Monday, September 15, 2014

Editorial by Ernesto T. Solidum

Promoting Tech Voc Education

Celebrating its 20th founding anniversary, Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) proudly waves its banner of success and well being in its mission to empower youth with technical skills. However, despite phenomenal 7.2 percent GDP growth in 2013, the Aquino Administration is haunted by non-inclusive growth where unemployment is 7.0 percent or 2.9 million of the labor force. The Social Weather Station (SWS) survey on June 27-30, 2014 shows it is 25.9 percent or 11.8 million.

In Kapihan Forum on August 30, 2014 held at NVC Carmen Hotel, the invited guests gave positive outlook on impact of technical vocational (Tech Voc) education to increase family income, financial security and progress. Data show that for the last 20 years, TESDA has produced 6.0 million graduates, 65 percent of whom is fully employed in their various fields of expertise.

Of this total, more than 50 percent underwent competency assessment where 3,289,179 received their national certificates. Employer satisfaction survey had 86 percent of 5,451 public and private firms answered satisfactory work and skills. Employment status was 91.4 percent for graduates of electronics and semi-conductors while 70.9 percent for info technology and business process management.

Mr. Joel Villanueva, Director General stated that “we have unloaded the potential of tech voc education, greatly reduced the social bias against it and made its impact felt in tackling unemployment.”

Mr. Ely G. Arensol, Sr. TESDA Specialist said that legal basis of TESDA is RA 7796 actually reorganized from the former National Manpower and Youth Council. It aims to provide educational skills and avoid the pervasive mismatch between jobs on one hand and education and training on the other. Roughly two-thirds (2/3) of college graduates land in jobs that are different from their training such as teachers working as clerks or hotel receptionists.

There is a Provincial Training Center at Laguinbanwa East, Numancia that offers courses on automotive servicing, plumbing, carpentry, refrigeration/airconditioning and welding that may be completed within 2 years. Competency assessment test is administered to ensure that graduates possess the desired aptitude and skills.

TESDA maximizes its resources by offering scholarships in coordination with accredited institutions also known as Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools on other courses such as housekeeping (hotel services), cell-phone repair and special ones as may be requested by LGU’s and approved byTESDA. For instance project proposal from Altavas and Tangalan are massage therapy, masonry, welding and carpentry, while Nabas is training of security guards.

The current enrolment program is released to accommodate as many students who are: a) high school graduates or college undergraduates, b) 18 years of age, c) indigent, and d) completed application paper. This privilege is extended to PWD’s, IP’s and OFWs, Arsensal disclosed.

Ms. Leonore O. Medina, ATSA Vice Pres. revealed that in Aklan there are 21 TESDA accredited private schools that offer tech voc courses. Based on TESDA monitoring and evaluation, 70 to 80 percent of the graduates are now working abroad where wages of blue collar workers are competitive with that of white collar employees.

Ms. Rhodora S. Brillantes of New Lucena Polytechnic College, Iloilo is in Aklan to conduct Trainers’ Methodology to teachers of TVET courses. The first batch of 30 participants will graduate on September 8. The second batch will start on September 15. The duration of training is 17 days held at Northwestern Visayan Colleges. The course module covers agri-fisheries, horticulture, computer hardware, plumbing, sheet metal arc welding, housekeeping and refrigeration/air-conditioning. This is excellent arrangement since Aklanon teachers are spared of hassles and bussles of going to Iloilo and spend a fortune, said Ms. Brillantes.

It is hard to believe that with an obscure and improbable agency as TESDA can produce sterling accomplishments despite minimal support services and short time period are beyond question. Its annual budget is austere and easily pails behind that of DepEd yet 65 percent of its graduates are gainfully employed while DepEd-Ched has a pitiful score of 20 percent. It takes 4 to 5 years to obtain a college degree after high school while only 2 years is spent in tech voc education. With bigger expenses foregone on the part of parents, there is need to evaluate basic DepEd school curriculum in as much as availability of jobs are ephemeral and dependent on local and international markets demand. Better option could be orienting youth on entrepreneurial skills so they could not be affected by a fickle job opportunity. 

Specialized skills need to be developed on courses as tour guide, front desk, and health care, among others in order to bolster our tourism industry in Aklan. The challenge is to be globally competitive in view of Asean Economic Integration in January next year.

We extend our heartfelt congratulation and best wishes to TESDA on its founding anniversary. /MP

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