TESDA: Local governments struggle on operating tech-voc training centers

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) bared yesterday many local government units (LGUs) nationwide are having difficulty of establishing and operating their own Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centers. The reason is owing to lack of funding.

While Tesda law provides that management of TVET centers must be eventually delegated to the local governments, the LGUs complained about their financial incapability to put up and maintain these facilities, Tesda Director General Joel Villanueva said.

Villanueva said that the agency’s plan is to devolve the establishment and management of TVET centers to LGUs within 15 years. Devolution is a government policy that was adopted into law (Republic Act 7796) in 1994.

“The devolution is now ongoing. But we are going slow on this program because LGUs don’t want to gambit and there is also the issue of sustainability considering the political changes that happen every three years and the cost of operation,” he said.

Villanueva said the operation of one small training center is estimated to cost at least about P3 million, which is taken from the funds allocated to Tesda.

Based on Tesda data, there are 126 TVET facilities nationwide, of which 57 are schools for agri-fisheries that turned over to Tesda under the 1997 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

Tesda Deputy Director General Milagros Dawa-Hernandez told a recent budget hearing in the Senate that each of these schools “carries its own budget lines.”

Tesda data also showed that out of the 126 TVET facilities, the operation of some 60 plus regional training centers and provincial training centers are dependent on the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) allocated to Tesda.

“In most cases, funds for the operating expenses of the centers are being mobilized through the convergence arrangements with the LGU in the sites where they are,” Hernandez said.

Most LGUs remain hesitant, however, to take over the operations of these training centers amid the projected cost.

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