New education scheme eyed to curb unemployment

But it could challenge the country's traditional education system, officials from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said Friday as they presented the "ladderized education" to reporters.


Ladderized education offers easier transition from skills-based technical and vocational courses to higher education courses with colleges and universities accrediting subjects and competencies earned by a student from tech-vocational education.


At present, students who finished technical-vocational courses and who wish to pursue a college degree have to re-enroll the subjects they already earned from TESDA-accredited schools.


Dr. Gaspar Gayona, TESDA regional director for Southeastern Mindanao, said that graduates of the shorter technical and vocational courses could earn a competency certificate after passing an assessment test. He said they could work on positions that require the certificate and some degree of experience.


This would be an alternative path that students, handicapped by money, could pursue their college degrees, by getting any vocational and technical courses and landing on a job that CHED and TESDA said abound locally for skilled workers.


Dr. Reynaldo T. Peña, CHED regional director for Southeastern Mindanao, said the country needs more skilled workers rather than college degree holders, citing increasing number of college-degree holders who could not find jobs or applying for jobs even non-degree holders could do.


Gayona said as many as 65 percent of graduates of technical-vocational schools land in appropriate jobs.


He said in the scheme students do away with the stigma of being a "drop-out" and have better chances of landing in a job and earn a living in preparation for a college degree. Gayona said that as students earn, they can save and return to a higher level of schooling, then go back to work again after earning another competency. "In this way, students could study and work on their own phase," he said.


Gayona noted, however, that students could finish a four-year course in seven years with the ladderized program.

The scheme, however, would not apply to all educational institutions saying TESDA and CHED needs to accredit academic and vocational programs of schools, colleges and universities.


In Southeastern Mindanao, Gayona said, three schools have been accredited and currently offer a total of 13 registered programs starting this school year.


The programs include automotive servicing, machining, building wiring installation, refrigeration and air-conditioning servicing, welding, personal computer operations, programming, commercial cooking, housekeeping services, front office services, food and beverages, bartending services, and baking and pastry production.  


TESDA also announced that there are scholarships available to students who belong to the top 10 enrollees in each programs.