TESDA Ensures Jobs for Tech-Voc Graduates

MANILA, Philippines – Despite the lean budget for 2011, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is targeting the employment of graduates within six to 12 months.

TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva said the agency is aiming to pull off a dramatic increase in the employability of technical-vocational graduates despite the lean budget of the agency for 2011, especially for its Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) and the Private Education Student Financial Assistance (PESFA) grantees.

“We intend to realize our goal of facilitating the employment of six out of 10 of TESDA scholar-graduates of either school-based or enterprise-based Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programs within six to 12 months after completing their training,” Villanueva explained.

Villanueva added that TESDA is targeting the employment of 55 percent or 35,000 of the 65,000 scholars of the agency’s TWSP and PESFA for next year. “The TESDA scholar-graduates are expected to be absorbed either in wage-employment or self-employment sectors,” he added.

Based on the analysis of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), TESDA only has 28 percent TWSP absorption rate during the 2006 to 2008 period. Upon his assumption of office, Villanueva immediately ordered his agency to double the absorption rate of their graduates especially after getting a nod from President  Aquino III himself to retain the current budget of R700 million for its TWSP.

Meanwhile, PESFA has an annual budget of P200 million. For 2011, the agency is proposing a total budget of P2.8 billion. Historically, the TESDA budget is considered as a “main drawback” in its role as manager of TVET subsector. Its budget has been deemed as “underserved” compared with the budgets of the Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).

The budget for TVET, said Villanueva, constitutes less than two percent of the national education budget even when in fact, quality technical and vocational education is more expensive than the general education in view of its requirement for state-of-the-art equipment and on-the-job placements for practical training of the students, Villanueva stressed.

“The TESDA budget of P2.8 billion is a small portion of the education budget. But it is our desire at TESDA that despite the lean budget, we will be able to provide access to as many learners from the almost 60 million Filipino working-age population,” Villanueva said.

The TESDA chief also pointed out that TESDA will be able to cater to different student abilities and interests, providing second chance for tertiary education dropouts and providing alternatives to unemployed degree holders. “While TVET graduates placed in wage- and self-employment within six to 12 months after completing a TVET program could very well compensate for the government’s investment in TESDA.”

Villanueva assured that the agency's budget would be utilized in such a way that it would enable TESDA to continually pursue strategic imperatives in TVET. “We will achieve our goal by working harder to make sure that our scholars would obtain or acquire adequate knowledge and practical competencies from our tech-voc programs to prepare them for work in the formal and informal labor market as well as overseas labor market,” he added.

Apart from aspiring for the employment of 55 percent of its scholar-graduates, the TESDA chief also vowed to produce 400,000 TVET practitioners; turn 540,000 into skilled and certified workers; and certify   60,000 in higher-level competencies.

These targets, Villanueva said, are seen to let TESDA seal its claim of being a leading partner in the development of globally competent Filipino workforce “with positive values.”

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