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Clearer access to incentives, funding needed to improve tech-voc education – EDCOM 2 consultations


Members of the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM 2) conducted the first round of site visits for the Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) & Lifelong Learning priority areas from July 3 to 4, 2023. 

During the two-day activity, members of the Commission visited Don Bosco Youth Center in Tondo, Manila, FAST Logistics in Cabuyao, Laguna, and Toyota Motors Philippines School of Technology (TMP-Tech) in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. During the site visit to Don Bosco, EDCOM 2 also invited twelve industry partners who shared best practices, challenges, and policy recommendations for TVET. 

Partnerships key to sustainability in TVET

Partnerships with companies and industry stakeholders proves to be a crucial element in best practices among the participants. 

In Don Bosco Tondo, Fr. Vester Casaclang, TVET Administrator, showcased the site’s programs and highlighted their partnerships with different institutions to enhance affordability for their students. For their plumbing programs, German plumbing fixture manufacturer Grohe provides students with industry-based training. Don Bosco Tondo students are given the necessary tools to eventually achieve a certification in Plumbing Technology. 

“Importante po sa amin talaga ‘yung partnerships…We have been lucky enough na we have met companies na may puso, na may kaluluwa. Ang dami po talagang may puso – kailangan lang po nilang madinig na kailangan natin ng tulong nila”, Fr. Vester said.

Don Bosco highlighted their challenge of needing an accreditation as an NGO from the Philippine Council for NGO Certification, apart from their accreditation as a TESDA Technical-Vocational Institution (TVI), in order to qualify for the incentives.

The Association of Hugom and Laiya Resort Owners, Inc. (AHLRO), detailed their “K to 12 PLUS” project in Laiya, where they expanded the regular TVL Curriculum from 80 hours of immersion, to 200 hours per NC. They implemented a rotation plan for their students, where they split them into two batches, rotating between school and work immersion among their member-companies.

TMP-Tech established partnerships with Toyota dealerships nationwide, where each dealership sponsors one scholar per batch of students who take their Automotive Repairing and Automotive Painting courses, both of which are equivalent to National Certification Level II (NC II). 

Issues in accessing gov’t scholarships, incentives

Monark Foundation Executive Director Ms. Cecil Valencia sounded the alarm on the lack of clear guidelines in availing the Dual Training System (DTS) benefits for industry partners, which allows companies who participate in the DTS to deduct from their taxable income the amount of 50% of the system expenses paid to the accredited DTS institution. 

“We keep on saying we have 50% incentive for them. But how can we avail of the incentive? I consulted with TESDA a few weeks ago – unfortunately, hindi rin nila talaga mabigyan ng clear guidelines”, Ms. Valencia said. 

Issues regarding scholarship funding and accessibility were also raised during the discussion. “We need to review scholarships in order to be responsive to the learner and to support good quality TVIs…Ang problema sa government, ang daming pockets of funds and scholarships”, EDCOM 2 Executive Director Dr. Karol Mark Yee said. 

TESDA training regulations a big stumbling block

During the consultation in TMP-Tech, the Commission discussed the difficulty of updating TESDA training regulations (TR) for each industry. A Training Regulation is TESDA-promulgated document that serves as a basis for curriculum, instructional materials, and assessment tools for NCs. 

The Commission discussed how TESDA training regulations are supposed to be updated whenever there are technical changes to a particular industry. However, TRs are updated every three years due to the lack of incentives for industry experts to do so. 

The delays in updating TRs were also highlighted in the context of particular industries: “Not all industries have associations, and even if a particular industry has an association, not all associations talk to each other”, former TESDA Director General Irene Isaac said. 

NCII completers’ wages the same as college grads’

Dr. Yee also pointed out that the minimum wage of jobseekers who have completed NC II is the same as that of college graduates. 

“So what we’re seeing is that an individual who completed an NC II course in, say, 21 days, earns a minimum wage – this is comparable to someone who completed a college degree in 4 years. That’s an advantage, since the latter can join the workforce sooner”, Dr. Yee said.

The consultations also included the Ateneo Center for Continuing Education, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Human Resources Development Foundation, MFI Polytechnic Institute, IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines, People Management Association of the Philippines, Bureau of Alternative Education – DepEd, Philippine Constructors Association, Agricultural Training Institute, and the Philippine Welding Society. 

Additional site visits for TVET are scheduled for Cebu and Davo in early and late August of this year.

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