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PH tech-voc education ready for Asean integration
by eTESDA PMU - Friday, 12 September 2014, 01:01 PM
Technical vocational education and training (TVET) in the Philippines is primed for tougher challenges that would result from the integration of Southeast Asian economies, Secretary Joel Villanueva said.

Villanueva, Director General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), said the agency has laid the groundwork to make the tech-voc education industry-driven and competency-based to allow flexibility and adaptability of its graduates to changing work requirements.

TESDA has also continuously enhanced its partnerships with the private sector, industries and local government units to guarantee quality and relevant training and assure employment for the graduates.

"Like many of you, I also feel anxious because the countdown to 2015 is ticking faster but let’s be hopeful and work together," Villanueva told representatives of industry, tech-voc institutions and other stakeholders who attended the TVET Congress organized by TESDA Region IV-A in Tagaytay City last August 27.

"But let's not rest everything on fatalism, and say 'Bahala na.' Let's move forward knowing what needs to be done. I am confident to say that our quality assured TVET system is ASEAN 2015-ready," he said.

The 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have agreed to integrate their economies with the aim of boosting economic activities, job creation and incomes.

The ISO 9001:2008 Certification awarded to the agency has been an "important ally" for TESDA to prepare well for the integration.

"Since 2010, we have immersed ourselves in a culture of excellence and quality management, which I believe is a pre-requisite in the AEC (Asean Economic Community)," he said.

TESDA's processes for the Development of Training Regulations, Competency-based Curriculum Exemplar, and Competency Assessment Tools, as well as the processes for Program Registration and Assessment and Certification are all aligned with international standards.

"Our ISO 9001:2008 Certification is not just about adhering to systems, processes, and procedures. It is about helping our trainees enter the world of work with confidence. It is about giving them life skills to adapt to the changing work conditions here and abroad," Villanueva said.

Strengthened public-private partnership is one key to hurdling the challenges that will come with the economic integration.

In the first half of 2014, Villanueva said TESDA has allocated around P140 million worth of scholarship vouchers to its partner organizations in the construction, garments, animation, electronics and semi-conductor, and IT-BPM industries.

It has also inked partnerships with World Vision for the operations of the TESDA Auto Mechanic Training Center and with the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce for the establishment of the TESDA Green Technology Center in Taguig.

"These linkages are crucial because with our private partners' commitment of 70 to 80 percent employment rate, our graduates are assured of jobs. And, with the upcoming integration that is focused on education and jobs, it is imperative that we fortify our industry-based training programs," Villanueva said.

The TESDA chief said that the agency is also stepping up its scholarship programs, namely the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) and the Private Education Student Financial Assistance (PESFA). It has also recently included the Special Training for Employment Program or STEP in the roster of its programs.

Villanueva said he has instructed TESDA directors to include innovative solutions in the agency's action plan and work closely with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry to expand the reach of tech-voc since the range of opportunities in skills development is limitless – partnerships for apprenticeship, curriculum development, skills upgrading, and re-tooling of workers are some of these opportunities.

TESDA, he said, is also seeking for alternative mechanisms on how to improve its enterprise-based training, especially the Apprenticeship Program and the Dual Training System.

"Our target is to broaden these modes of training to offer opportunities across a range of different qualifications and PCCI can surely help us in this endeavor. Let us also continue lobbying for the passage of the Apprenticeship Bill in Congress," he said.

"I hope that we will not say "Bahala na" because we lacked time to prepare for this integration. Instead, we should be excited thinking that we’ve done our best to make the Philippines at the frontline of the 10 ASEAN member countries who are now gearing their way for the integration especially in the area of TVET," Villanueva said. END