The Bleary Plight of Pisay Scholars


I’ve been bothered by a post of a friend in FB regarding the contract of Pisay students that it prompted to me to write this.

We were always told in high school that being a Pisay Scholar is a privilege. A lot of students dream of entering the school and only a few pass the rigid entrance exam. Privilege. I agree. Being in Pisay has a lot of perks: the stipend, the free books, the free use of dorm, etc. What I valued the most is the advanced level of learning the system uses and it certainly helped me in making my college years less thunderous.

Of course the privilege comes with heavy responsibilities and consequences. We have to take a science and technology course and we are not allowed to migrate while we are in the process of completing the course. Before we enter Pisay, we sign a contract  agreeing to these terms and in addition we have to reimburse the amount of the scholarship in case we violate the terms of the contract.  Unfortunately, we sign the contract at the age of 12, 13? So, our parents have to sign in our behalf as our legal guardian.

Now here comes the problem. What if… what if… a student realizes science is not really his inkling and he doesn’t want to pursue a science course in college? Whether he withdraws while he still in Pisay or even before/during college, he will pay the same consequences. Furthermore, he will also be placed under the DFA watchlist. Yes, we are on the DFA watchlist and we have to get a clearance before we can go out of the country. The same condition applies to all DOST scholars.

This now made me realize how the lives of Pisay students, or we, have been placed inside a box. We are limited by the terms specified by our contract and I’ve been witness to how these terms have ruined or almost ruined the dreams of some.  I too had no idea what Pisay was all about when I entered the school. It was my dad’s decision for me to attend Pisay but luckily, I had no problem dealing with the terms of the contact since as a kid I’ve always wanted to be a scientist.

But what about those kids who barely knew what they want at the age of 12? At that age, a kid can already show his potential but it’s very seldom that he already knows what he wants. What does this imply? Entering a kid in Pisay should be a very careful decision for parents. A kid should not be enrolled just because of family history, prestige, and the freebies. We should enter a kid only when he has very strong inclination in science. This is not some form of discrimination to kids who discover their interest late in life, but in this way we are doing a better job in protecting our kids’ dreams. After all, Pisay is not the only road to science and distinction.

This may look like a common scholarship dilemma but with Pisay, we are dealing with much more feeble minds and lives. We are placing the next eight to ten or even the whole life of a kid in our hands.  If we insist on entering Pisay despite the kid’s uncertainties, we should be ready to deal with the consequences. Afterall, it was a joint if not, one-sided decision.

Is it worth it? (Credits to djmarinizela @ tumblr)

So dear parents, please act with utmost care. When you sign up your kid for something, make sure that it satisfies their dreams and not yours. A child is a child but I think young as they are, they have some tiniest idea of what they want to purse. Pressuring your kids to do something they don’t want will not help them. It will just ruin them.  Don’t lead your kids’ lives. Just guide them.

Did I abhor being a Pisay scholar? Absolutely not.  I had a lot to gain and thankfully I was able to use whatever I gained from the school. It also helped me to develop some backbone and realize that in this galaxy of people, I am nothing but another ordinary star. Unfortunately, not all Pisay graduates share this opinion but nonetheless, wherever being a Pisay scholar took us, I hope it made us become a better and happier person. After all, we are living life for our own sake and not for the fulfillment of a contract.

Erratum:

Okay. Have to clarify regarding the DFA thing. A schoolmate informed me that this only applies to those who have been DOST scholars in college. However, I know certain people who were only Pisay scholars but were still under the DFA watchlist. Sorry if I caused a fright.

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