Tech-voc education now free in state-run institutions

MANILAThe Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has announced that its technical vocation and education training (TVET) can now be availed of for free in state-run colleges and institutions.

"Usually, TESDA training programs are given for free, but students still need to pay for insurance and other miscellaneous expenses. The UAQTEA (Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act) will provide for almost all of these, including toolkits and books," TESDA Deputy Director General Alvin Feliciano told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Monday.

The UAQTEA or Republic Act 10931 promotes better access to quality tertiary education by providing free tuition and other school fees in state universities and colleges. This RA will be in effect for the academic year 2018-2019.

Earlier, Lenny Carreon, TESDA Planning Office assistant executive director, told the PNA that TESDA is eyeing 170 scholars to benefit from this new scholarship program to be implemented in the last quarter of 2018.

Both Carreon and Feliciano said the budget for the free TVET program is PHP6.9 billion for 2018. This budget will come from the Commission on Higher Education-Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (CHED-UniFAST).

Feliciano earlier noted that for this year, the government has allocated PHP6.9 billion for free tech-voc courses alone.

With this budget, trainees will also receive PHP160 daily allowance, free assessments, and training insurance.

The new program is a huge help for students, according to Feliciano. "In private training centers, TVET training fees may range from PHP3,000 to more than PHP100,000, depending on the course," he said.

Both executives also emphasized that providing toolkits to the scholars will help them prepare to start a business, in case they would like to become entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile, TESDA has released the guidelines for those who can avail of this scholarship.

Priority shall be given to the beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development's 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program), rebel returnees/former rebels, rehabilitated drug dependents and their families, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, people in the construction industry as a priority sector, internally displaced persons, dependents of AFP/PNP Personnel Killed-In-Action or Wounded-In-Action, and returning OFWs and their dependents.

The following are not eligible to avail of the free TVET scholarship: those who have obtained a bachelor's degree; those who are already holders of a certificate or diploma for a technical vocational course equivalent to National Certificate Level Ill or higher, unless the trainee is enrolled in bundled courses or programs in Level IV or Diploma; those enrolled in TVET programs not registered under TESDA. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency