20 October 2015 – Pinoy Iskolars sa Korea Inc. (PIKO), the sole association of Filipino students in Korea, held their bi-annual General Assembly at the Multi-purpose Hall of the Philippine Embassy on October 04 to welcome new members and induct a new regional coordinator.
In his welcome remarks, Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Raul S. Hernandez encouraged some 20 undergraduate and graduate students attending the 14th PIKO General Assembly to pursue academic excellence while in studying in Korea and toacquire the knowledge and skills necessary for self-realization and for the development of the Philippines.
Enumerating the kind of proactive support the Embassy extends to PIKO, Ambassador Hernandez said the time has come for the Embassy to address the problem of the welfare of Filipino students in South Korea, especially those receiving partial financial support through professorial grants or research assistantships that come with “with numerous strings attached.”
He described such students as being “particularly vulnerable due to the absence of standards or regulatory oversight of such informal or unofficial arrangements,” adding that Filipino students currently have no avenues for redress.
“Given the lack of existing mechanisms in the Korean educational system to address the problems caused by these types of informal scholarships, Filipino students, like many other foreign students who have agreed to such arrangements, face considerable obstacles in completing their education here,” he said.
In order to address the issue, Ambassador Hernandez announced his intention to call on the Ministry of Education soon to bring the matter to the attention of the highest authorities in Korea. He thus urged PIKO members to document actual cases and discuss among themselves the issues as a way to better define the problem and provide inputs for the meeting.
PIKO President Judee Nemeño then inducted the new members, including exchange students andofficials from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and National Food Authority (NFA) receivinga 16-month study grant from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), into the organization.
There were also five culture and arts specialists participating in year’s three-month Cultural Partnership Initiative (CPI) organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST), who attended the PIKO General Assembly.
In order to strengthen the geographic scope of the organization, PIKO Adviser Roderico C. Atienza, the Embassy’s Consul General and First Secretary, inducted Mr. Dakila Adame of Chungnam National University as the new coordinator for the PIKO Daejeon Regional Chapter. END