Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

President of the Republic of the Philippines 2001 - 2010

CHAPTER 5:

ACTIVE PARTNERSHIPS IN EDUCATION

5.1. EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

5.1.1. Major Significant Contributions of Science Education Institute SY 2001 - 2010

5.1.1.1. ERDT and ASTHRD Scholarship Programs

The administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo strongly supported the human resource capacity building in science and technology by initiating and providing substantial funds for the massive production of high level manpower in science and technology (S&T) through MS and Ph.D. scholarships. This aspect on capacity building was much higher as compared to the previous administration. There are three major programs currently implemented by DOST, to wit: the Accelerated Science and Technology Human Resource Development Program (ASTHRDP); the Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT); and Capacity Building in Science and Mathematics Education (CB in SME) with the following objectives:.

  • To help improve the country's global competitiveness and capability to innovate through alternative approaches on HRD in S&T
  • To accelerate the production of high-level human resources needed for S&T activities particularly in the area of R&D
  • To improve the quality of science education in the country by producing and developing competent educators, policy makers, researchers, administrators and other educational personnel involved in science and mathematics education.

Tables 1 and 2 show the yearly distribution of DOST Graduate Scholars from 2007 to 2009.

Table 1. Number of ASTHRD MS and PhD Scholars(2007 to 2009)

Table 2. Number of ERDT MS and PhD Scholars(2007 to 2009)

One unique feature of the DOST scholarships is the opportunity given to undergraduate/graduate scholars with excellent academic performance to pursue a straight graduate program such as Straight BS – MS degree or MS – Ph.D program in science mathematics and engineering. There are other component programs of ERDT and ASTHRDP such as opportunity to conduct the research component of the scholars' thesis/dissertation in a recognized institution abroad under the supervision of a scientist, support for presentation of their research outputs in a local or international conference, etc.

5.1.2. Sustaining Undergraduate S&T Scholarships and Support to Disadvantaged Youth

Republic 7687, otherwise known as the "Scholarship Act of 1994," provides opportunities to poor but deserving graduating high school students to pursue careers in science and technology. From 2001 to 2009, the program supports an annual average of 8,300 scholars and has produced 15,662 graduates in the fields of science, mathematics and engineering. One significant contribution of the program to the recipients of the scholarship is improving the quality of life of the family of the scholar-graduate. It was during this period when the budget of P300M/year as indicated in the law was increased to P360M providing better scholarship package which is comparable to scholarships given by the industry and private foundations.

PGMA provided opportunities to the qualified members of the underserved cultural minority groups i.e., Muslims and indigenous peoples, to pursue careers in science and technology by granting undergraduate scholarships: the Project GREAT-M or the Grant for Educational Assistance on Technology and Science Teaching Courses in Mindanao and the BEST for IP or Bringing Education in Science and Technology for Indigenous People.

Table 4 shows the yearly distribution of scholars DOST-SEI Undergraduate Scholarships for the program.

5.1.3. Educational Software Development

To help address the challenges in Philippine science and math education, the SEI and ASTI, both attached agencies of the DOST have developed and implemented the first Interactive Science and Mathematics Courseware for Elementary-Level Schools. This courseware is aligned to the current curriculum, and serves as supplementary educational materials for teaching science and mathematics subjects. From 2004-2007, a total of 7,682 copies have been distributed free to the various public/private schools, individuals and offices. This can also be downloaded from SEI website free of charge which can be readily used by schools and individuals with computers. Continuing efforts are currently being done to develop courseware in English and Filipino with Integration of Mathematics Science Content both in elementary and secondary levels. It is important to note, that no other agency has started this endeavor except SEI during the GMA administration.

5.1.4. Specialized Training Programs

  • E-Training for Science and Mathematics Teachers
  • In 2006 and 2007, the project E-Training for Science and Mathematics Teachers has benefited a total of 415 and 401 teachers in 13 e-learning institutions nationwide. This training was designed to upgrade the competence of both public and private science and mathematics teachers in the elementary and secondary levels using modern and available electronic technology. The training program was designed to provide training opportunities for teachers who are not able to attend trainings where physical presence is required.

  • Training on Robotics Applications for Teaching High School Physics
  • In 2006, a total of 99 physics teachers participated in the Training on Robotics Applications for Teaching High School Physics program, while 7 and 18 students participated in Training Program on New Technologies and IT Applications: Embedded Systems and Robotics at the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) Diliman Campus. This training provided selected physics teachers and students with training on the use of computers and robots and how to integrate these in the physics curriculum.

  • Mindanao Opportunities for Vitalized Education Upgrading of Science (Project MOVE UPS)
  • Project MOVE UPS is a 3-year program (2008-2010) aims to strengthen the capabilities of sixty (60) identified elementary feeder schools of Philippine Science High School-Central Mindanao Campus. The project has the following components: Teachers' training; Principals management training; Science Camp; Library, Laboratory and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) support of the feeder schools; development of Aptitude Tests for mathematics and science; and development of project MOVE UPS manual and parents' and principals' handbook. To date a total of 240 science and mathematics teachers have been trained under this program.

  • 5.1.5. Science Education Network
  • One of the important strategies developed in the last three years (2007-2009) which is aimed at producing the number and quality needed for leadership in graduate education for science and mathematics is the formulation of the Visayas-Mindanao Science Education Consortium.

    The Visayas-Minadanao Science Education Consortium of teacher education universities was established by DOST-SEI in 2007 to allow for a common curricular framework in science and mathematics towards a masters-to-doctorate degree programs among the member universities consisting of West Visayas State University (WVSU) in Region VI, University of San Carlos (USC) in Region VII, Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) in Region IX and Mindanao State University-Marawi (MSU) in ARMM. Various innovations in program implementation are being done collaboratively among consortium member universities especially for DOS_SEI graduate scholarts who are deployed in their respective campuses. ASmong these innovations are: special lectures for graduates students in common designated venues, inviting foreign experts, local sandwich program arrangements and mobile campus scheme for graduate students in the consortium. The program and their corresponding activities are now in full swing and the consortium's first harvest of graduates is expected to be delivered in 2010.

5.2. EDUCATION AND CULTURE

Despite immense problems amidst the global economic downturn and environmental crisis, the Philippine government remains true to its commitment to improving access to the arts and culture, particularly for the Filipino youth in line with its decentralization effort & initiative of democratizing the right to culture under the leadership of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as wall as nourishing the collective memory of our people so vital in forging our identity, crystallizing strategies in response to future challenges, and helping us become a stronger nation.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, underscoring the importance of culture as a catalyst for values formation and human rights education, to promote a culture of peace, social justice, and sustainable development has ordered a separate full chapter on culture as an essential ingredient for poverty alleviation and fighting corruption as we forge our national identity with cultural diversity through a creative economics program. She has also issued a presidential proclamation designating 2005-2015 as the Decade for Good Governance and Good Citizenship to fight corruption and eradicate poverty.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stated:

"Culture not only reflects but molds moral standards. My vision is to mobilize culture to improve moral standards in society to provide a strong foundation for good governance and in the process win the fight against poverty and corruption."

The seven thrusts of the current Medium Term Philippine Development Plan for Culture and the Arts 2004-2010 (MTPDP-CA) continue to be the basis for the priority projects on culture since they respond to the national goal of human and economic development and contribute to the goal of reducing poverty, improving the relevance of education, and ensuring peace throughout the country, particularly in conflict-affected areas with special focus on Mindanao.

The NCCA created by Republic Act No. 7356 is the overall policymaking body, coordinating, and grants giving agency for the preservation, development and promotion of Philippine arts and culture. It is an executing agency for the policies it formulates, tasked with administering the National Endowment Fund for Culture and the Arts (NEFCA) -- fund exclusively for the implementation of culture and arts programs -- in line with the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan for Culture and the Arts.

The Governing Board of Commissioners, which include the six Cultural Agencies: (1) Cultural Center of the Philippines, (2) National Historical Commission, (3) National Archives of the Philippines, (4) National Museum, (5) the National Library, and, (6) Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (Commission on the Filipino Language); together with our legislative partners from the Senate and the House of Representatives (Chairpersons of the Senate and House Committee on Education, Culture and Arts), as well as the Department of Tourism and the Department of Education]; The four Sub-commissions, namely, the Arts, Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts, Cultural Dissemination, and Cultural Heritage, composed, in turn of a total of 19 National Committees with [almost 250] institutional and individual members throughout the county. The Secretariat provides services and coordinates the operationalization of the mandate of the Commission. Thus, the NCCA is responsible for culture and the arts in Philippines --- and, if not in name, NCCA, however, serves de facto Ministry of Culture.

The NCCA in partnership and collaboration between and among the private and the public sector maximizes the use of resources & expertise to fulfill its mission.

Education for All is the key to unlocking the gridlock of underdevelopment and winning the war against poverty. It is the President's commitment to our country's pledge to fulfill the UN MDGs. Accordingly, the Dep-Ed was designated by the President with oversight function on NCCA. The desire letter of the President to have the Dep-Ed Undersecretary as NCCA Chairman and PA for Culture as NCCA Executive Director affirmed by the board facilitated the bridging back of culture in education and fast-tracking education through culture as a vital vehicle for sustainable development.

Institutionalize culture in education, media and in good governance, specifically focusing on formation of patriotic values for moral reform, and to fight crime and corruption, poverty and pollution, drugs and depravity, ignorance and injustice, tyranny and terrorism;

The Philippine Cultural Educational Program

  • National Cultural Mapping Project (NCMP
  • The National Cultural Mapping Project produced database that would inform all cultural education program initiatives of the NCCA, including the development of curriculum and instructional materials. The data generated by the project would serve as the bases for the Cultural Index and the development of culture-oriented Minimum Learning Competencies for use in textbooks and culture-base resource materials for use in formal, non-formal, and informal education.

  • National Institutional Consortium
  • The consortium was conceived as a conduit mechanism for implementation of PCEP activities / projects in the formal education sector that provided with representatives of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), regional studies and research centers, and other region-based cultural institutions nationwide through CHED collaboration.

  • Climate Change Information and Education Assistance
  • In response to the global call for ecological awareness, the NCCA since 2005 under the stewardship of Executive Director Alvarez together with the artistic community. The Earthsavers and the UNESCO National Commission has been conducting workshops and various activities during the Earth Day Celebrations. Primarily for awareness and concerted efforts to battle "Climate Change" and come-up with comprehensive cultural communications action plan harness utilized artists in defense of the environment. In November 19-25 last year, the NCCA has been a partner of the Presidential Adviser and Task Force on Global Warming and Climate Change in observance of Climate Change Consciousness Week, now the new Climate Change Commission was assisted by NCCA and OPAC to hold a Media Summit to forge coordinated communications programs. The declaration in line with UNESCO's was submitted to the President. A mural on climate change was given on behalf of the President to Mr. Yvo de Boer by Secretary Heherson Alvarez and the painting is enshrined in the UNFCCC office in Bonn.

  • Concern on the Multi-Lingual Education
  • As regards our continued advocacy efforts particularly on the Multi-Lingual Education, the NCCA supports the proposal for the adoption of the mother tongue as the primary medium of learning starting from the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD). Exposure, immersion and practice in Filipino and English while learning the other subject areas in the mother tongue, will provide students sufficient oral language background on which to build literacy in these languages so that they may eventually use it as a tool for learning.

  • ASEAN AMCA-SOMCA-AFA and 1ST ASEAN Culture Capital
  • The Philippines is now considered a cultural gateway to ASEAN. The NCCA hosted the ASEAN-COCI meeting in July; while in October, the Commission conducted a high level ASEAN meeting on Intellectual Property Rights at the Indigenous Peoples gathering in Capiz; and the 36th Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programs. NCCA with ITI held an ASEAN Performance and Media Arts Workshop, and ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Media Content.

    The Philippines hosted the 4th ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Culture and the Arts (AMCA), AMCA + 3 Meeting, and the 6th Senior Officials Meeting for Culture and the Arts (SOMCA), SOMCA + 3 meetings in March of 2010. The NCCA successfully implemented the 4th ASEAN Festival of the Arts. The event was held in Pampanga where the Philippines was launched as the First ASEAN Culture Capital for 2010-2011. A multiplicity of cities/ provinces will be highlighted travelling through a cultural highway to cumulatively portray the panorama of our rich bio-cultural diversity, the creation of brilliant artists and master artisans linked to the dynamism of other cultures of ASEAN and dialogue partners to catalyze the kinship solidarity and regional identity of ASEAN.

5.3. EDUCATION AND LOCAL SCHOOLBOARDS

There has been a genuine improvement in building classrooms, with the support of the national budget, local government budgets, and private organizations. Similarly, the provision of sufficient teacher items has come both from the national DepEd budget and from (some) LGUs.

This has happened especially where there is an active and effective LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD, which focuses on the priority needs of the schools in the town or city (district or division).

Active and effective Local School Boards are thus an important enabler to achieve our goal of universal primary education and higher achievement in both elementary and high school.

On 15 January 2010, a forum on Education Reform through Effective Local School Boards was held at the Ateneo de Manila University. The convening of the said forum was a result of the PTFE Presentation to the President and the Cabinet last September 8, 2009, wherein a coordination with various Leagues of Mayors on how to further strengthen Local School Boards was set as an action point. The goals of the forum include: (1) To provide a venue for sharing best practices of Mayors and DepEd Superintendents or Supervisors in the reinvention of local school boards, (2) To develop the capability of mayors and other local government officials to contribute positively to school reform through effective local school boards, and (3) To identify necessary support processes and structures that can enable mayors and other local government officials to organize effective local school boards.

5.4. INDUSTRY-ACADEME LINKAGES

In the Main Education Highway, the end goal is to be able to prepare our students to compete for employment or entrepreneurship opportunities. The vocational/ technical education and higher education serve as the vehicles that will facilitate learning to enable the students to survive and succeed in our competitive world.

In his update to the PTFE on "Industry Moving Forward in Education", Amb. Donald G. Dee had stated that Industry-Academe Linkages had enabled cohesive and responsive programs to address demand-supply challenges of employment . Findings from previous studies conducted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) concluded that there is a mismatch between the demands of industry and the learned skills and competencies of college graduates. A separate update to the PTFE from Sec. Romulo Nery in 2008 showed that over 20% (about 100,000 out of the 500,000 annual graduates) of college graduates are unemployed. Ironically, there are growth industries that are experiencing difficulty in recruiting and hiring candidates due to inadequate skills. Also, many available jobs are technical-vocational: eg. welding, carpentry, masonry.

PTFE had taken initiatives to establish links and connections between post-secondary institutions and industry groups. The PTFE had recommended that the schools and universities review their course offerings and design their curriculum to support industry requirements. The Task Force also requested the private business sector to be more specific in identifying skills and competencies that are required for employment and improved productivity.

5.4.1. ORGANIZING THE PRIVATE SECTOR INDUSTRY GROUPS TO UNDERTAKE HUMAN RESOURCES PLANNING (Demand Side)

In 2008, nine industries, where there are growing opportunities for employment but where competency/ skills requirements did not quite meet job specifications, were identified and monitored by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) - Universal Access to Competitiveness and Trade (U-ACT) and the PTFE. Industry champions were assigned to meet with key industry players and analyze where the mismatch was occurring. The nine industries and the champions are:

The first two industries, Business Process Outsourcing and Construction, had well-organized associations and clear business directions. Much work had been done by industry and academe towards addressing the job-skill mismatch in the BPO and Construction industries in 2009-2010. The results of their work will be discussed later.

Although the Tourism and Hospitality Services industry forecast showed substantial growth, the detailed manpower plans were difficult to review at a national level. There are varied tourism and HRM associations across the country; and there was no single national association that could represent this industry sector. However, the training / education needs at the provincial and regional levels, particularly in the bigger resort locations are easily identifiable. TESDA is already implementing training courses to prepare the local folks in Davao and Bohol for potential employment. PCCI and its local chapters will replicate this initiative in other locations where there are clusters of tourism and HRM-related operations in 2010-11. The extensive work done by TESDA in training-for-work programs is recognized by the PTFE, but will not be discussed in detail in this report. This output is best discussed by TESDA itself.

The other six industry sectors are reviewing their business plans that will serve as basis for forecasting the human resources requirements and the competencies that are critical to the success of their industry. PCCI and U-ACT will link up with the academe sector when they have updated manpower demand forecasts.

5.4.2. THE BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING INDUSTRY

The fastest growing industry at present is Business Process Outsourcing. The BPO industry includes Call Center Operations, Backroom Office Operations, Medical Transcription, Software Development and 2D/3D Animation, among others. Of these, Call Center Operations (voice and non-voice services) has the biggest demand for human resources.

1. Job Generation

The main competency requirement for BPO jobs is proficiency in oral and written English. Unfortunately, most of the job applicants lacked English skills as evidenced by a very low hiring rate. In 2008, only 5 out of every 100 applicants passed the assessment tests and initial screening / interviews. Another 10 to 15 applicants were considered as "near hires". After undergoing one to two weeks of training in English, these "near hires" were given the opportunity to re-take the assessment tests and go through the screening process once more.

In 2009, the hiring rate improved to 8% for immediate hires and 19% for "near hires", mainly due to the initiatives taken by the BPO industry on recruitment and training, with the assistance of TESDA, BPA/P and the academe sector.

2. Initiatives to Improve Hiring Rates Short-term Initiatives

The need to fill positions in the BPO industry, the goal of government to improve employment rates, and the desire of universities and colleges to place their graduates in well-paying jobs, prompted a three-way partnership by the industry-academe-government sectors. Together, they crafted short training courses for near-hires and far-hires. These training courses usually run for one to two weeks, except for software development that takes 6-8 months to complete.

Training programs to improve spoken English skills were funded by the hiring companies in some cases. In other cases, the job applicants took the initiative to enroll in short English courses that will help them pass the qualifying exams. Some were recipients of the PGMA Training for Work Scholarships, later on renamed President Gloria Scholarship Program that was administered by TESDA and the Business Process Outsourcing Association of the Philippines (BPA/P).

The Pangulong Gloria Scholarships had continuously supported the BPO industry in the training of "near hires" for voice and non-voice occupations. TESDA's Finishing Course for Call Center Agents and training programs for animation, software development and medical transcription helped "near-hires" to sharpen their skills and improve their chances for employment. Employment yield rates for the BPO sectors are as follows: 70% for Contact Centers; 82% for Medical Transcription; 100% for Software and 100% Animation.

Since 2006, more than PhP 565 million has been provided to BPA/P, local government units and other accredited training institutions for the training of 139,707 workers. In 2008 alone, PhP 350 million was been allocated to the BPO industry through the BPA/P to assist the industry in their bid to become a world player in the outsourcing and offshoring (O&O) services. In 2009, an additional allocation of PhP190 million from the Pangulong Gloria Scholarship Program supported the industry that continued to grow despite the global economic crunch.

Medium Term Initiatives

The short-duration training initiatives bridge the demand-supply gap so the Philippines will be able to establish a credible human resources base. According to Atty. Jamesa Garcia, Talent Management Director of BPA/P, the supply and quality of talent will determine the growth of the BPO industry in the Philippines. But short-duration pre-employment training courses are expensive to maintain by both the employers and government. The industry needs a deeper supply of talents who can be immediately hired since they also possess skills in spoken and written English.

The immediate sources of talents are schools, colleges and universities. The schools, on the other hand, wanted to be more active in helping their graduates, and even their working students, find well-paying jobs. A partnership amongst BPA/P and the companies they represent, COCOPEA and PACU, and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) was formed.

The Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) and the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU) completed a pilot project with the Business Processing Association, Philippines (BPA/P) on Advanced English Proficiency Training (AdEPT). This program was later on renamed as Advanced English Pre-employment Program, retaining the acronym AdEPT to reflect its true intent.

"AdEPT is a language training course that has a track record of developing more than 60% of "near hires" into "employable status" in the contact center industry. It was developed 7 years ago to help address the low 5% passing rate of new graduates – with language as the main reason for not meeting recruiting standards."

The objective of the program was to dramatically raise the level of English proficiency of college graduates, leading to increased employment levels in contact centers and other O&O sectors. The program leveraged on existing assessment and training modules used by BPA/P member firms and/or COCOPEA member schools.

The pilot program was launched during the 2nd semester of school year 2007-2008 involving 5 pilot partnerships (school + contact center). The participating schools were UE, JRU, Emilio Aguinaldo College, PWU and DLSU Dasmariñas. The participating contact centers were ICT, ePLDT, eTelecare, Convergys and Teletech. The ADEPT class was offered as a free-elective to graduating students.

Based on the assessment of the pilot program by BPA/P and the participating schools and contact centers, a full-scale program, including the items below, was prepared

  • Finalization of the design of the student evaluation tool to determine what level he/she is in English proficiency.
  • Finalization of the courseware (curriculum and modules) for the ADEPT
  • Finalization of the first batch of schools that will implement the ADEPT program.
  • Identification / assessment of teachers who will handle the ADEPT program in participating schools.
  • Teacher training on content, process and learning methodologies
  • Marketing and promotions program for attracting students to the program

The APC Center of Asia Pacific College shared their assessment tools with BPA/P and participating schools and companies. They also conducted several pilot training programs on teaching and assessment methods in 2008-09, together with BPA/P.

CHED recognizes the importance of the ADEPT program, and had supported its implementation. According to then Chairman Romulo Nery, higher educational institutions have the prerogative to adopt the program within their existing approved curricula. The present CHED Chairman, Dr. Emmanuel Angeles, also fully supported its implementation and conducted awareness campaigns in the various regional offices.

According to BPA/P, there are 26 Partner Schools, 15 Partner BPOs and 7 Partner Training Institutions, as of 2009. The challenge for academe and industry is scaling up and marketing this program to schools and students to ensure that there will be enough supply of qualified employees to meet their target of one million jobs by 2010.

PARTNER SCHOOLS: MANILA

1. Jose Rizal University

2. Emilio Aguinaldo College-Manila

3. Aguinaldo International School

4. Centro Escolar University-Manila

5. Lyceum of the Phils. University

6. Philippine Women's University

7. University of the East-Manila

8. Far Eastern University-Manila

9. Far Eastern University-FERN

10. Far Eastern University - East Asia College

11. National University

12. ICCT Colleges

13. Liceo de San Jacinto

14. Nova Computer College

15. Adamson University

16. STI

17. Central Colleges of the Phils.

MAKATI:

8. University of Makati

PASIG

19. Pasig Catholic College

CALOOCAN:

20. University of the East

MALOLOS:

21. Centro Escolar University

LAGUNA:

CAVITE:

23. Emilio Aguinaldo College

PAMPANGA:

24. University of the Assumption

DAGUPAN:

25. Lyceum-Northwestern

TUGUEGARAO:

26. St. Paul Tuguegarao

27. St. Michael's College

Other BPO Competencies and Skills

Aside from English proficiency skills, COCOPEA is presently discussing interventions to develop the students' skills in communication, critical thinking and initiative-taking. They are working with the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP) on a program design that can be adopted by colleges and universities, and that can be integrated in their existing curricula for first and second year college students. This will increase the competitiveness of graduates in the domestic and international job market. These additional human resources skills will also enhance our country'ies attractiveness as a site for higher level BPO services, e.g. financial analysis, investment analysis and legal research among others.

Management and Leadership Competencies

The phenomenal headcount growth in the BPO sector requires a proportional increase in supervisory and management level positions. Aside from the skills mentioned above – communication, critical thinking and initiative-taking, leadership and management skills are important in an industry whose primary resource are people. Modular programs were designed to increase the number of capable middle managers in the BPO industry.

The Ateneo and DLSU Diploma Course in Business Process Outsourcing are a 16 day management development program designed for middle managers and can be credited as a 6 unit MBA elective.

BPAP also started a leadership development program for managers with Harvard Business Publishing in 2009. This is a competency based curriculum using HBP content. Facilitation of the cases and modules is conducted by Harvard Business School accredited facilitators and industry experts.

5.4.2. THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

The Construction Sector is one of the biggest job generators in the country today. This sector is also well organized. Industry leaders had collaborated with the educational sector in the past, both for short-term training programs and for developing the curricula of Engineering courses. They had done industry studies and researched on competency gaps in 2008-09 with the help of the International Labor Organization.

1. Engineering-related Technical-Vocational Training Programs

Many available jobs in this sector are technical-vocational. The training of skilled workers for the construction industry is supported heavily through the Pangulong Gloria Scholarships.

For the period 2006 to 2008, a total of 50,863 workers have been trained in heavy equipment operation, carpentry, plumbing, welding, and other related trades. TESDA has also implemented the Enterprise-based Group Training Scheme under PGS. Its industry partners are:

  • DM Consunji, Inc.,
  • FF Cruz, Inc.,
  • Monark Foundation Inc.,
  • Construction Manpower Development Foundation and
  • Association of Construction Equipment Lessors, Inc., among others.

The tech-voc positions identified by the construction sector are company-specific and region-specific. These companies have identified Human Resources requirements based on projects and contracts. Their training needs are very focused; and they prefer to source employees from the locality where their projects are based. These companies had developed and implemented skills development programs with the support of TESDA. The industry's work with TESDA will continue for technical training and related programs; but their greatest concern today is the seeming unpreparedness of fresh Engineering graduates to accomplish tasks expected of new entrants to their workforce.

2. Competency Gaps

The Presidential Task Force on Education together with PCCI-UACT met with construction industry leaders to determine the critical positions where there are observed job-person mismatch.

A technical working group chaired by Mr. Eric Cruz of FF Cruz, Inc. identified entry level positions in civil, mechanical and electrical engineering as having the biggest competency gaps. They also identified competency expectations for engineers who have working experience of two years and above. Their research was premised on what they need today to remain competitive locally and internationally. They also benchmarked with competencies displayed by engineers from other countries, taking into consideration the Bologna Accord and the Washington Accord.

There were three sub-groups that meticulously identified the competency requirements for engineering jobs. The output is a detailed matrix of skills and competency requirements for entry-level cadet engineers, junior engineers with at least two years experience and senior engineers with at least four years experience. The requirements may be translated to curriculum improvements for the engineering undergraduate courses, as well as for graduate and continuing studies.

The detailed competency requirements were discussed with PTFE and some universities, CHED and the chairpersons of CHED's technical panels for engineering last April 30, 2010. It was agreed that the industry sector experts and the CHED technical panels will meet to discuss the competency requirements in depth. The technical panels will also use this as reference as they revisit the revised curriculum. CHED Chairman Dr. Angeles advised the panels to consider the Open Border agreement within ASEAN by 2015 where mutual recognition of degrees / professionals (engineering included) will take effect.

3. On-the-job training (OJT)

In the April 30 meeting, the OJT program was also discussed. This is the best venue for ensuring that communication between the industry and the academe sectors does happen. The OJT programs of the University of the East, MAPUA and APC were discussed as possible approaches for industry-academe partnerships.

The construction technical working group and the university belt universities will schedule a meeting to discuss possible initiatives for partnering. It is important that the OJT program will develop specific skills that are not classroom based. Mr. Cruz requested Dr. Garcia and other universities to provide an OJT syllabus to participating companies so there can be focus on tasks/activities assigned to student trainees. The framework and details of partnering in the implementation of the OJT program will be discussed in subsequent meetings. Mr. Eric Cruz and Dr. Ester Garcia will take the lead for the construction sector and the academe sector, respectively. These two groups will also tackle the question on the number of hours needed for OJT to be a viable learning experience for the students.

4. Some Recommendations from the Construction Industry Technical Working Group

Improvement of the Quality of High School Graduates and Curriculum.

The TWG believes that one of the major obstacles to achieving the full potential of engineering students is the lack of mastery of key subjects (Science, Math and English) taken up in their high school education. The five years allotted for engineering deems insufficient because the first two years becomes a refresher program where subjects that should have been taught in high school are again repeated. The TWG believes that addressing this gap will contribute largely to the improvement of the quality of engineering students and programme in the country. (Capability expectations)

4.1 Ladderized Programme for Engineering

The TWG believes that a ladderized programme for engineering should be developed taking into high consideration the design of certification or competency-based programmes specific to the attainment of specialized field or skill relevant to the needs of the construction industry. Furthermore, a ladderized programme will allow the entry of individuals from vocational or associate programmes into the workforce as apprentice and later be provided with a platform to pursue higher education either in engineering or a specialized field of engineering. Such approach opens many options and opportunities both at the side of the industry and students to pursue related fields and competencies in engineering and construction.

4.2 Training Programmes (OJT)

The TWG proposes the harmonization of OJT programmes to match industry requirements relative to:

  • appropriate training and exposure to various industry activities and fields;
  • scheduling of projects where trainees can be properly designated to provide support; and,
  • collaboration/ partnership with universities to undertake manpower requisition for pool of OJTs as well as achievement of specific learning, skills and competencies after the on-the-job training.

Additionally, the TWG recommends the increase of OJT hours to a standard 480 hours with the appropriation of a uniform OJT programme across all engineering schools and universities.

4.3. Tax Credit/ Incentives for Companies participating in OJT Programmes

The TWG deems it appropriate to a lobby for the provision of tax credits/ incentives for companies providing a standard rate of at least 75% of the minimum wage with appropriate benefits and allowances to their trainees. Using the BOI model of as a policy framework of Performance-based incentives, such as investment tax allowance, double deduction on training expenses, and double deduction on research and development, the TWG believes that such proposal will have an immediate positive effect to the performance of the trainees as well as provide assistance to students with meager resources to pursue their education. The said proposal can be enforced through a reporting mechanism by companies availing of the incentives at any given tax calendar.

4.4. Lending Window for Teacher Training through SSS or GSIS

The TWG proposes the opening of a lending window providing assistance to teachers and faculty members to obtain their masters or other certifications that will harness their mastery in the engineering field. This mechanism can be undertaken through the Social Security System or Government Social Insurance System where educational loans will be made available under low-interest, staggered payment set-up.

4.5 Continuing Learning Programmes

The TWG proposes the design of appropriate continuing learning programmes (i.e. "Advanced Course in Construction Management" or "MBA Programme" focused on Construction Management) by the academe to serve as additional competency reference for professionals who have attained some adequate years and expertise in the engineering practice. The TWG believes that providing platforms for specializations in the engineering field will improve the quality of the workforce at the same time enhance the value added and viability of the individuals in the profession.

4.6. Engineering Centres of Excellence

The TWG proposes the identification of "Engineering Centres of Excellence" which will be used a pilot colleges or universities that the industry can develop linkages with, in relation to:

  • curriculum development, implementation, monitoring and feedback;
  • dispatch of industry experts to work with the academe;
  • faculty training, immersion and exposure to industry;
  • On-the-Job Training; and,
  • Technology and infrastructure improvements and investments.

4.7. Review of the Construction Manpower Development Foundation (CMDF) Program

The TWG proposes for the government to revisit and improve the facility of Construction Manpower Development Foundation (CMDF) to make it as the centre laboratory of engineering firms for further enhancement of the human resource of the construction engineering industry.

The work of the Construction Industry, Academe and CHED had just begun. It is hoped that the initiatives of the construction industry, the schools and universities with Engineering courses and the Commission on Higher Education will continue to develop into a working model for continuing partnering. It is also hoped that all their efforts will enhance the competitiveness of our construction industry, the competencies of our engineering professionals, both in the local and international markets.

5.5. PROFESSIONAL REGULATION COMMISSION (2001-2009)

On December 20, 2000, the PRC Modernization Act (Republic Act No. 8981) re-defined the directions of the PRC as a government agency tasked to promote the sustained development of a corps of competent Filipino professionals. In 2006, the PRC was transferred under the administrative supervision and control of the Department of Labor and Employment from the office of the President.

The Professional Regulation Commission has one of the most compelling and encompassing roles in the national government. Its mandate impacts the lives of millions of Filipinos. It supervises 46 Professional Regulatory Boards (PRBs) - including the new Boards of Real Estate Brokers, Psychology and Respiratory Therapy - which regulate the professions and accredit the professional organizations representing the professionals. The PRBs regulate the practice of more than 2.8 million registered Filipino professionals. Through the portals of PRC pass hundreds of thousands of aspiring professionals who take licensure examinations every year.

In 2009, the PRC adopted a new mission, vision and core values considering the quality assurance concerns of the education sector. This year 2010, marked a significant opportunity for PRC to reach new heights in government service in the following areas:

5.5.1. LICENSURE EXAMINATIONS

Sensitive to the welfare of overseas Filipino Workers, the PRC conducted special examinations for teachers, nurses and midwives in Hong Kong; accountancy; architecture; civil, electronics, electrical and mechanical engineers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Doha Quatar and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in compliance to Executive Order No. 835 dated 6 October 2009 for the yearly conduct of examinations in the Middle East.

Through policy implementation, the PRC instituted reforms and stricter controls to secure the integrity of the 72 licensure examinations conducted in a year. During every examination the concerned Boards and the law enforcement support are quarantined. Results are released in a matter of three days except for the big examinations.

In this era, the Commission accomplished its goals and programs for the successful conduct of various examinations, including the big examinations for nurses and professional teachers, the launching of Walk-in Examinations Systems in Cebu, Iloilo, and Davao. The Lloyd's List commended the PRC for its efforts in upgrading the competency of Filipino seafarers and pledged its support to our efforts.

5.5.2. REGULATION AND GOOD GOVERNANCE

  • To improve the quality of Professionals for global competitiveness, the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) is reinstituted.
  • In coordination with CHED, Ocular Inspection of HEIs, is re-enforced bringing 307 schools and 1,062 accredited firms and establishments under guard.
  • Nurses Assigned to Rural Service (NARS) program in coordination with DOLE & DOH was implemented and the first orientation was conducted on March 25, 2009 in Cagayan Province.
  • In June 2002, the Commission adapted the Good Governance Code of Ethical Standards for PRC Officials and Employees, and in 2003, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Executive Order No. 220 which provides for the Code of Good Governance for the Professions.

5.5.3. NETWORKING

  • The commission signed a Memorandum of Agreement with CHED regarding joint ocular inspection of PRBs and Technical Committee of CHED to schools and institutional establishments.
  • In January 26, 2009, the Commission and CHED also signed MOA-01-2009 regarding funding of ESTF for the monitoring of schools performances in various licensure examinations.
  • As a result of networking, the Commission had more coordinated effort against syndicates and fixers victimizing professionals and examinees. More professionals are updating their professional IDs, flushing out the fate professionals. Quality education is assured with schools recruiting only duly-licensed professional teachers.
  • The networking initiatives of the Commission also boosted its collection. Cumulative collections for the full year of 2003 came in at P471 million, which is 18% higher than target.

5.5.4. GLOBALIZATION

  • Starting 2001, the Commission saw a renewed and strengthened participation on its international affairs in line with the country's commitment under GATS (WTO), ASEAN (AFAS), APEC and other international regional arrangements.
  • Along this line, the Commission was active in the consultation, negotiation, local and abroad ultimately leading to the signing of 7 ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) to wit:
  • ASEAN MRA on Engineering Services
  • ASEAN MRA on Architectural Services
  • ASEAN MRA on Nursing Services
  • ASEAN MRA on Dental Practitioners
  • ASEAN MRA on Medial Practitioners
  • ASEAN MRA Framework on Accountancy Services
  • ASEAN Framework Arrangement for the MRA of Surveying Qualifications

CUMULATIVE NUMBER OF REGISTERED PROFESSIONALS

Summing it Up

The Education President H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's Legacy to the Filipino People…

"The State of Education in the Philippines is steadily getting stronger than ever through the Philippine Main Education Highway" - A strategic systemic framework for reforms and implementation…

From EDCOM TO PCER and finally to the PTFE that provided the ground works for a harmonized and seamless educational development under a trifocalized educational system and strengthening industry-academe linkages thus promoting a more unified, effective and efficient management of resources and opportunities to ensure that every Filipino child has an increased access to an improved quality of education and develop the needed skills for the 21st Century and make him or her globally competitive and at par with the rest of the countries in the Asia Pacific Region.