By US News Agency / Asian
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is aiming to increase employment 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.
TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva said the agency is targeting to ensure 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.
“We intend to realize our goal of facilitating the employment of 6 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,” said Villanueva.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has analyzed a report of the TESDA and placed its TWSP absorption rate during the 2006-2008 period at only 28 percent.
So upon his assumption of office, the new TESDA chief immediately ordered the agency to double the absorption rate of its graduates, especially after getting a nod from President Benigno S. Aquino III himself to retain the current budget of P700 million for its TWSP.
The PESFA, on the other hand, 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 constitutes less than two percent of the national education budget even when 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 said.
“The TESDA budget of P2.8 billion is a very 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,” he said.
“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,” he said.
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 said.
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”.
“We hope to influence societal values towards dignity of labor and productivity; re-train workers to respond to new technology or changes in industry processes; and provide alternative career path for learners who do not or cannot pursue higher education degree, aside from increasing the employability of those undergoing TVET programs by developing their skills and competencies and certifying to their competence in meeting the requirements of the industry,” he said.
Villanueva said that the strategy of TESDA is hooked along the three-pronged direction of social integration, rural development, and global competitiveness.