Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

President of the Republic of the Philippines 2001 - 2010

CHAPTER 3: TECHNICAL-VOCATIONAL EDUCATION

3.1. Technical Education and Skills Development under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's Administration

The Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has undergone major transformation since the creation of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in 1994 through the passage of RA 7796 "The TESDA Act of 1994". With a clear mandate to ensure the provision of relevant, efficient, accessible and high quality technical vocational education and training opportunities for the Filipinos to meet the skills requirements for economic and social development, today, TVET is recognized as a major strategic option in the country's overall human resources development strategy because it is rapid, flexible, jobs-oriented, competency-based and can easily lead people to jobs. This has become more pronounced under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who has given full support to technical-vocational education and training, particularly in terms of funding, and has placed it squarely in the government's development agenda.

The government's sustained efforts in improving the quality and relevance of TVET, through TESDA, as well as expanding access and equity is in recognition of the indispensability of human capital formation and skills acquisition in improving the competitiveness and productivity of the economy. In the new economy, it would be human resources armed with knowledge and skills, increasingly being driven by technology, which will determine a country's competitiveness in the global arena.

The continuing pressure on the technical vocational education and training sector to develop skills more efficiently in the face of globalization, the fast pace of technology change and the need to effectively address the issue of jobs and skills mismatch calls for a TVET system that can address these concerns.

With employment as the metrics of TVET performance, the paradigm of SEEK – FIND – TRAIN – CERTIFY – EMPLOY fully illustrates the order of business in the sector. As the mandated government agency for TVET, TESDA seeks the jobs, finds the people that can fill-up the jobs and train them based on the standards of industry, assess and certify the workers as evidence of competence and qualification of the jobs, and facilitate the employment of the qualified graduate to the jobs available.

3.2. Development and Gains

3.2.1. Improved Budget Allocation and Employment Generation Technical-Vocational Education

Over the years, TVET's share in the education sector remains low at an average of 2% of the total education budget. The total budget for TVET for the past nine (9) years has been fluctuating from PhP 1.9 billion in 2001 to PhP 3.48 billion in 2009.

However, funding for technical vocational education and training through TESDA increased tremendously from 2006 to 2009 with the infusion by the President of additional funding for the PGMA Training for Work Scholarship Project (PGMA-TWSP), called the Pangulong Gloria Scholarships (PGS). The PGS is a financing scheme to fund technical vocational education and training (TVET) directly linked towards specific job demands. Launched in May 2006, with PhP 0.55 billion, PhP 0.51 billion in 2007, PhP 1.35 billion in 2008 and PhP 5.66 billion in 2009 or a total of PhP 8.07 billion for 2006-2009 period. The provision of additional funding to TVET increased the capacity of the sector to meet the critical skills requirements of industry. The President's unequivocal support to the sector has created significant impact on the accessibility, relevance and quality of TVET in the country.

Moreover, the TESDA initiative known as Invigorating Constituents Assistance in Reinforcing Employment (I-CARE) was able to generate funds from the allocation of Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) of legislators (Senators and Congressmen) and the local government units. More than PhP897 million were sourced out from PDAF for the last five (5) years that help boost the implementation of technical vocational education and training (TVET) at the local levels. The I-CARE is an innovative counter parting scheme in TVET whereby for every peso allocated from PDAF draw equivalent allocation form TESDA funds.

Adequate and sustainable funding for TVET has always been a critical concern because TVET, to be of high quality is expensive due to the high cost of training equipment and supplies and materials.

TESDA Budget by Source ('000): 2005-2009

3.2.2. Improved access and equity to TVET opportunities

In line with the President's development agenda of equipping the Filipinos with skills, TESDA has been providing TVET qualifications to the labor force as credentials of productivity and employability.

With increased funding for the sector, the TVET system was able to provide for increased wages and/or self-employment for TVET graduates, and produced strengthened TVET capacity to provide market-responsive, modular & relevant tech voc education and training.

3.2.3. Massive Training for Employability

Within a 9-year time frame, access to TVET has been on the rise, reaching 1.9 million graduates in FY 2009 from only 567,930 in 2001 representing more than 200% increase over the 9-year period. These TVET outputs are delivered through various delivery modes such as school-based, center-based, enterprise-based and community-based. Disaggregated by TVET training delivery mode, the composition of the 9-year average annual output showed that community-based training initiated by TESDA's TVET partners constitute 55 percent of national output, with 5 percent coming from enterprise-based training and 39 percent from institution-based TVET programs (schools/ centers) registered with TESDA.

These TVET graduates totaling 11,455,333 over the nine-year period are equipped with the necessary skills and competencies that can make them employable and productive.

3.2.4. Increased PGMA Scholarship Grants and Other Student Assistance Programs

To strengthen equity and access to quality TVET, TESDA as directed by the President implemented various scholarships and other student assistance programs to provide direct financial assistance to deserving TVET beneficiaries across the country.

These programs directed the choices of careers to the critical skills requirements of in-demand jobs in the labor market. The program also allows for equity through a socialized distribution of the opportunities made available though government subsidies.

3.2.4.1. Pangulong Gloria Scholarship

One of the most significant achievements of TVET in the Philippines is the Pangulong Gloria Scholarships (PGS), formerly known as the President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Training for Work Scholarship Project (PGMA-TWSP). This program is a response of the President to the clamor of industry to address the critical skills shortages in priority sectors, particularly the Business Process Outsourcing, metals and engineering, construction and tourism, among others.

The PGS is a financing scheme to fund technical vocational education and training (TVET) directly linked towards specific job demands. Launched in May 2006, a total of PhP 8.07 billion has been provided for PGS for the 2006-2009 period to address the country's critical skills requirements and to direct TVET provision to areas where jobs are available. This increased TVET funding allocation widened opportunities for employment of the graduates and produced additional skilled workforce.

PGS Budget and Beneficiaries

In particular, the PGS seeks to address not only the mismatch between the skills requirement of available jobs and the skills of job seekers but also the geographical mismatch between location of job openings and job seekers. It provides for free job directed training program to poor but deserving Filipinos and as such, it enhances their employability in hard-to-fill and in-demand skills in emerging industries like the business process outsourcing industry (call centers, medical and legal transcription, animation, software development), health care and the like.

The implementation of the PGS program is being done in partnership with private sector organizations like the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP), other industry partners and various training institutions. The scholarship program includes training fees, training support fund for trainees, income support fund for displaced workers and free competency assessment and certification.

The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector is one of the major recipients of the PGS since 2006. In 2008 alone, as directed by the President, a total of PhP 350 million has been allocated to BPO through the BPAP. Another PhP 180 million was given in 2009 to the association, including its member organizations like the Medical Transcription Industry Association of the Philippines (MTIAPI), Animation Council of the Philippines (ACPI) and Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA).

There is high employment rate in the BPO sector, particularly by the companies that also registered as training institutions. On the average, 65.6% of the graduates get employed immediately after training. The performance for the BPO sector under BPAP - PGS is illustrated in the following table.

Since its initial implementation in 2006, around 1 million scholarship slots have been awarded in various TVET qualifications with available jobs in industries.

To address the social dimension of TVET as an intervention, the PGS provided training support fund (TSF) of PhP60 per day in 2009. The TSF is a critical component of the PGS to ensure that the scholars are provided the allowance for transportation or at least a meal for the day. This assures classroom attendance resulting to 100% survival rate.

In the light of the global financial crisis in 2008, the PGS has also been instrumental in the training and retraining of displaced workers, both locally and overseas. For displaced workers affected by the global financial crisis, the PGS provided free training and Income Support Fund (ISF) equivalent to half of the minimum wage per day, instead of the TSF which is of lower amount. The ISF is also given to the displaced workers on a daily basis while they are attending the training programs.

The PGS harnessed the expertise of the private sector institutions/ organizations. Aside from procuring training seats from training providers, the PGS also adopted the Enterprise-Based training modality. This is provided through partnership agreements with industry/sectoral associations/ groups/ bodies to provide pre-employment to new workers and upgrading and re-tooling to existing workers to increase their productivity. Training is provided within the enterprises that have training facilities and/or in the training institution/arm of the industry which partnered with TESDA. Among the partner institutions/ organizations in implementing the PGS include: TUCP, PAFI, MFI, ACEL, PIHA, PICA, FAME, Spa Association, TRACE College, PSPE and PAGCOR. Sectors/ qualifications covered are construction (welding and heavy equipment operation), ICT, health and wellness, hair and beauty culture, HRM, massage therapy and even card dealing.

This enterprise-based modality netted 31,506 graduates with a budget allocation of PhP242.15 million.

The Pangulong Gloria Scholarships not only cover direct training intervention to the workers/students but also include support services that will enhance the employability of the graduates and support the development of the TVET sector. Foremost of this intervention is the provision of language proficiency training through the TESDA Language Skills Institute (LSI). This is a program on workplace language training and culture to provide the graduates with the ability to communicate with the employers, co-workers and the communities in their destination countries and enhance their employment chances. The workplace language training and culture programs currently being offered in the network of 35 TESDA Language Skills Institutes (LSIs) include Arabic, Nihongo, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and English. Additional foreign language training shall be offered as needed.

3.2.4.2. Private Education and Student Financial Assistance (PESFA) and other TVET Scholarship Programs

PESFA is supportive of equity and access in private TVET provision. TESDA since 1997, implements PESFA. Scholarship slots are distributed equitably to the 212 congressional districts in the country based on the number of high school graduates of the prior year and the provincial poverty index. In addition to passing an aptitude test administered by TESDA, the scholars are pre-qualified on the basis of their family income and average grade in high school. PESFA has an annual budget allocation of PhP 200 million and produces an average of about 15,000 graduates yearly.

Using the same selection criteria as the PESFA program, the TESDA-ADB-TESDP Scholarship program was offered to cater to the needs of trainees in both public and private institutions. It was funded under the grant from the Asian Development Bank. It was able to provide assistance to 21,239 graduates for ADB-TESDP scholarship and 3,200 Jobs-Directed scholarships from 2003 until the project completion in June 2007.

3.3 Ladderized Education Program (LEP) – Institutionalizing the Interface between Between TVET and Higher Education

During the incumbency of President Arroyo, students who, by choice or circumstance, do not immediately go to college but instead finish a shorter term technical or vocational course and get their job before deciding to return to university, are given opportunities to pursue higher education. With ladderized education, students who make that choice may be able to obtain a college degree later and have most of previous vocational courses given the equivalent credits.

The ladderized education program opened pathways of opportunities for career progression to students and even workers. The LEP allows students to progress between Technical - Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and College, and vice versa. This is embodied in Executive Order 358 promulgated by the President on September 15, 2004, providing the mandate and legal framework for wider scale and accelerated implementation of Ladderized Education nationwide. TESDA and CHED are mandated to jointly implement the LEP.

Under the ladderized system of education, there are two ways by which a student can transfer or move between techvoc and college education. First, and the model being adopted at present is called Embedded Tech-Voc Qualification in Ladderized Degree Programs. This refers to tech-voc contents that are already included in a college degree program. Such contents are mapped out and identified, and the curriculum is restructured to allow a student of a Ladderized College degree program to earn tech-voc credits and qualifications without having to repeat the same tech-voc subjects for which he has already acquired knowledge and competence. Under this embedded model of the LEP, the tech-voc qualification in a degree program establishes job platforms and provides the individual the opportunity to get a job and earn income, and at the same time, enables him to continue college education at his own time, at his own pace, no matter how long it may take to attain his dream of acquiring a college diploma.

The second is Credit Transfer for Tech-Voc to College and Articulation which refers to the recognition and carrying forward of overlapping learning from tech-voc to college. A credit transfer system allows the tech-voc graduate to earn credit units for his tech-voc courses. Thus, the tech-voc graduate readily articulates to a college degree program with ease. However, this model is not widely used at present in view of the need for TESDA and CHED to work on the equivalent credits as well as the mechanisms for the credit transfer.

The LEP serves as a mechanism in empowering the young Filipinos, especially the marginalized and disadvantaged ones. Empowerment because it offers them the opportunity to acquire qualifications that will equip them with the skills and competencies needed to land a job, earn an income, enable them to take control of their lives and eventually liberate themselves from the cudgels of poverty.

The LEP is anchored on the Philippine National Qualifications Framework (PNQF), which serves as the framework in identifying the ladderization pathways, entry and exit points in qualifications progressions available to students from basic education, tech-voc, to higher education.

There are already 701 higher education institutions (HEIs) offering LEP in 1,269 ladderized degree programs containing 3,326 embedded tech-voc qualifications. From these programs, a total of 152,346 enrollees have been registered nationwide.

The President supported the LEP in the form of scholarships funded through the Pangulong Gloria Scholarships. For the 2006 to 2009 period, a total of 112,718 have benefited from the LEP scholarship.

To further facilitate the progressive implementation of LEP, Executive Order 694 entitled "Enabling Higher Education Institutions to Opt to Ladderize their Degree Programs without Need for Issuance of Permit from CHED and TESDA," was issued last January 18, 2008. This Executive Order basically streamlines the application process for institutions intending to offer the LEP. The implementing guidelines, as developed by CHED and TESDA, have been issued through CHED Memorandum No. 43.

Number of Ladderized Programs by Discipline and By Type of Institutions July 2006- November 2008

3.4. Improved competency assessment and certification

Competency assessment and certification ensures that the TVET graduates and skilled workers have the necessary competence to perform the tasks consistent with the required standards in the workplace. Recognition of the attainment of competencies is the award of the National Certificate (NC) in the appropriate level for a full qualification or the Certificate of Competency (COC) for partial achievement of the requirements of the qualification. As a matter of policy, TESDA requires mandatory assessment for graduation in qualifications covered by a promulgated Training Regulation.

The assessment process is done to confirm that the graduate or worker can perform to the standard expected in the work place based on the defined competency standards. Certification is provided to those who meet those standards. This ensures the productivity, quality and global competitiveness of the middle-level workers.

A Registry of Certified Workers provides information on the pool of certified workers for certain occupations nationwide. This is available on-line at the TESDA website.

Accredited assessment centers as well as competency assessors conduct competency assessment processes for certification candidates. The assessors are accredited on the basis of the award of the National Certificate for the appropriate level of qualification and completion of the training methodology and assessment methodology course. A trainers' qualification certificate is awarded upon achievement of both requirements.

The assessment and certification performance in the immediate past 9 years also showed an upward trend signifying an increasing number of competent and skilled workers who are job-ready and meet the standards of industry. The number of persons assessed has risen considerably from only 234,166 in 2001 to 836,131 in 2009 or an increase of more than 250% for the 9-year duration. In terms of the number of persons certified or those who passed the assessment, the increase from 193,030 in 2001 to 690,836 in 2009 also registered at more than 250%.

The improved outputs in assessment and certification can also be attributed to the funding support provided under the Pangulong Gloria Scholarships through the Free Assessment Service of TESDA (FAST).

3.5. Continuing improvement in TVET quality provision

3.5.1. Training Regulations – Matching the Competencies to Industry Standards

TVET provision in the country is generally based on standards set by industry. These standards are translated into Training Regulations (TRs) developed in consultation by industry and promulgated by the TESDA Board.

The TRs contain the national qualification, competency standards, training standards, and assessment and certification arrangements. These spell out the parameters for ensuring quality in delivery of a TVET program. They also serve as the bases for competency assessment and certification, registration and delivery of TVET Programs, and development of curriculum and assessment instruments. A TR is developed for each TVET qualification as a quality assurance mechanism.

With only 15 TRs in 2004, additional TRs were developed over the years reaching a total of 215 promulgated TRs as of 2009 in various priority sectors. The availability of these TRs helps in ensuring that TVET programs are responsive to industry standards.

Number of Promulgated Training Regulations By Sector: 2004-2009

3.5.2. Registration and Accreditation of TVET Programs – Ensuring the Quality of TVET Program Offerings

TESDA ensures that all TVET programs are delivered in accordance with the minimum national standards through the enforcement of mandatory TVET program registration. This is being implemented through the Unified TVET Program Registration and Accreditation System (UTPRAS). It is the process by which a training provider is authorized to deliver a particular training program. A Certificate of Program Registration is issued to a training provider for each training program registered and authorized to be delivered.

Registration of programs signifies compliance of the TVET program with the standards prescribed in the Training Regulations, including the curriculum design, the qualification of trainers, facilities and tools and equipment.

In order to ensure and monitor adherence to prescribed standards, the UTPRAS provides for the compliance audits of TVET registered programs. The registered program is automatically reviewed and re-registered when the pertinent training regulation is amended.

As of 2009, a total of 18,347 TVET programs were registered nationwide. These are the programs that are offered to the public that have passed through the registration process of TESDA.

A component of UTPRAS is voluntary accreditation which refers to the process of assessing and upgrading the quality of TVET programs through self-evaluation and external assessment by a TESDA-recognized accrediting body. The system provides multi-level accreditation status and public recognition and conferment that a TVET program meets the standards set beyond the minimum requirements of program registration.

TESDA has recognized the Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission as one of the accrediting bodies for TVET. The Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) is a regional accreditation and certification body established by Colombo Plan member governments which recognize the need to cope with the rapid changes in the labor market and skills taught in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions.

In the pursuit of quality TVET, TESDA has started to implement accreditation through APACC among its own training institutions. As of 2009 there are three (3) TESDA Technology Institutions, namely, the TESDA Women's Center, Quezon National Agricultural School and Regional Training Center-Davao (Korea-Philippines Vocational Training Center) that have been accredited as silver by APACC. Additionally there are eight (8) TESDA Technology Institutions that were given Bronze Level Accreditation.

3.5.3. TVET Trainers Development

The TVET Trainer is very critical in the delivery of TVET programs. Hence, TESDA ensures that only qualified trainers can teach. Since 2006 the National TVET Trainers-Assessors Qualification Program (NTTAQP) has been implemented to ensure the consistent delivery of quality training services nationwide. The NTTAQP aims to qualify and certify the current pool of technical trainer-assessor to ensure their competence in trade qualification, and training and assessment methodologies.

The Philippine TVET Trainer Qualification Framework (PTTQF) was enhanced to provide for a more comprehensive program of development for TVET trainers. It identifies preparatory education/training requirements, industry experience, qualification requirements and careerism in the sector. A total of 18,251 TVET trainers have been certified/ qualified from 2006 to 2009 out of the 23,000 TVET trainers accredited nationwide.

3.6. Enhanced employability of TVET graduates both here and abroad.

The metrics of performance for TVET is employment. Therefore, the employability of the TVET graduates demonstrates the quality and relevance of TVET programs to the demands and available jobs of the local and overseas markets.

The 2008 Impact Evaluation Study (IES) conducted by TESDA shows that 55.1% of the TVET graduates in the labor force who acquired work-based competence find jobs within 1 month to one year. This employment rate is lower than the 2005 IES results of 64.6%. The decline can be attributed to many reasons, to include: the effects of the global financial crisis which slowed down economic activities and resulted to job losses; skills mismatch between the requirements of the available jobs and the skills possessed by those seeking employment still exist; and geographical mismatch between locations of job opening and job seekers.

The enhancement of the employability of TVET graduates necessitates a pre-training and post-training support system. Labor market intelligence from the industry sector partners and other government agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Public Employment Service Offices are made available to the students, TVET institutions and other key stakeholders.

Labor market information is also utilized for career guidance activities. There are two mechanisms available in the Philippines to facilitate career guidance. One is the National Career Assessment Examination (NCAE) of the Department of Education administered to 4th year high school students. TESDA has the Career Profiling or the Youth Profiling for Starring Career (YP4SC) for other clientele not reached by NCAE. The YP4SC, launched in 2004, is a complete guidance delivery system to help young Filipinos make right career choices and displaced workers in order to redirect themselves to new occupation paths based on an objective assessment of their strengths and interests, coupled with information on job / employment opportunities. Through this program, students and parents are equipped adequately in making the right career decision leading to a greater job fit and greater value to education and training investment.

In 2009, the YP4SC was transformed from pencil and paper method to on-line and PC-based, thereby facilitating and expanding access to the service. After training, job referral and placement services are provided to shorten the job search period. TESDA has initiated the establishment of Blue Desks in all TESDA field offices and institutions and in the private technical vocational institutions. This is aimed at shortening the job search period and provides assistance to the TVET graduates in finding immediate employment. The Blue Desks served as one-stop center for TESDA information and services such as job referral and placement assistance services, career profiling and coaching.