"The agency can help upskill 50 million jobless Filipinos for job opportunities in the advanced digital revolution."
TESDA Deputy Director General Brig. Gen. Lina Sarmiento called me up yesterday regarding my Wednesday’s column on TESDA, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
The article focused on Albay Rep. Joey Salceda’s bill to upgrade TESDA into a cabinet department to help train or upskill some 50 million jobless Filipinos for the job opportunities of the 21st Century in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution or the advanced digital revolution which is disrupting labor markets.
Under the administration of Isidro Lapeña, a retired general, and deputy DG Lina Sarmiento, TESDA is being refashioned “to foster a stronger and more responsive Philippine technical vocational education and training (TVET).”
When the pandemic struck last year, Lapeña launched “TESDA Abot Lahat” to reach out to workers rendered jobless and useless by COVID-19.
Lapeña ordered every TESDA Regional and Provincial Office to assist frontline workers in hospitals, local government units, and checkpoints.
The agency produced and distributed more than 436,568 face masks, 40,932 face shields, 10,070 protective bodysuits, 1,205 goggles, and 12,850 liters of sanitizers and disinfectants to our uniformed personnel, healthcare professionals, barangay health workers, and other community frontliners.
On another front, TESDA aided the victims of natural disasters and calamities. After the Taal volcano eruption, 946 affected individuals received short-term skills training and 4,254 families from various evacuation centers were given relief packs.
In typhoon-hit areas, 4,142 individuals received 5,010 assorted food packs and 9,154 baked products from the agency. TESDA’s on-site feeding programs benefited 7,003 individuals and provided temporary shelters to several families.
Amid the pandemic, in coordination with the Department of Health-Health Human Resources Development Bureau (DOH-HHRDB), and in consultation with the practitioners and technical experts in the health industry, TESDA developed the Competency Standards (CS) on Contact Tracing Level II in July 2020.
The idea is to increase the manpower deployed by LGUs for contact tracing.
The TESDA chief directed the registration of more health-related qualifications. Eighty-five TESDA Technology Institutions registered a total of 194 health-related programs that the public can avail itself of.
To help OFWS displaced by COVID, TESDA intensified its reintegration program.
The agency extended scholarships and retooling seminars beginning May 2020. Returning OFWs were given easier access to scholarship programs through online registration via the TESDA Mobile App and website.
Some 99,711 OFWs and their dependents took TESDA’s online courses. Of that, 31,435 completed their online courses.
Outbound OFWs needed the agency’s competency assessment services to pursue their employment abroad for skills like domestic work, ship catering, caregiving and similar courses.
Despite the disruptions brought by the pandemic, the agency was able to implement TESDA’s regular scholarship programs, resulting in the enrollment of 753,714individuals; 683,383 graduates; 490,349 assessed; and 459,677 certified graduates. About 5,048 of the graduates are former OFWs.
Also, scholarships were given away for: Construction; Construction-related; Electrical and Electronics; Garments and Textiles; Land Transportation; and Health sector.
During the pandemic, more than a million Filipinos turned to the TESDA Online Program (TOP) to make the most of their time while experiencing mobility restriction. At the onset of the community quarantine in March 2020, TESDA recorded a significant increase in the number of TOP registrants and enrollees. Enrollment in 2020 rose ten-fold.
For its March-December 2020 online program, TESDA drew 1.238 million registrants, 1.348 million enrollees, and 697,652 who completed the courses.
TESDA is rolling out more provincial training centers outside Metro Manila.
Under the TESDA concept, “skill” is the acquired and practiced ability to carry out a task or job.
“Skills Development” is the process through which learners and workers are systematically provided with learning opportunities to acquire or upgrade, or both, their ability, knowledge and behavior pattern required as qualifications for a job or range of jobs in a given occupational area.
“Technical education” is a non-degree program aimed at preparing technicians, para-professionals and other categories of middle-level workers by providing them with a broad range of general education, theoretical, scientific and technological studies, and related job skills training.