Philippines as the Tech-Voc Center in Asia

Philippines as the Tech-Voc Center in Asia

The State of Tech-Voc in the Philippines

The Philippines is aiming to become the Tech-Voc center in Asia with global standards. How can the people behind tech-voc leverage the industry?

First we need to address the challenges of the Philippine Tech-Voc:

If the country could establish a  tech-voc Philippine style , the agency and Technical-Vocational Institutes (TVI)  could encourage not only local but  foreign students to enroll in the Philippines. As a country known for having an excellent English literacy, the teaching medium is no longer a backlog, instead the education system or the government body  should manage HOW to reshape the agency, the Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) institutions  and the tech-voc training programs in general. That includes the curriculum, the trainors, and the facilities.

Mismanagement of the  trifocal system of education in the Philippines. Qualifications of Tech-Voc instructors and educators as experts in their field of interest. Getting a methodology course does not qualify as trainors, incompetent teachers have been tapped to handle the classes, etc. 

With the implementation of the  trifocal system of education in the Philippines. Philippines education became  “mixed” learning. Experts in the tech-voc field should focus on skills education while the basic education handled by DepEd and CHEd should rather focus on academe and life-learnings in general. There were doubts from many observers as to why tech-voc tracks were assigned to Senior High school with very limited teachers, some neither have the capacity to teach the subject and the load of teaching that these teachers cannot turn down because they were apparently mandated to handle it. 

Education is so pivotal to the life of the nation. Why in heaven’s name did we divide our education system into DepEd, K-12 and ChEd? At kung bobo ka diyan ka na lang sa tech voc. There’s something so brainless about those divisions.” – Clarita Carlos, retired University of the Philippines professor, remarks from Sonshine Media Network International [SMNI] News presidential debates. 

In the Philippines, the three main agencies tasked in providing basic education in the country are Department of Education (DepEd) for the elementary and middle school, Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) for tertiary education,  and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) which is mandated to provide direction, policies, programs and standards towards quality technical education and skills development.  The three bodies should complement each other so that there will be no overlapping of roles that could create conflicts in the implementation of their programs.  However, it seems that the curriculum from these bodies have created some challenges for both of them.  Ever since the K-12 curriculum has been implemented, DepEd has gotten some resources from TESDA because the tech-voc curriculum should be handled by experts in the technical field and not by a regular teacher.  So this phenomena, which was unseen as the would-be effect of the K-12, needs to be resolved.  In effect, the graduates from K-12 were described as “hilaw” or yet ready to get employed. They were not hired as professionals when they completed senior high school as opposed to the objectives of K-12 that these  graduates can find jobs. Majority of the companies assessed the qualification of the K-12 graduates, no one took them. The time they spent as senior high schools were wasted, they were not taught directly by tech-voc teachers. As a result, these students need to take further studies, either by pursuing a degree or taking another vocational course from tech-voc affiliated schools.  It’s a sad state that K-12 turned out to be a fantasy with wasted  time and resources.

 “Kaya ang Build, Build, Build, medyo atrasado ng konti.  Walang trabahante.  We are lacking in experts like in carpentry, in welding and other technical skills.  We have a lot of jobless because they are not qualified even in vocational, especially construction.”  – President Rodrigo Duterte expressed in one of his speeches.

“...Department of Education should focus on basic education and in the students’ academic performances and TESDA can take care of the technical skills.”  – Ms. Gwendolyn Garcia, Cebu governor.

Philippines as the Tech-Voc Center in Asia

Asian counterparts like Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Japan have made necessary efforts and advancements in their educational system, focusing on academic excellence and technology innovation.  These progressive countries imparts their citizens to become disciplined, productive, income-generating and contribute to the national  coffers.  They invested in technical training and put emphasis on the quality of products and service.  “These countries believe in the strength of their manpower and their role in the national economy.”

 “Philippine TVET ang pag-asa para sa kinabukasan ng mamamayan at ng bayan, kung maayos at maganda ang programa….. Magagawa nating umangat at umasenso ang pamumuhay ng ating mahihirap na kababayan kung mabibigyan natin sila ng kahalagahan at maiaayos ang posisyon ng technical vocational education and training ng bansa. Hindi lang ang hangarin ay upang maging isang simpleng manggagawa. Kung hindi, tulungan natin silang linangin bilang mga tunay na eksperto sa iba’t-ibang larangan ng industriya upang ang lahat ay maging kapaki-pakinabang at mapabilang sa pandaigdigang kompetisyon na makapagpapalago ng ating ekonomiya.”  – Tony Galvez,  President of Technical and Vocational Schools and Associations in the Philippines or TEVSAPHIL-National and an expert in the technical and vocational education and training industry in the Philippines. 

TVI’s proposal to reshape the TVET program and curriculum. Propose professionalization and licensing of Tech-Voc tracks; these are the Professional tracks and Livelihood tracks. Uplift the status of TESDA graduates by securing a license or to become a professional.

Professional Tracks

Tech-Voc Professional Tracks: Only by professionalizing all Service Oriented Tech-Voc Courses will uplift the image of techvoc students, graduates and practitioners in the country.

The above mentioned are all professional tracks and require a high school diploma as a basic requirement. Tech-voc service-oriented profession is not just a simple trade and all service-oriented tracks will be identified by specific specialization based on the industry qualification.   

Livelihood Tracks

Tech-Voc Livelihood Tracks: Livelihood tracks aims to provide skills training to its target beneficiaries, to engage them in livelihood projects that are income generating.

Product-oriented tracks are designed in order to alleviate poverty and provide income-generating projects to barangay folks like stay-at-home moms, out-of-school youths, drug dependents, seniors/retirees, jobless folks, and surrenderees.  Some of these product-oriented tracks are called cottage industries and can be done in the backyard or in a factory for SME.

The training package for this track must include:  Salesmanship/Entrepreneurship, managerial, marketing and bookkeeping.  These livelihood trainings are best for barangays and provincial training through Barangay Kasanayan para sa kabuhayan at kapayapaan (BKKK) set by TESDA.  TESDA will also provide for the necessary tools and materials as well as equipment for this skill training.

The state of tech-voc in the Philippines must be reshaped in such a way that the skills and training competencies are given priorities to attain job-readiness of workers as well  as uplift our skilled workers as licensed professionals.

Philippines as the Tech-Voc Center in Asia
A cycle of how a TVET graduate can be a big help in the economy

The need to strengthen our tech-voc ecosystem in the country is still a long way to achieve but with full  support “from the government, industry and academe, we are making crucial inroads that lay the foundation for the future. As we promote tech-voc to the youth to undergo tech-voc training, we hope that tech-voc professionalism and licensing will soon be implemented as well.”

Once TVETs are allowed to have global standards and be competitive with that of our Asian neighbors, the Philippines will be recognized as a country with  excellence  in tech-voc training and sought for the licensing program being offered here in the country. With the qualitative approach from the professional tracks and livelihood tracks, Tech-voc industry will emerge as a  potential main drivers of  economic growth and finally be given the recognition and prestige along with the other major income generating professionals. 

Access the images of the following:
TVET pathway to Excellence
The interpretation of Philippine Qualification Framework and Ladderized Program Law
TVET PQF NC’s Proposal

Press Release article. Towards an Improved Pinoy Technical Vocational Education and Training.
Tony Galvez. TVET Presentation., created by Green Dei (Daryll Villena)
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