TESDA asks for greater investment in tech-voc education

September 29, 2010 10:31 am 

MANILA, Sept. 29 — The Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) on Wednesday called for greater investment in technical-vocational (tech-voc) education saying that it would help do away with the mindset that it is lesser course compared to those being offered by a regular college degree.

TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva said there is a need to popularize tech-voc education in the country to address that thinking which he said is rooted in the belief that tech-voc graduates would have a hard time landing a job compared with their white collar counterparts.

“We really have to invest in tech-voc development whether it is time, money or effort. Sana mawala na yung thinking na pag hindi ako nag-college hindi na ako magiging successful sa buhay,” Villanueva said.

“We should consider that there is another option and that is taking tech-voc education other than going through college or university,” he said.

At the same time, he added the public should understand that TESDA is not only an agency that provides jobs and scholarships but rather as a partner in education.

“I hope people would understand that we are not only here to create jobs and provide scholarships. We are also here to train skilled workers, to provide them the skills needed to make them responsible individuals in our society,” Villanueva said.

The government has allocated P2.6 billion to the agency in 2011, of which P700 million is earmarked for the scholarship of some 65,000 students.

The TESDA chief said only P20 million was left for capital outlay (the amount used to purchase much-needed equipment and update existing ones) adding that they would be hard-pressed to acquire modern training tools with the meager amount.

But he said they are optimistic that the government would seize the initiative to pour in more resources to the agency in the coming years as he noted the enthusiasm of President Aquino on the efforts to address the problem not only in basic and higher education but also in the tech-voc sector.

“We are not saddened by this development (cut in funding) since we are starting anew and we have a President who expressed his desire to see greater coordination between the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education and TESDA,” he added.

To make do with available resources, Villanueva said the agency is updating its existing programs to resolve the “imbalance” adding that they are focusing on seven key employment generation sectors namely: agri-business, business process outsourcing, creative industries such as graphic and 2D and 3D design, manufacturing, mining, tourism and the wellness sector and the construction industry.

At the same time, he said TESDA is working to double the absorption rate of tech-voc graduates in the labor market from the present 28 percent to 55 percent next year as well as closing down “erring” tech-voc schools that do not comply with standards.

The official lamented that there are tech-voc schools and institutions that have training modules that do not measure up the standard thus, producing graduates that are not competitive enough to secure employment.

And there are also tech-voc schools and institutions, he said despite having “non-compliant” training modules have been allowed to operate, and worse are charging exorbitant tuition.

TESDA’s effort to curb the problem came as reports showed a low absorption rate of the agency’s scholars despite the billions of pesos invested by the government in recent years.

Figures released by the agency showed that from 2008 to 2009, only 113,710 TESDA scholars nationwide out of the more than 740,000 got employed after graduation.

In that same period, the then Arroyo government has allocated more than P5 billion for TESDA’s scholarship program. (PNA)

LDV/HCT

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