Juanito Cueva, regional director of the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA), said they are set to link up with various public high schools in the region to help strengthen the ongoing integration of various technical, vocational and other non-formal courses in the Department of Education's (DepEd) secondary curriculum.
He said they will launch a training program for technical and vocational instructors of public high schools in the region that have adopted DepEd's Enriched Technology and Livelihood Education (TLE) Program.
The program, a component of DepEd's Career Pathways in Enriched TLE Program for General High Schools, was introduced this school year in 100 pilot schools nationwide.
"We will complement this program by enhancing the capacity of DepEd's trainers or instructors on the system of teaching technical courses that is very much different from the formal system that they have," Cueva said.
He said his office will initially forge a memorandum of agreement with public high schools that would be covered by the training program.
According to a briefer on the Enriched TLE Program, public high school students would be given the option to take up specialized technical, vocational and entrepreneurial courses starting from their freshman year and up to their fourth year.
Upon graduation, the students who would complete the four-year specialized technical and vocational courses will be eligible to seek trade certifications from TESDA based on their specialization.
The courses covered by the program are electronics, information and communication technology, automotive technology, civil technology, drafting technology, electrical technology, handicrafts, metal works, refrigeration and airconditioning, agriculture and fishery technology, clothing and textiles, health care and support services, beauty care, foods and food services and home management business.
Cueva said they consider the offering of the Enriched TLE Program in public high schools as a breakthrough as it would eventually encourage more high school graduates to pursue technical and vocational courses instead of the four-year college degrees.
Citing an employment survey conducted by their agency, jobs that require highly-skilled workers have been on an uptrend while those that need professionals or college degree holders are slowly diminishing.
For the next four years, Cueva said an estimated three million jobs that require technical and vocational skills will be available in the country and around the same number abroad.
He said these job openings would be mainly available in the country's growing cyberservices industry, especially in the field of software development, animation, medical transcription and call centers. For jobs abroad, Cueva said Australia has been continually hiring butchers and farm workers while several countries in Europe are seeking various skilled workers for their services and industrial sectors.
"But the problem is, we may not be able to fill up those openings because we continue to produce more professionals but not the skilled workers while our schools continue to offer courses that does not cater to the needs of the employment market," he said.
Cueva said they're hoping to eventually solve such problem through DepEd's Enriched TLE Program.
"This is a good start. Later on, we can explore some opportunities to jointly pursue that would help sustain and expand the program," he added. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)