The Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) yesterday said it would have to double the dismal 28 percent absorption rate of its scholars under the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) next year after President Aquino intervened to enable TWSP to keep its P700 million funding intact.

The Department of Budget and Management and the Department of Labor and Employment had both wanted to reduce the TWSP budget to P350 million because of the minimal absorption rate of scholars. TESDA director general Joel Villanueva said they are required to repay Aquino’s intervention with a better showing and periodic reports to the Presidential Management Staff, the DBM and Congress.

He said TESDA will redesign TWSP’s implementation guidelines to strengthen scholar selection, accreditation of technical and vocational education and training provider, reporting, monitoring and evaluation. He said the agency would also implement a grassroots program to reach out to more scholars and strengthen the Seek-Find-Train-Certify and Employ operational cycle as applied to each and every TWSP beneficiary.

Figures released by the agency showed that from 2008 to 2009, only 113,710 TESDA scholars out of the more than 740,000 got employed after graduation. The regions with the worst absorption rates were ARMM, Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan. Reports that some P5 billion in scholarship funds went to fly-by-night schools and ghost scholars during that period are also being investigated. – Ashzel Hachero