TESDA gears up tech-voc courses for K to12 program

03 March 2012

With the K to 12 program soon in place, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is gearing up a massive review and updating of its courses to be offered to the students to boost their chances of employment after graduation.
TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva said that with the implementation of the K to 12 program, the country will have at least 1.2 million graduates every year.
Speaking at the 4th National COCOPEA Congress at the University of Sto. Tomas, Villanueva made a push anew for the new education curriculum, stressing the vital role of K to 12 in raising the quality of education to make the country catch up with the rest of the world.
“The introduction of the K to 12 is a major educational reform that impacts not only on basic education but also on technical education and skills development (TESD) and higher education,” he said.
“We recognize that TESDA has an important role to play in the K to 12 reform initiative and under the leadership of Department of Education (DepEd), we affirm our commitment to make it work and succeed,” Villanueva added.
Villanueva said the K to 12 program would harmonize the policies and programs of TESDA with those of DepEd and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), put in place a standard Philippine Qualifications Framework, mainstream the qualifications offered by the agency and prompt it to further improve its learning infrastructure in terms of curriculum, trainers and other processes.
The assessment and certification of students, he said, will be part of the K to 12 curriculum. Students, who will opt to engage in technical-vocational studies will undergo assessment and after passing, they will be issued certification either a National Certificate I (NCI)  or a National Certificate II (NCII).
“NC I & NC II TESD qualifications will be mainstreamed in the specialization phase which falls during Grade 9-12. Thus,  it becomes imperative for TESDA to move up and focus towards the development and implementation of higher level qualifications,” Villanueva said.
The K to12 basic education reform plan, which is a flagship education program of the Aquino administration, will add two years of senior high school to the current 10-year education curriculum.
The two additional years in senior high school are aimed to serve as a specialization period for high school students, whether in vocational skills, music, the arts or sports. High school graduates have the option to pursue jobs with a basic education diploma or proceed to college.
Villanueva said the program will make Philippine education at par with the rest of the world, with 12 years of basic schooling already a global standard. He said that only three countries – Philippines, Angola and Djibouti – have a 10-year basic schooling cycle.
The TESDA chief said the K to 12 will provide the impetus for the harmonization of the education policies and programs among TESDA, DepEd, and CHED.
These policies and programs will be guided by the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF) that would outline the progression from Kindergarten to the Post-Doctoral/ Specialization levels based on the competence gained by students through formal or experiential learning.
When in place, the K to 12 will give the students a variety of choices to pursue from among the TESDA qualifications included in the curriculum It will also prioritize specialization in agri-fishery and agri-business to attract more students to take the courses in the light of the shortage of graduates in these fields.
“The program would also require TESDA to undertake a massive technical education and skills development  infrastructure build-up in the areas of trainers/assessors development; learning materials development; IT-linked programs, systems and processes to support program registration and assessment and certification,” Villanueva said.
In the BPO sector alone, he reported that TESDA has allocated P50 million for the training of trainers to increase its pool of qualified and competent trainers.
TESDA will also assist the DepEd in “capacitating its cadre of trainers” who will handle the agency’s component of the K to 12 curriculum.
Villanueva said they would also maximize existing resources and tap the 282 vocationalized high schools under DepEd which are in various levels of development.  TESDA is also pushing for the review of the Ladderized Education Program in Congress.

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