TESDA vows to produce 'technopreneurs' among Filipinos

21 July 2011

With the much needed push, Mindanao could become hub of the Philippines’ version of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin and other successful and influential technopreneurs.
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Mindanao Technical Vocational Education and Training (MinTVET) Association are joining hands to help pave the path of opportunities for budding technopreneurs find their own means of livelihood.

The technopreneurs are the present crop of entrepreneurs who are technology savvy, creative, innovative and those who dare to be different.

Speaking before the 10th Human Resource Skills Development Summit in General Santos City, TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva pledged to make technopreneurship a significant part of the improving landscape of TESDA in its pursuit of instituting the needed reforms in the technical vocational education and training (TVET) arena.

“We are vigorously pursuing major reforms towards making TVET more relevant, more efficient, more accessible especially to the youth,” Villanueva said in his keynote address during the event, which carried the theme, “Technopreneurship: New Approaches, New Technologies, Creating Jobs, Improving Lives.”

“Today, we see many successful and influential people here and abroad who have found their niche through the modern internet. We want to provide our youth the environment for learning and creative thinking, afford them opportunities to explore their potentials, give them greater access to new technologies through responsive technical vocational education and training," he said.

"I dream of the day that I will be standing tall and proud seeing how a fellow Filipino, a Mindanaoan at that, getting worldwide recognition for introducing a phenomenal social networking site next to Facebook,” the TESDA chief added.

Pushing technopreneurship, Villanueva said, is a recognition that employment opportunities are not limited to wage employment.

"Entrepreneurs create their own source of income, easing the burden of unemployment on the government while improving the lives of their families," he said.

Villanueva acknowledges however that while TESDA promotes technology-related courses such as programming, there is pressing need for initiatives that will give technopreneurship the needed boost.

The Mindanao TVET roadmap until 2015 outlines strategic responses to current and future development challenges that have now found their place in the regional and provincial Technical Education and Skills Development Plans in the region.

MinTVET was one of the recipients of fund from TESDA’s Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) last year.

Technical vocational institutions under MinTVET have among the highest employment rates among their graduates.

And in recognition of the group's good performance, Villanueva said its allocation would be doubled, if not tripled, this year.

Villanueva said he hopes TESDA and MinTVET will continue the close tie-up in producing technopreneurs among their graduates.

“Technological and entrepreneurial skills are what’s driving many economies to prosperity these days. We hope to be able to catch up,” he said.

Notwithstanding the challenges confronting TESDA, Villanueva said he remains undaunted in pushing for reforms in the agency to make technical vocation education relevant to the people.

In 2011, TESDA was allocated only with P700 million budget for scholarship, compared to its close to P6 billion budget in 2009.

But despite its limited resources, TESDA has made headway in upgrading the quality of the course offerings through purposive review of course curricula and upgrading the competencies of TVET trainors.

It has also strengthened the assessment and certification program to ensure that TVET graduates possess the skills needed by companies.

TESDA also continues to partner with various government agencies in implementing projects such as the PNoy Bayanihan project of turning confiscated logs into school chairs to help ease the lack of classroom in the provinces.

Recently, it tied up with the Department of Agriculture for the training of agricultural extension workers, and with Coca Cola Bottlers Philippines for training courses to women engaged in retail trading.

Villanueva said he hopes 2012 will be a more bountiful year in terms of budget from the national government.

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