Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tech/Voc education needed in various industries

Cebu, Philippines (30 July)--In recent visit of DOT secretary Joseph Ace Durano to Cebu, he noted that the tourism industry needs vocational skills more than theoretical or academic aptitude.

“There will be no shortage of demand for your services,” he told the students of the Banilad Center for Professional Development (BCPD), a TESDA recognized vocational-technical school that offers 2-year hotel and restaurant management course to young women for employment and entrepreneurship in the industry. Secretary Durano was in Cebu to attend the inauguration of the center’s upgraded kitchen-classroom.

He added that in Cebu alone, 1,000 hotel rooms will open soon and based on industry standards of hotel classification, whether 4 or 5-star, each room will directly employ two to four people. Bohol and Boracay Island will also open 500 to 1000 rooms respectively in the next coming years.

“The demand of the time is really vocational skills. We have been working closely with the Commission on Higher Education to make university courses on hospitality management relevant to the demands of the time,” the DOT chief said.

According to the BCPD principal Mary Ann Ruiz, presently, the center has 102 students that come from poor families in the Visayas region whose parents could not afford to send them to higher education.

“We equip the students with the necessary skills when they go out on field because we are implementing TESDA’s ‘dualized’ training program—school and on-the-job training with our partner establishments in the industry,” Ruiz added.

Since the inception of the center in 1992, BCPD had already graduated 867 students with a hiring rate of 75%. “Our industry partners include Cebu City Marriotte Hotel and Shangri-la’s Mactan Island Resort and Spa,” she proudly said.

The government has really paid extra focus to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in terms of expanding the coverage of technical and vocational education as more companies and work abroad are in need of skilled manpower.

According to the President, in 2006 alone, the government spent P2.4-Billion for its training programs, including P600-million for scholarships in all TESDA offices in the country.

This year, 1.5 million students will graduate in technical and vocational education, almost double in the 2004 figure. The Arroyo administration is set to spend P1.1Billion for ladder-ized education, a major program of TESDA in the next 3 years.

In Cebu recently, Emma Ramas, a local representative of a European consultancy-PUM encouraged the local government units in the province to tap European consultants to help them in improving vocational and technical courses that are commonly offered in schools in the municipalities.

Ramas said, out of 66 consultants who came to the country last year, 46 were sent to Cebu. “Dutch consultants are experts in improving vocational and technical courses and there are really many of these consultants that are experts in various fields such as education, port development and agriculture.

According to Ramas, earlier this year, the Harvest Christian School International (HCSI) was a recipient of PUM’s consultancy. The school received 4000 euros or P244,000 from the Hans Blankert Fund that the school used to build a computer laboratory and buy computer units to improve the IT education of its technical and vocational students.

Meanwhile, TESDA programs are gaining popularity in skills training abroad. Secretary Augusto Boboy Syjuco, TESDA director general said that TESDA’s training program is now part of the 2006-2008 Memorandum of understanding and cooperation in technical and vocational education and training between the Saudi Arabian government represented by GOTEGOT and the Philippines represented by TESDA.

In the MOU, TESDA spearheaded the 3-week training program for trainers of 77 Arab techVoc instructors in various trade areas that included digital video production; digital photography; computer networking; electro-mechanical maintenance; air-conditioning and refrigeration, and vocational inspection.

Aside from completing the TechVoc courses, secretary Syjuco sees the TESDA-GOTEVOT training partnership as a venue for a continuing exchange of ideas and experiences among techVoc instructors of Saudi Arabia and the Philippines. (PIA-Cebu/MBCN)

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