TESDA upskills more graduates for ‘post-pandemic’ workforce

Despite the ongoing threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, more people have benefitted from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s (TESDA) scholarship and upskilling programs in 2021 compared to the previous year.

“With regard to our provision of training and certification, the easing of community restrictions has enabled us to further improve performance numbers this year,” Secretary Isidro Lapeña told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.

A total of 1,126,915 enrollees and 1,059,291 graduates were recorded as of December 22. Lapeña noted that this is significantly better than the 802,218 enrollees and 715,158 graduates in 2020.

As face-to-face assessment has been allowed in most parts of the country, TESDA was able to assess 619,769 individuals and certified 570,129 workers in different qualifications this year.

The TESDA Online Program (TOP), on the other hand, is continuously being expanded to provide wider access to tech-voc training, including those who are abroad.

Since the community quarantine was implemented in March 2020, more than 2.14 million Filipinos have registered in the TOP.

There are 115 different courses under the TOP as of December 20. There were 1,090,530 who enrolled in these courses in 2021, with 961,151 completing them. The figure includes 72,476 overseas workers and their dependents, according to Lapeña.

TESDA’s flagship program for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), “TESDA Abot Lahat ang OFWs”, has been focusing on upskilling and retooling the repatriated OFWs and their dependents. As of December 15, the OFWs and their dependents who enrolled in various training courses reached 26,989, of which 25,579 have graduated.

“This again is a vast improvement from the 6,435 enrolled and 5,058 graduated OFWs in 2020,” Lapeña said.

There were 10,066 OFWs who were assessed, of which 9,508 were given the National Certificates.

“I am very grateful to the men and women of TESDA, because, despite the challenges of the pandemic, we continued performing our mandate, delivering our services even to the far-flung areas,” Lapeña emphasized.

TESDA’s guiding principle, “TESDA Abot Lahat” has inspired all of the employees to reach out to as many Filipinos, and provide them the best possible tech-voc training. The agency’s services, he said, were made more accessible and relevant amid the pandemic.

Reaching more people

Lapeña noted that TESDA’s goal has always been to equip and make them qualified to start a livelihood or help them land employment after training.

To make competency assessment more accessible, especially in qualifications that are in demand abroad, more assessment centers have been established. The number of Domestic Works NC II accredited assessment centers in 16 regions reached 112 as of November.

TESDA has been steadily upgrading its infrastructure by building training centers across the country. This year, two provincial training centers were established, one in the Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) and the other in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato.

Lapeña also bared that TESDA plans to improve its digital infrastructures by rolling out a biometric scholarship registration system (BSRS).

“There will be facial recognition in attendance and registration of scholars to make the process easier. This will also ensure the integrity of the scholarship registration system,” he said.

Lapeña also thanked the public for its continued trust in the agency, and for appreciating the work that it has been doing.

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