TESDA urged to boost tech-voc programs in countryside

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Monday urged the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to attune and update technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programs in the provinces in preparation to the “new normal” after the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) health crisis.

“Palakasin pa dapat ang mga technical-vocational education and skills training programs natin lalo na sa panahon ngayon (We must strengthen our TVET programs, especially during this time) Having an educated and skilled workforce is essential in accelerating development in the countryside and will provide more economic opportunities to Filipinos to help them recover from this crisis,” Go stressed.

He said boosting TVET programs, following the changing business requirements in the countryside, is needed now more than ever with the expected influx of Filipinos returning to their home provinces after the Covid-19 situation.

People living in metropolitan areas are also motivated to return or relocate to the countryside after President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order 114 last May 6, institutionalizing the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) program.

As the proponent of this initiative, Go sees the BP2 program as a way to decongest Metro Manila, strengthen the capability of the government to respond better to crises, boost the economy of the provinces, and give Filipinos hope for a better future after the current crisis.

“Pagbalik ng mga tao sa probinsya pagkatapos ng krisis, siguraduhin dapat ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno na may mga programang nakahanda para sa kabuhayan nila. Lalo na ang mga ‘tech-voc’ o skills training para sa mga Pilipinong gustong matuto o makakuha ng sertipikasyon sa kanilang mga kakayahan para makakuha agad sila ng maayos na trabaho (When people return to the provinces after the crisis, government agencies should ensure that there are livelihood programs for them. Especially the tech-voc or skills training for Filipinos who wanted to learn or get certificates for their competencies, for them to immediately get decent jobs),” he said.

Collaborate with gov’t agencies

Go also urged TESDA to coordinate its efforts and collaborate with various government agencies, such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), as well as the local government units (LGUs), to ensure that the TVET programs offered in a particular province match with what is needed in that locality.

“Naaayon rin ang klase ng kabuhayan sa katangian ng isang probinsya. Halimbawa, doon sa Mindanao, merong mga probinsya na malakas ang agri-industrial sector. Meron namang probinsya na mas akma sa kanila ang fisheries. Kaya mahalaga na ang binibigay na training ay tugma din sa kung ano ang negosyong maaaring lumago sa lugar na iyon (The type of livelihood also depends on the characteristics of a province. In Mindanao for example, there are provinces where the agri-industrial sector is strong. On the other hand, there are provinces where fisheries is more suitable. So it is important that the offered training program matches what business will thrive in that locality),” Go said.

Go also noted that new special economic zones are expected to be established in various parts of the country, thus TESDA should also be ready to provide people in those areas the needed skills to qualify for the jobs that would soon be made available.

TESDA has earlier assured that it has started aligning its programs in support of the objectives of the program in support of the objectives of the BP2 Program.

During one of the meetings held for the initiative, TESDA Director General Isidro Lapeña said the agency is presently enhancing courses in “agriculture, health and construction,” the sectors that many economists expect to bounce back much faster than other industries after the country overcomes the Covid-19 pandemic.

Additionally, TESDA-NCR regional director Florencio Sunico also assured that the agency will do thorough profiling of workers and industries to help the government in properly assisting Filipinos going back to the provinces under the BP2 Program.

In the meantime, Go reiterated his call for concerned agencies and LGUs to immediately execute their BP2 plans as more Filipinos have expressed willingness to go back to their respective provinces following their experiences in the metropolis during the Covid-19 crisis.

“Hindi po ito sapilitan. Unahin dapat ang mga kababayan nating nais na bumalik sa kanilang mga probinsya at tulungan dapat sila ng gobyerno na makakuha ng trabaho o magkaroon ng mas maayos na kabuhayan (This is voluntary. Priority must be given to those willing to go back to their provinces, and the government should help them get jobs or have better livelihoods),” he said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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