An advocacy group called on the government to ensure that Filipino students are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for future employment.
The Philippine Business for Education (PBED), on Friday, May 7 made this call as the current school year nears its end. “We reaffirm our support for the training and employment of K to 12 graduates and the youth,” the group said.
”As we end another school year, these young graduates will be entering the workforce under a much more uncertain labor market due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” PBEd added.
In public schools, the School Year (SY) 2020-2021 will end in July since the classes started in October 2020. But in private schools, students may finish the current school year earlier because some of them were allowed to start holding classes as early as July last year.
Citing the March 2021 Jobs Report, PBEd said that the economy is gradually reopening and more businesses are operating, more people are entering and participating in the workforce.
“While this is encouraging, we need to ensure that recent graduates and young entrants to the workforce do not get crowded out,” PBEd said. Thus, “we call on the government to ensure that the students are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to join the workforce.”
Safe resumption of face-to-face classes
To promote national growth and competitiveness, PBEd noted that the government should “ensure the learning continuity of our students.” For the group, a “clear and immediate action plan should be in place to stem the looming learning crisis.”
Stakeholders have been sounding the alarm on the looming education crisis in the country as issues related to distance or blended learning remain unaddressed.
Students and teachers at the basic and higher education levels have been calling for #AcademicEase as they are overwhelmed with the demands of distance learning.
Teachers – at all levels – have also been pointing out challenges that need to be addressed as these affect the delivery of learning.
For PBEd, some of issues on access and inequality among students might be addressed when the government allows the safe reopening of schools. Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Philippine schools have been closed since March 2020.
PBEd underscored the need for a “plan to safely resume face-to-face classes to address the issue on access and inequality among our learners.” The group noted that “around three million students have dropped out last year as they were unable to keep up with online classes.”
The group also pointed out the that the latest international assessments of science, mathematics and reading competencies in previous years also showed an “alarming decline in the academic performance” of Filipino students.
PBEd noted that in the National Employment Recovery Strategy 2021-2022 currently being developed, the authorities “should make skills training and education a centerpiece of the strategy.” The group said that collaborative partnerships with the private sector in the areas of work-based training and employability should be enabled and incentivized.
“Now, more than ever, we need to support our youth by guaranteeing their education and boosting their employability in the future that they can look forward to,” it added.