Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary Isidro Lapeña on Wednesday said he hopes the next administration would consider a continued innovation in the agency.
“There are improvements and innovations in TESDA that we have started pursuing. These may be considered by the next administration,” Lapeña told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.
Recent innovations he cited are the Biometric-Enabled Scholarship Registration System (BSRS), and the digitization of TESDA national certificates.
Automation prevents errors and manipulation in scholarship implementation. TESDA also started improving its assessment and certification system by digitizing national certificates. Issuing electronic certificates is being pilot tested in select TESDA Technology Institutions in the National Capital Region since August 2021.
He added, “Recognizing that TVET (technical-vocational education and training) is essential for sustainable economic development, employment, TESDA should be given a strong mandate that will put it on equal footing with other education agencies.”
Lapeña suggests that TESDA be converted into a Department, so that more can be done in terms of program continuity. This will also strengthen its implementing, regulatory, and policy-making functions, he said.
Among the challenges that TESDA had to deal with are ensuring equitable allocation of scholarships despite the limited funds; and the need to ascertain which sectors and regions should be prioritized in scholarship slots distribution.
“We also need to determine which private and public institutions will receive these slots, based on their absorptive capacity and resources. We need to ensure that these scholarship slots are distributed to our countrymen,” he added.
Noted how TVET constantly changes, Lapeña said TESDA should continue upgrading its programs and services to be able to keep up and produce graduates with the right competencies.
As the TESDA chief, Lapeña cited five of what he considers as the agency’s major accomplishments under his leadership.
* Establishment of 63 provincial/district training centers.
The country now has a total of 183 specialized training centers and TESDA-administered schools. Amid the pandemic, these centers were still to make tech-voc accessible to the public via blended learning.
At the start of the pandemic, TESDA was also quick to respond and augment the supply of face masks by donating to front-liners and communities the face masks sewn by the trainees.
* Modernization of facilities and establishment of Regional TVET Innovation Centers (RTIC) to provide a venue for innovations and entrepreneurial learning.
Three RTIC were established in Regions VII, VIII and IX. RTICS will soon be established in Regions I, II, III, XI and the National Capital Region. Lapeña said these RTIC are equipped with supplies and materials suited for the fourth industrial revolution.
* Nationwide rollout of the BSRS to make it easier for TESDA to monitor its programs in real-time.
“This system aims to improve the integrity in the implementation of scholarship programs. Trainers and scholars could monitor and register in their classes through a platform,” he said.
* having served 802 priority barangays mostly located in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA)
He cited Project TALA (TESDA Alay ay Liwanag at Asenso) in Region XII as among the noteworthy intervention the agency has provided in GIDA. Through TALA, training on photovoltaic system installation, bulbs and solar panels were given for the benefit of indigenous people in Sitio Blit, South Cotabato.
* TESDA being among the most trusted government agencies according to Publicus Asia’s Pahayag survey since 2021
In Pahayag’s 2022 first quarter survey, TESDA had a 49.9-percent trust rating and 65.8-percent approval rating.
Meanwhile, Lapeña said he wishes every TESDA enrollee to be successful in their chosen skills. “We hope that you will be able to help the communities using that skills you acquired from your training,” he said. (PNA)