Bangladesh eyes TESDA model for tech-voc training

19 April 2011

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) struck a high note when it opened its doors to Bangladesh nationals who went on a fellowship in the country to see how the Philippine technical –vocational institutions work.

A total of 30 visitors, composed of 15 TVET (technical-vocational education training) teachers  and 15 principals ) got a first-hand glimpse of the TESDA-run schools and institutions.

"TESDA came through the looking glass of an international network from Bangladesh and we hope we have imparted valuable lessons and strategies to them," TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva said.

Villanueva said the study tour also developed and fortified TESDA's ties with the Bangladesh tech-voc institutions.

The Philippines and Bangladesh, both emerging economies, have a similar need to build a technically sound workforce the country needs that would prepare them for sustained gainful employment, he noted.

"The goal here is to establish what we call a buddy support system between the visitors and the host country to help each other improve the tech-voc education as a way to creating wealth and overcoming poverty," Villanueva said.

The study tour was part of the TVET Reform Project 3 Bangladesh on teachers’ fellowship to provide opportunities for selected educators to observe first-hand how their fellow teachers in other countries develop, deliver and assess in a competency-based training and assessment system.

The visitors will also have an opportunity to observe a Vocational Skills Assessment Center to understand its operations and pick up strategies for teaching.

TESDA hosted two batches of visitors in October 2010 and March this year.  Each study tour lasted for about 10 to 13 days.

Aside from the formal lectures, the participants were given a tour of the TESDA facilities in Taguig City, as well as visits of some of TESDA's offices in Bulacan and Pampanga.

Ms. Sandra June Chan, International Expert of the ILO-TVET Reform Project,  said the participants were “very satisfied and found the fellowship a very productive and fruitful experience."

"They were most interested in the Unified TVET Program Registration and Accreditation System (UTPRAS), Trainers Development and assessment and certification – the components of a quality-assured system," she added.

On their return to Bangladesh, the participants are expected to echo the Philippine experience to their fellow teachers or principals engaged in TVET.

Villanueva said he hopes the Philippines can also send teachers and trainers to other countries that have strong tech-voc program.

There is a fresh awareness among policy-makers and leaders of countries in South Asia and the international donor community of the critical role that TVET can play in national development, according to Villanueva.

Like the Philippines that includes TVET in its medium and long-term development plan, the increasing importance that government of Bangladesh now attaches to TVET is reflected in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers it prepared in collaboration with the multilateral donor organizations.

"There is need to tap and hone the people's employable skills, to make them qualified for employment as a way out of poverty," Villanueva said.

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