03 February 2021
TAGUIG CITY - As the number of Technical Education and Skills Development (TESDA) Online Program registrants continue to grow, tourism courses appear to be the most desired by the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) so far.

Based on the data released by E-TESDA, a total of 23,818 OFWs or their dependents enrolled in courses under the Tourism sector from March 16, 2020 to December 31, 2020 through the TESDA Online Program (TOP).

The Tourism sector is being followed by Human Health/Healthcare sector with a total of 12,368 enrollees, and by the Entrepreneurship sector with a total of 11,416 enrollees.

The 80 courses available in TOP are divided into sectors which are 21st Century Skills; Agriculture; Automotive; Electrical and Electronics; Entrepreneurship; Heating, Ventilation, and Air Condition; Human Health/Healthcare; Information and Communication Technology; Lifelong Learning Skills; Maritime; Processed Food and Beverages; Social, Community Development and Other Services; Tourism; and TVET.

There are some courses in other sectors that are yet to have more OFW-enrollees like the Lifelong Learning Skills, Agriculture, Information and Communication Technology.

TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña noted that although courses in the Tourism sector can further enrich the skills of returning OFWs, it will also be to their benefit if they learn some skills under the Agriculture sector especially during this time of pandemic.

"It became more difficult to earn this pandemic because many Filipinos have lost their jobs and livelihood especially in the Tourism sector. However, we can also take the courses under the Agriculture sector so we can ensure that more of us will know how to produce our own food for our families and loved ones," he said.

Lapeña added that former OFWs can take their agri-related skills to the next level by becoming agripreneurs.

By the end of year 2020, e-TESDA recorded a total of 2,679 enrollees for Fruit Grower course while no one has enrolled yet in Agriculture sector’s eight other courses.

Face-to-face training under the agri-fishery sector is also available aside from the online courses.

Even prior to the pandemic, TESDA has been relentless on strengthening the agriculture sector so that Filipinos will be secured enough by producing their own food sources and not relying too much on commercial sources including imported ones.

The TESDA Chief directed all TESDA Regional and Provincial Offices last year to establish their own mini-organic farms as models to their own communities.

He also pushed for having a special feature in the TESDA mobile app where OFWs can register and avail the programs that TESDA has prepared for them.

TESDA earlier announced that it was able to accommodate a total of 1,238,522 TOP registrants since the pandemic started until the end of year 2020.

Among the said number, a total of 86,100 are OFWs and their dependents who have enrolled in TOP.

The number of OFWs reached 60,937; adding 7,099 as the number of their dependents; and 18,064 more are categorized as Returning OFWs.

Meanwhile, 36 percent of the total number of enrollees or 31,435 have completed their courses also listing the Tourism sector that has the highest number with 7,325 course completers; followed by Human Health/Health Care with 6,456; and Entrepreneurship sector with 3,854 completers.

The data further states that 20.54 percent of the total number of enrollees or 20,478 individuals are from the CALABARZON Region, 18.04 percent or 17,992 individuals are from the National Capital Region; and 13.29 percent or 13,247 individuals are from Region III or Central Luzon. ###