Govt revives scholarships, launches seed money loans
A Cabinet meeting in Uttaradit yesterday approved some Bt14.5 billion to revive the 'One District One Scholarship' project while PM Yingluck Shinawatra launched the 'Seed Money Fund' project.The Seed Money Fund project offers soft loans to students or others who graduated less than five years ago, who have good business plans.
Government spokesman Tossaporn Serirak said Cabinet approved Bt395 million from fiscal year 2013 - and Bt14.1 billion from fiscal years 2014-2020 - to fund the fourth "One District One Scholarship" project and provide 1,856 scholarships.
It will offer 928 scholarships for undergraduate-level "category 1" recipients - those with excellent academic performance and family income below Bt200,000 a year; and 928 scholarships for "category 2" recipients with excellent academic performance (regardless of family income) to study in undergraduate-level science fields which have market-demand.
The latter category would depend on the direction of national development, manpower, and plans to support Thailand joining the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, he said.
Both category scholarship recipients must work in Thailand after graduating, in the public or private sector. Category 2 recipients would have to work in Thailand for twice their study time (at least 10 years if they study for five), or they would have to return their funds for their study and pay a fine equal to that amount (a Bt500,000 fine if they got a Bt500,000 scholarship).
Category 1 recipients could go study in 35 non-English speaking countries including Argentina, Mexico, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Israel, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Japan, China, and Thailand. If the category 1 recipients want to study in English-speaking countries, they would have to choose science fields with market-demand, Tossaporn explained.
Prior to the meeting, Yingluck launched the "Seed Money Fund" at Uttaradit Rajabhat University, following the project's official unveiling on December 12. This aims to support 5,000 qualified applicants to set up new businesses, at least 10 per cent of which could operate well in the Asean market. Currently, there are 56 "incubation centres" at universities under the project; nine in the North, such as Chiang Mai University, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai Rajabhat University, and Naresuan University in Phitsanulok.