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  • Bohol Leads in Technical Education and Skills Development

    With Loy M. Palapos
    August 24, 2014

    Bohol Leads in Technical Education and Skills Development

    The strength of a nation is not on the rich, but on the middle class. This is the reason USA is still the most powerful country in the world, notwithstanding the series of recessions it has been subjected to.
    The Philippines is bruited to already have a population that reaches the 100-million mark; but this assertion is not official. What is official is that we are a fast-growing country, not in terms of the economy, but in the number of mouths to feed. That there are Filipino workers all over the world, is an uncontested claim; and that it is so because not enough jobs are available in the homefront, is another glaring truth.
    There was a time when the Filipinos had an obsession with white-collar jobs. Not anymore. Most OFWs are blue-collar workers; which means that, given the recognition they deserve, the blue-collar workers could constitute the Philippine middle-class.
    It is through technical education and skills development where there is hope for the country. Through TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority), we have a bright future.
    TESDA-Bohol is headed by Dr. Francisca Requierme-Opog (FRO), Ph.D. a self-made career woman whose professional success has given TESDA a reason to exult. This interview took place at her office located at Inting St., Cogon District, adjacent to the City Hall.

    LMP: What is TESDA?
    FRO: TESDA is Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. It is one of the three offices in the educational system which is responsible for the technical, vocational education, and training. It is a Post-Secondary Training Program.
    LMP: I remember, when TESDA first came into being, I met Mr. Marangga. He mentioned that TESDA will take over some of the management responsibilities of the Trade Schools years ago.
    FRO: Not necessarily like that. TESDA is the regulatory body of the non-degree programs. When colleges and universities have programs related to TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training), the curriculum, standard procedures, tools and equipment, facilities, everything should be in accordance to the training regulation of TESDA.
    LMP: But it does not mean to say that it is all for the established schools. I have learned that there are some establishments being subsidized by TESDA.
    FRO: These particular establishments that we subsidize pertain to our scholarship program. Our training for work scholarship program started in 2006 and has been distributed to the different schools having programs registered with TESDA.
    LMP: What are these schools that are being benefited by this program as of now?
    FRO: There are a lot of schools involved. One is the University of Bohol, because they have programs related to the tourism sector like the commercial cooking, housekeeping, food and beverage, and they also have ladderized program. We also have Bohol Island State University (Tagbilaran, Bilar, Calape, Clarin, Candijay) which also have ladderized education program registered with TESDA. Like, the BHRST (Bachelor in Hotel and Restaurant Service Technology) in which there are five TVET Programs imbedded: the commercial cooking, housekeeping, food and beverage, front desk officer, and bartending.
    LMP: What’s the contribution of TESDA aside from monitorial? Do you give, say, expertise in the training?
    FRO: In terms of expertise, we are conducting Trainors Training Program for the methodologies to be used by our trainors.
    LMP: So, it is the establishment that produces these people to be trained. You don’t go directly to the students.
    FRO: No. Once, the school applies for the registration of the program, they have to follow strictly the TESDA requirements. One is the curriculum, facilities needed, the tools and equipment, and the qualification of the trainor.
    LMP: The school will provide the facilities and not TESDA?
    FRO: Yes. We only give the go-signal if they are qualified. Upon completion of all the requirements, we issue Certificate of Program Registration. When they already have the COPR (Certificate of Program Registration), they are qualified for whatever incentives and subsidies to be given to TVET providers.
    LMP: I’ve heard that those taking up automotive or something like that, are given allowances?
    FRO: That was in 2009 when the scholars were given 60 pesos per day. We thought it was beneficial, but we found out it did not bring any significant effect to the program. There were some who applied for the program not because they were interested but because of the allowance.
    LMP: You do not pursue it anymore?
    FRO: Not anymore, after the evaluation.
    LMP: What are the other schools, aside from UB and BISU, benefit from TESDA?
    FRO: In Bohol, there are a lot of schools that are recipients of our scholarship program. One is St. Martha, they are offering health-care services, household services, and care-giver course. But the care-giver program is not anymore qualified since 2009, because for the previous years there were a lot of scholars. We have found out in our statistics that we have a surplus of graduates. For the IT programs, we have STI, AMA, and Informatics.
    LMP: How much do you subsidize per student?
    FRO: It depends on the guidelines provided nationwide. For Shielded and Metal Arc Welding it is P10,000, Computer Hardware Servicing P6,000, Commercial Cooking P8,000, etc.
    LMP: Is that for the entire course?
    FRO: Yes. Most of our schools here benefited from our scholarship program. Cristal e-College in Panglao is one; their focus is on tourism and welding. The Bohol Northern Star College of Ubay, also offers welding course. In Sagbayan, the Bohol College of Science and Technology is also one of our recipients.
    LMP: I remember years ago, this program was coordinated by NMYC (National Manpower and Youth Council). Did you absorb that?
    FRO: Yes. Actually, TESDA was the result when BTVE (Bureau of Technical Vocational Education) of DECS merged with NMYC, and the Office of Apprenticeship of DOLE.
    LMP: How long has TESDA been functioning?
    FRO: Since 1994, last year was our 17th Anniversary. Part of the celebration was a program held at the ICM-Activity Center, and in the afternoon we had our skills competition at BQ Mall.
    LMP: I’ve heard about this training, done in the different municipalities for out-of-school youth and it was facilitated by NMYC. Is it still going on?
    FRO: Yes, we still have community-based programs all over the province.
    LMP: What’s the mechanics?
    FRO: It is in coordination with the LGUs. It depends on their priority projects, if they want skills training; we are ready to coordinate with them.
    LMP: And you provide the trainors?
    FRO: Yes, but they have to pay for the honorarium. We also provide technical support like, the curriculum needed for the entire training.
    LMP: One thing that I also know is that, if you would like to go abroad, as much as possible you need a certification from TESDA that you are qualified for a particular job. Is it still going on now?
    FRO: Yeah. The process is, if they have the skills already but there is no evidence that they are competent, we advice them to take our competency assessment. If they did not attend for a formal training and everything is based on their experiences, we have to certify them through the self-assessment guide.
    LMP: But they have to show that they know their job before the certification is issued.
    FRO: Yes, because our competency assessment is more on the practical side and they have to perform a specific task.
    LMP: If he fails, you do not issue the certification.
    FRO: No. But he can come back again for another competency assessment.
    LMP: What particular skills do these people who usually come for TESDA certification have?
    FRO: We have driving, welding, but in most cases, it is mandatory for our trainees to take the competency assessment before graduation.
    LMP: But if it is based on experience, they have to show the proof?
    FRO: Of course, we wanted to have evidence that he really has the expertise.
    LMP: So far, how successful are you along this line, certifying Boholanos who would like to go abroad? Do you have the number that you have certified?
    FRO: Yes. For 2011, we have 11,000 certified. That included our graduates from different PDIs, plus our walk-in applicants.
    LMP: Do all of these people go abroad?
    FRO: No, not all of them. Some need to have an experience first before going abroad but most of our welders are already there.
    LMP: So, if a person applies for TESDA certification, there’s more probability that he will be accepted?
    FRO: Yes.
    LMP: How long have you been with TESDA?
    FRO: Since April of 1997.
    LMP: How fulfilling is your job?
    FRO: Very fulfilling because I am happy working and offering my services to my fellow Boholanos. I was even offered by our Regional Director for a position as a Chief in the Regional Office because I am only an OIC (Officer-In-Charge) here. I just said, thank you for the offer, because I am happier to be working within my own Province and be with my family.

    Dr. Francisca R. Opog started as an Office-Clerk after graduating from the Bohol School of Fisheries with a Bachelor of Science degree in Fishery Education. She became a Teacher and took up Master of Arts in Education, and later finished her Doctorate degree with the dissertation entitled “Job Training Programs, Public Technical Vocational Schools, Region VII: A Proposed Training Program for Industrial Links Development Offices.”
    She came to TESDA in 1994. She has been designated OIC (Officer-In-Charge) for years…there’s hope she will eventually be appointed TESDA Provincial Director.

    Filed under: 2014, August | Permalink