Zamboanga City—Educators across Mindanao representing private technical-vocational institutions have appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to keep their schools open amid closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
They sent a petition with signatories from six regions for Duterte to “heed the issues and concerns and consequently take action on the present plight of the private technical-vocational education and training institutions or TVIs of Mindanao.”
Dr. Bonifacio Valdez, Mindanao Technical-Vocational Education (MinTVET) President, in a phone interview said the association of TVIs in all six regions in Mindanao have sent their appeal to the President with hundreds of signatories from among the heads of their institutions.
“We hope and pray President Duterte will heed us, being a Mindanaoan himself. We pray he takes immediate action and prevent the further closure and death of private TVET schools,” said Valdez, who is based in Koronadal City.
“MinTVET extends support to the regional associations as we jointly bear the problems and suffer the plight of these schools,” Valdez, also president of VMC Asian College Foundation, pointed out.
MinTVET Board Chairperson Lourdes Mission, in a separate interview, said: “One of our concerns is that TESDA has no direct and indirect assistance provided to the private TVIs for displaced trainers, staff, and even to institutions through the form of scholarship vouchers to support their survival during the pandemic.”
“With the bulk of scholarship slots allocated for public technology institutions, TESDA has now and continuously pirated trainers from private TVET institutions,” Mission, who is based in Davao City, added.
Valdez said: “These are but among the major concerns we in the techvoc education sector are wanting to let the President know what’s going on from our end.”
Valdez explained that with MinTVET voicing out as a Zonal Association comprising Regions 9, 10, 11, 12, CARAGA and BARMM, the Regional Associations have likewise expressed their sentiments.
Mission stated: “With the bulk of scholarship slots allocated for public technology institutions, TESDA has now and continuously pirated trainers from private TVET institutions.”
“One other concern that we have is that, in practice, TESDA has not improved its processes and procedures on the payment of scholarships for the past years,” said John Thomas Franco, MinTVET Vice-President for Internal Affairs.
This, Franco said, results in non-payment of training costs for a long time, despite the concerned TVIs already complying with documents and other requirements.
In their petition, MinTVET presented their stand on techvoc issues and concerns:
· One, that “Unjust, unfair, biased and partisan Distribution of Scholarships for Skills Training, heavily favoring only public Technology Training Institutions while clearly ignoring the organizational capacities and capabilities of the private technical-vocational institutions.”
· Two, that “Operation of Private assessment centers have been practically suspended or closed down due to TESDA Memo Order giving all conduct of assessments to the public centers, despite its lack of capacity, lack of TESDA assessors, and reports of irregularities in the management of the conduct of assessments.”
· Three, that “Unclear policies and directives on the moratorium on the Mobile Training Program (MTP) and corresponding implementation of the program.”
· Four, that “Establishment of more government Training Centers in municipalities where there are a number of private TVIs that are already existing in the same locality and offering the same programs.”
· Five, that “TESDA has no direct and indirect assistance provided by TESDA to the private TVIs for displaced trainers, staff and even to institutions through the form of scholarship vouchers to support their survival during the pandemic.“
· Six, that “TESDA has not improved its processes and procedures on the payment of scholarships for the past years, resulting in non-payment of training costs for a long period of time, despite the fact that the concerned TVIs have already complied with documents required and other requirements.”
· Seven, that “With the bulk of scholarship slots allocated for public technology institutions, TESDA has now and continuously pirated trainers from private TVET institutions.”
· Eight, that “TESDA has no clear plans for the participation and involvement on the private TVET sector in the Technical-Vocational institutions in TVET development.”