"Competency-based Training is What Philippines offers…" : Dr Lorenzo Emanuel L Guillermo, Technical Education & Skills Development Authority, Republic of the Philippines

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Dr Lorenzo Emanuel L Guillermo, Director, Technical Education & Skills Development Authority, Republic of the Philippines speaks at length with digitalLEARNING team on the importance of the authority set up for the technical education and skill development in Philippines

What are the origins of skill development in Philippines? Is it old or really starting now?

Before 1994 it evolved as national manpower and youth council. In TESDA our main focus is core competency. Core competencies are units that are specific to a stream of a given sector. Competency assessment is the process of collecting evidences and making judgments whether or not a competency has been achieved. Assessment is not testing but gathering evidences. It depends upon orientation.

After three months training, students are able to find jobs.  The most important thing is that you must have competency. There are standard competency packages  and programmes that we offer.

Kindly elaborate upon the ICT scenario in Philippines?

In Philippines, the state provides relevant, accessible, high quality, and efficient technical education and skills development to support the development of a high quality Filipino middle-level manpower; responsive to and in accordance with Philippine development goals and priorities. Technical Education and Skill Development Authority (TESDA) provides technical education and skill development to the young Filipinos. This authority cradles between department of labor & employment, and department of education. The congress of Philippines allocates budget for the implementation of programmes in education.  We train the young Filipinos for the middle level manpower. Young Filipinos from the age 15 years can go to any TESDA office and apply for the scholarship Voucher.  The national certificate that they earn is recognised globally. This is built on the fact that across country, competent standards are defined and evaluated in terms of a common platform. Our country, briefly, offers a competency-based training system.

The State encourages active participation of various sectors, particularly private enterprises, being direct participants in and immediate beneficiaries of a trained and skilled workforce, in providing technical education and skills development opportunities.

Please share with us experience pertaining to technical education in Philippines.

The role of the government in employing youth is downsizing.  The competency standard in TESDA is drastic and is determined by those in private sector.  Normally, a person first gets a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s degree, and then a Ph D. But in the end, when they leave the university, they find themselves in the middle of jungle and with no opportunity. In technical education and training, it is reqruied that one identifies what skill has to be attainted, in accordance with respective interest. And that is what we foster through our training.

How TESDA is helpful for unemployed Filipino?

In TESDA we prepare the unemployed people for the middle level manpower, especially for private sector enterprises. Encouragement for participation to private enterprises and our training framework helps us to follow a systematic approach. For example, if we take the field of automotive industry, the skills must be in the direction of competency requirements of the industry. for instance, if you are taking training in computer programming, you must have the required skills to process the desired programmes. With our national certificate trainind people can work anywhere.

What is competency based training framework? 

Competency based training is based on curriculum developed from ‘Competency Standards’ defined by the Industry. Assessment is based on collection of evidence of the performance of work according to the industry required standards. Training Programmes are registered under the Unified TVET Programme Registration and Accreditation System. Competency Standards (CS) describe the work that is performed and Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) describes the training that a person needs to take in order to perform the work described in the Competency Standards.

What do you opine about the need of soft skills for trained professionals?

Soft skills imply communication, leadership and team work. The hard skills are for building competency. Many employers look for both hard and soft skills, in a middle level worker. Addition of the soft skills makes a lot of difference. An average technician can be better than a competent technician if he has better communication with the team or has a better set soft skills.

What is the essence of technical education framwork you follow?

Technical education refers to the education process designed at post-secondary and lower tertiary levels, officially recognised as non-degree programmes aimed at preparing technicians, paraprofessionals and  other categories of middle-level workers by providing them with a broad range of general education, theoretical, scientific and technological studies. Skill development is the process through learner get opportunity the qualification for the range of jobs. Competency is designed as an integrated part of this framework. When you undergo training, the reqruied competencies are transferred to you and then you become competent and able to perform. But there are students who are not competent. Our objective is to make them competent internationally.

Please throw some light on your certification levels?

The levels that we have include the following. Level 1 is assistance i.e. routine jobs, and which is not related to decision making. Second is the technical level. This level involves some decision making process. Level 3 is for the supervisors who are to monitor a group of workers. Level 4 is for Managers. This is a brief outlook of our certification system. When we do evidence gathering, we observe checklist, question list, demonstration of work activity and portfolio. For evidence we seek authenticity, sufficiency and validity. We also check the time during which it was acquired to see if the certification is recent or of distant past. There are various assessment programmes. After level three programme one gets registered only for units of competencies, not the whole programme. For example, in catering service, you may get registered in the unit that one provides room service and other is to provide link between beverage and kitchen service.

When one wants to pursue technical education, then he is issued a voucher by government

But in higher education you have to comply with the number of units of general education, electives before you find permission for the final exams. This is the basic difference between technical and higher education.

What are the goals and objective of TESDA for providing technical education and skill development?

Main goal is to promote and strengthen the quality of technical education and skills development programmes to attain international competitiveness. We encourage critical and creative thinking by disseminating the scientific and technical knowledge base to the middle-level manpower development programmes under TESD.

Other objectives are to recognise and encourage the complementary roles of public and private institutions in technical education, skills development and training systems; and to inculcate desirable values through the development of moral character with emphasis on work ethic, self-discipline, self-reliance and nationalism. We have four key tool or basic competencies

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