribute to the scholarship fund once established.

"Nag-express sila ng positive feedback at ng support sa scholarship fund na ito," Caunan said. "Kumbaga, pag-uusap na lang sa technical details."

[Translation: They have expressed positive feedback and support to the proposed scholarship fund. What is needed now is the talk on the technical details.]

Demand for Pinoy nurses abroad

The scholarship fund was raised by the DMW as reporters asked why countries such as Austria and Hungary were potential destinations for Filipino skilled workers.

Ople said an Austrian delegation came to the country two months ago to talk about employment opportunities, mentioning that the European country needs around 200,000 workers across 98 occupations. She added that there will be a simpler process for healthcare workers.

Caunan said benefits of full-fledged nurses in Austria include a monthly salary of up to US $3,250, 14th month pay, and a pathway to permanent residence and citizenship in the European country.

But Ople said foreign employers were "very conscious" in getting more Filipino nurses due to the deployment gap and that the country is still emerging from the strains of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Whenever we raise the idea of a scholarship fund to be funded by our external partners including governments, they are eager to help," Ople said. "In fact, they are just waiting for the mechanics, and we are also waiting for CHED and for the launching."

"I look forward to meeting with the new DOH (Department of Health) secretary-designate Ted Herbosa and we hope to be able to sit down with him," Ople said.


Herbosa wants to relax rules on hiring nurses to fight shortage

New DOH chief: Proper compensation for health workers a priority

She added that she wants to brief Herbosa "about the demand for healthcare workers abroad and how the DMW, DOH, and even possibly DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) can work together para [so that] we can make sure that we also have enough nurses and healthcare workers in the Philippines."

The Migrant Workers secretary said the government must understand the choices of healthcare workers to go abroad.

"Siyempre tayo 'yong primary choice kasi nga sobrang bilib sila sa workers natin [We are the primary choice because they admire the work of Filipinos] but they are also opening the same avenues to other countries as well," Ople also said.