June 13, 2024

On his first anniversary as Director General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Secretary Suharto T. Mangudadatu highlighted the agency's achievements in bolstering the country's technical-vocational sector under his leadership.

It can be recalled that Secretary Mangudadatu, a former local government official, was appointed by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. as TESDA Director General on June 7, 2023.

“I would like to thank the President for his trust in me to lead TESDA. Over the past year, we have made significant strides in uplifting the lives of Filipinos through the provision of skills training and livelihood programs. TESDA commits to keeping the country’s TVET programs accessible to all Filipinos,” Secretary Mangudadatu said.

Under Secretary Mangudadatu's leadership, TESDA achieved noteworthy milestones in improving the lives of Filipinos.

"TESDA Sa Barangay"

The “TESDA Sa Barangay” is the flagship program of Secretary Mangudadatu. The program aims to ensure that people at the barangay level can avail of the agency's basic services and to scale up TESDA’s efforts in positioning technical vocational education and training (TVET) as a strategic tool for local development.

The guidelines for the implementation of the program were issued in October 2023, while the national launch of the program was held last May 23 in Tawi-Tawi, coinciding with the Bagong Pilipinas Serbisyo Fair headed by President Marcos and House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez. Prior to this, some TESDA offices had already launched the program in their respective regions.

Under the program, TESDA encourages and assists LGUs to offer lower-level tech-voc training programs, such as those with National Certificate levels I and II. This will allow TESDA to then offer more Diploma programs or higher-level TVET qualifications. TESDA will also provide capacity-building programs to barangay workers through community-based training.

A New Mantra

A few weeks into Mangudadatu’s term, the agency devised a new slogan, “Sa TESDA, Lingap Ay Maaasahan”, to demonstrate TESDA’s stronger advocacy to provide even better access to quality-assured and globally competitive tech-voc training to Filipinos. This also communicates the agency’s aspirations to provide public service with a heart that is aligned with the administration of President Marcos Jr.’s brand of governance and leadership, “Bagong Pilipinas.”

Strengthening Senior High School Program

Secretary Mangudadatu has been advocating for the integration of tech-voc training into all Senior High School (SHS) academic strands. On February 27, he personally presented the proposal to the President, who endorsed the initiative.

As such, on May 10, TESDA, the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) signed two critical Joint Memorandum Circulars (JMC) to intensify the government’s commitment to improve the country’s education system and to better prepare Filipino graduates for work.

The first TESDA-DepEd circular focuses on establishing standardized assessment and certification procedures for the SHS- Technical Vocational Livelihood (TVL) track learners and teachers. The second JMC expands collaboration by including CHED and the DOLE in the integration of TVET across all other non-TVET senior high school tracks to better prepare students for the workforce upon graduation.

International Partnerships and Cooperation

Since assuming his role as TESDA head, Secretary Mangudadatu has conducted numerous meetings with foreign embassies in the country and traveled abroad to explore collaborations in technical and vocational education and training (TVET), ensuring alignment with international standards.

In early January, Secretary Mangudadatu welcomed Her Excellency Annalena Baerbock, the Federal Foreign Minister of Germany, to the TESDA Complex in Taguig City. They toured the facility and engaged in a closed-door roundtable discussion with German stakeholders and Philippine government agencies

Also, the Secretary, together with Deputy Directors General Rosanna A. Urdaneta and Vidal D. Villanueva III participated in Strengthening TVET through Global Partnership and Benchmarking activity in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Further proving that the country’s TVET graduates are at par with their counterparts abroad, the Philippine delegations to the 13th WorldSkills ASEAN Competition in Singapore and the 2nd WorldSkills Asia Competition in Abu Dhabi both held in the latter part of 2023, bagged a total of 2 silver medals and 5 Medallions for Excellence.

In addition, the Philippines, through TESDA, has accepted the challenge to host the 14th ASEAN WorldSkills Competition in 2025. Secretary Mangudadatu emphasized that the hosting, as well as participating in international competitions, will help improve TESDA’s and the country’s tech-voc system’s readiness in facing the changes being brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Local Partnerships

Secretary Mangudadatu also spearheaded the increase of TESDA’s partnerships with the industry, academe, government agencies, and non-government organizations to strengthen the implementation of area-based and demand-driven TVET and enterprise-based training.

Earlier this year, the Secretary had directed TESDA operating units to facilitate and coordinate the establishment of 1,000 partnerships for calendar year 2024. The latest data show more than 2,560 partnerships have so far been forged nationwide.

Making TVET More Accessible and Responsive

The Secretary has also been joining the LAB for All Caravan spearheaded by First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos, and the Bagong Pilipinas Serbisyo Caravan where TESDA sets up booths for scholarship applications and distributes allowances and starter toolkits.

Further, in 2023, TESDA tallied over 1.6 million enrollees of which, around 1.4 million graduated. Further, TESDA, in the same period, assessed over a million tech-voc graduates, of which, over 900,000 were certified.

Moreover, another proof of TESDA’s pursuit of innovation and excellence in TVET is the adoption of the extended reality (XR) technology in the implementation of training and assessment. Private companies such as First Balfour, Inc., FELTA Academy, Hytec Power Inc., Lincoln Electric, and TESDA’s Regional Training Center – NCR are few of the early adaptors of XR technology in TVET.

Likewise, it was during Secretary Mangudadatu’s time that the National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan (NTESDP) 2023-2028 was launched. The NTESDP serves as the national blueprint of the TVET sector for the next 5 years.

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