Shaping The Philippines As The Tech-Voc Center In Asia

April 09, 2022

Uplifting the quality of tech-voc education in the Philippines will attract not only local but also foreign students to enroll in technical programs.

The Philippines is one of the best in Asia in terms of academic education. Proof of which is the number of local academic institutions that make it into international rankings each year. In fact, local academic institutions attract a good number of foreign students in their undergraduate and graduate programs alike. This is a confirmation that Filipinos give utmost importance in getting a good education as a ticket to more opportunities both here and abroad.

Philippines as the Tech-Voc Center in Asia
Philippines as the Tech-Voc Center in Asia

Shaping The Philippines As The Tech-Voc Center In Asia


    The state of tech-voc in the Philippines


    While the Philippines puts premium on academic education, the same doesn’t hold true when it comes to technical education in the country where practical and hands-on courses are still regarded by many as inferior to regular college courses.

    Just the same, there is a huge potential for the Philippines to become the Technical-Vocational (Tech-Voc) center of Asia and also attract international students to enroll in tech-voc courses.

    Achieving that goal doesn’t happen in an instant. Even so, the national government and its partners can start somewhere and continuously work their way in regard to that objective.

    Here’s where we can initially focus on:

    1. Professionalize local tech-voc education


    A good way to begin is to professionalize tech-voc education in the Philippines. In fact, local private Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions are pushing for the professional accreditation and licensing of tech-voc education in the country.

    Furthermore, there is also the need to ensure that tech-voc instructors have the right set of skills and expertise to produce quality graduates. In doing so, the Philippines will be able to prove its competitiveness in the area of technical education to the rest of the world.

    Existing Philippine Qualification Framework and Ladderized Program Law
    Existing Philippine Qualification Framework and Ladderized Program Law

    Tony Galvez, an expert in the technical and vocational education in the country, echoes its importance in shaping the future of many of our countrymen. According to him, “Philippine TVET ang pag-asa para sa kinabukasan ng mamamayan at ng bayan, kung maayos at maganda ang programa.”

    Galvez is a strong advocate of professionalizing tech-voc in the Philippines for it to achieve worldwide recognition.

    “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,” Galvez added.

    Moreover, another pivotal move to further professionalize tech-voc education is to grant professional licenses to graduates. This would give successful graduates the recognition that would elevate their status into a full-fledged professional practitioner of their chosen skill and would give them sense of pride and achievement.

    Acquiring a license would give tech-voc graduates a right to demand a higher salary and compensation for their services. And most of all, they can be at par with the technical graduates of progressive countries.

    The licensure exams will ensure that tech-voc graduates are allowed to practice a profession which are deemed crucial to safety such as construction and carpentry, cosmetology, and culinary arts among many other service-oriented fields.

    Doing so will hopefully open the eyes of our society that a four-year course is the only avenue to attaining a decent lifestyle. The technical field is expansive, uncharted, and not yet competitive, which thus holds new opportunities as compared to the corporate world.

    2. The need to regulate technical education in the country


    Another important area that the Philippines needs to focus on to achieve global recognition in tech-voc education is the need to implement regulatory standards to ensure that TVET institutions produce only high caliber graduates.

    Tech-voc graduates all have essential roles to play in both local and international industries. If they are well-skilled, they hold a vast potential in contributing to the local economy. 

    One such industry that has a continuous requirement for skilled employees is the services industry. There are plenty of opportunities that await tech-voc graduates not just in the Philippines but in other countries as well.

    3. Adopt best practices from successful countries


    We can also learn a thing or two from our highly-industrialized neighbors such as Japan, Singapore, and Korea. Aside from advancing academic excellence, they also made great strides in technology innovation.

    In additional to the knowledge gained from academic education, these countries also teach their citizens to become productive, income-generating, and contributors to the national coffers. Emphasis is given on the quality of products and service which can only be achieved through proper technical training. These countries believe in the strength of their manpower and their role in the national economy.

    4. Strengthen the tech-voc educational curriculum


    Ayala Corporation CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, a staunch advocate for the importance of technical skills in our society, once expressed that a vocational or technical degree should be given a prominent position in our country’s educational framework.

    The curriculum should be wider and the accreditation status should be significantly improved so that it will produce young graduates with specific skills that match the market needs.

    In the Philippines, the two main agencies tasked in providing basic education in the country are the Department of Education (DepEd) for the academics 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.

    DepEd and TESDA’s roles should be complementary in that no roles should overlap and create conflict in the implementation of their respective programs. However, that is not the case as the deployment of the curriculum from these two agencies have created some challenges for both of them, specifically in relation to the K-12 curriculum.

    With K-12, DepEd has borrowed some resources from TESDA because the tech-voc curriculum should be handled by experts in the technical field and not by regular teachers. This would-be effect of the K-12 curriculum was completely unseen but it definitely needs to be resolved soon.

    TESDA should be given complete responsibility by the government for technical and vocational training, a separate agency from DOLE, DTI and DepEd. On the other hand, TESDA also needs to go beyond just providing instructions and training; it should also focus on thorough skills assessment in order to meet globally-competitive criteria.

    The tech-voc curriculum is envisioned to diverge into two tracks: product-oriented and service-oriented.

    Tech-voc livelihood tracks in the Philippines
    Livelihood tracks aim to provide skills training to its target beneficiaries, to engage them in livelihood projects that are income generating

    Product-oriented tracks are developed with the purpose of providing income-generating projects to individuals such as stay-at-home moms, out-of-school youths, seniors, retirees, and jobless folks, to name a few.

    Tech-voc professional tracks in the Philippines
    Only by professionalizing all Service-Oriented Tech-Voc Courses will uplift the image of tech-voc students, graduates and practitioners in the country

    Meanwhile, the service-oriented sector includes housekeeping, culinary arts, cosmetology, emergency medical service, automotive, construction services, information technology, security services, executive assistantship, photography, electronics, tourism, and healthcare services.

    These 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 because it requires highly-specialized skills. All service-oriented tracks will be identified by specific specialization based on the industry qualification.

    As of now, joblessness and lack of experts in vocational and technical skills are major concerns, but if TESDA is provided with more leeway in implementing its mandate, it can help address these issues faster and more efficiently.

    Epilogue


    In the end, the key to becoming globally-competitive in tech-voc education is to implement changes that focus on professionalizing it, strengthening the curriculum, and solidifying the partnership between the government and private institutions. 

    That would also lead to creation of more jobs for Filipinos and encourage them to seek opportunities locally than go abroad.

    Of course, it’s easier said than done and it requires a lot of hard work. Just the same, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to achieve in the future.

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    1 comment

    1. Proud to be Tech Voc Graduate.
      Mas magiging maganda kong magkakaroon din ng licensure examination ang Tech Voc Courses.
      Malaking advantage ito lalo na sa paghahanap ng trabaho.

      ReplyDelete

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