February 18, 2019

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority has discovered 28 registered technical vocational education and training (TVET) programs with incidents of ghost training and ghost trainees in Central Luzon and three other regions.

This was an offshoot of a three-month meticulous review of the operations of all the accredited TESDA training schools in the country which was immediately ordered by TESDA Director General Isidro Lapeña when he assumed the post in October last year.

It will be recalled that Lapeña immediately ordered the creation of an investigating team to conduct a thorough review and accounting of all accredited training schools due to complaints and rumors of irregularities especially in the provinces.

"Among my major thrusts is to address the problem of ghost scholars and ghost trainings. Any irregularities will be immediately dealt with, nobody will be spared under my watch," said Lapeña.

Based on the result of the probe submitted by the Investigation Committee he created, there are 62 registered programs of Technical Vocational Institutions (TVIs) with violations on TESDA rules and regulations that were discovered.

There were nine categories to which the investigation had focused into, some of them are those relating to existence of ghost training and ghost trainees, exaction of illegal fees and absence of inspection and re-inspection reports.

The investigation confirmed the existence of ghost training and ghost trainees in registered technical vocational and education training programs - 13 of which are in Central Luzon, 7 each in Region 1 and Region IVA, and 1 in Metro Manila.

Each of the training schools identified has two or more cases of conducting ghost trainings and listing ghost scholars.

Nine cases of illegal collection of fees from trainees and scholars were also found, a gross violation of the rules and guidelines on TESDA scholarship.

Four of them are in Region I, two each in Region IVA and Region VI and one in Region VII.

TESDA regional directors were already asked to explain about the anomalies that were stipulated in the findings.

"Appropriate criminal charges will be filed against those who are involved in these serious offenses as warranted," said Lapeña.

Training schools with minor violations, on the other hand, were ordered to comply and warned of cancellation of accreditation if they fail to do so.

Following the result of the investigation, Lapeña has implemented a stricter monitoring on existing training schools and validation process for those applying for accreditation.

"TESDA’s Unified TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) Program Registration and Accreditation System or UTPRAS has very stringent validation and monitoring processes.  If a school or training center does not comply with requirements, it will not be awarded scholarship slots,” Lapeña emphasized.

Lapeña recently issued the Omnibus Guidelines for 2019 TESDA Scholarship Programs which, among others, discourage anomalies and illegal activities by implementing stricter monitoring of training programs, trainees' attendance, and the employment rate of the scholar graduates.

He also ensured that the amended guidelines will include stiffer penalties for erring TVIs, as well as TESDA personnel, for which CSC (Civil Service Commission) rules shall be strictly enforced.

“I assure the public that during my watch, as your TESDA chief, our kababayan will not be shortchanged and will not be deprived of the free quality training that they deserve,” Lapeña stressed.