Gov’t pours more money into tech-voc courses: TESDA exec

MANILA -- The Duterte administration is investing more on technical-vocational (tech-voc) courses, providing free scholarships that would benefit more than 400,000 people yearly, an executive from Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

In an interview with PNA on Friday, TESDA Deputy Director General Alvin Feliciano said the Duterte administration prioritizes providing free tech-voc courses to beneficiaries, which include persons with disabilities, solo parents, drug surrenderers, among others.

"We target more than 400,000 scholars yearly. About 300,000 people are benefiting from TESDA's tech-voc courses when these were not yet free," he said.

Feliciano said that for this year, the government has allocated PHP6.9 billion for free tech-voc courses alone. This budget, however, was included in the Commission on Higher Education's (CHED) budget, and CHED might release this to TESDA by June or July in time for the second semester, according to Feliciano.

The free scholarships, Feliciano said, will provide beneficiaries with PHP160 daily allowance, training insurance, assessments and tool kits.

"There are instances when the trainees might get hurt during the course, so there's insurance," explained Feliciano.

He also noted that this is the first time that the government will provide tool kits (e.g. welding machine) to the scholars.

"The government has seen that tech-voc graduates have the ability to become entrepreneurs, so that is why the government wants to give them a complete package," he remarked.

"This is the first time that it will happen. We used to provide just the training and assessment," Feliciano continued.

Meanwhile, Feliciano said the Philippine government has also realized the value of tech-voc. Asian Development Bank (ADB) president, Takehiko Nakao, also mentioned during the recently-concluded 51st ADB annual meeting held in Ortigas Center, Pasig City that tech-voc training will be one of ADB's priorities.

"That is true. Look at mainland China. It has become very successful because of tech-voc courses," commented Feliciano.

Feliciano said China has around 100,000 tech-voc courses, while the Philippines has 14,000. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency