The governments of Philippines and Germany vowed to increase cooperation and intensify their technical vocational education and training (TVET) program to prep skilled graduates for employment.
In Europe with President Benigno Aquino III, Secretary Joel Villanueva, Director General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) signed a Cooperation Agreement with Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) for collaborative research and development of TVET and further promotion of the dual training system (DTS).
Villanueva also witnessed the signing of a joint declaration of intent between the Philippines and Germany focused on "furthering technical vocational education and training through consultancy, technical assistance, exchange of information, experiences, best practices, joint research, study tours and expert meetings.
Both initiatives are seen to boost TVET so that it could provide the skills needed by the graduates and make them eligible for work, thereby reducing unemployment and underemployment.
"In Germany, many students take vocational training, and for those not yet ready, an intensive pre-apprenticeship program backs the youth. Their government has been investing massive amounts of talent and money on TVET, and it is paying off," VIllanueva said.
"The challenge we face in skills development is the need to increase permeability of TVET. Since the issues in TVET are now global in nature, the more we should consider external support in the design of our training programs," he added.
With the signing of the cooperation agreement, Villanueva said that TESDA will embark on the next step of identifying concrete actions for capability-building, research and development and dual training.
The TESDA chief acknowledged the need to strengthen the Philippine TVET research, and stressed that the cooperation agreement with the BIBB can open up channels to fund research projects in the country.
According to Villanueva, the outputs from research and development can address not only the current needs of the labor market, but also future needs such as technologies, markets and development strategies changes.
The German model of the dual training system has also served as an exemplar of DTS in the Philippines.
Dual training involves classroom instruction and hands-on training within an enterprise. This ensures that the graduates are job-ready with the knowledge and skills required by the industry.
"Each year, some 60 percent of German school-leavers choose to enter the dual system, ensuring that in Germany young people are integrated into the labor force with a degree of success almost unparalleled in Europe," Villanueva said.
"We hope to beef up our DTS and make it a sustainable program especially for the youth. We will attain this by strengthening our advocacy and encourage more TVET institutions and companies to adopt this system,” he said.
The TESDA chief said that the cooperation agreement and the Joint Declaration of Intent came just at a time when the government was working towards reforms in the education and training sector, particularly the Philippine Qualifications Framework and the K to 12 basic education program.
"Germany can help us ensure that we are doing thing right," Villanueva said.
The cooperation agreement, he said, can boost the image, quality and relevance of TVET in the country, adding that it can even be used in the promotion and marketing of tech-voc.
"With occupational standards and qualifications aligned with Germany, Filipino workers who desire to work in Germany can have better competitive advantage," Villanueva said.
"Quality tech-voc education will result in quality skilled workforce, which will serve as great incentives to German and other foreign direct investors and domestic investments," he added.
The BIBB is a national and international center of excellence for research on initial and continuing vocational education and training and the progressive development of vocational education and training in Germany.
Villanueva is expected to join the President in a series of activities and in meeting with Filipino communities.
On September 21 in France, he will sign a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in technical vocational education and training between TESDA, the Association of Carriers and Equipment Lessors represented by its president, Lito Garcia, and the Assistance Formation Conseils aux Enterprises Group. END