Gatchalian: Improve skilling, training programs for youth in the post-COVID job market

Published May 13, 2021, 11:19 AM

by Mario Casayuran

To spur the country’s recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and help address jobs-education mismatch, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is urging the government to improve the implementation of skilling and training programs to prepare the youth in meeting industry standards.

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate basic education committee, cited a March 2021 discussion paper from state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) which pointed to different challenges hounding these programs, particularly in Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

The PIDS study, which is undertaken as part of the Youthworks PH initiative by advocacy group Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), pointed out that many aspects of training regulations are not up to date with current industry standards – which was already a challenge even before the pandemic struck.

Trainers and assessors are not fully aware of industry needs unlike industry-based experts or practitioners.

Entry-level workers are falling short on soft skills such as communication skills and workplace discipline, the study finds.

This entails the review of TVET curricula content to ensure the sufficiency of teaching these skills under training regulations.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the study recommended raising the need for investing in flexible learning modalities and boosting digital skills, especially since businesses have been forced to go online. Aside from the conversion of learning materials for both online delivery and asynchronous modalities, also part of the recommendation is the need to train the trainers on flexible learning.

To ensure that TVET policies address the needs and issues of stakeholders, the study is eyeing regular dialogues between the government, employers, and TVET providers. These dialogues will ensure that training regulations keep pace with the rapid changes in the industry, labor market, and training landscape.

For Gatchalian, his proposed establishment of the National Education Council (NEDCO) will help foster the dialogues and address issues on TVET and other education policies. Senate Bill No. 1526 or the National Education Council Act aims to institutionalize national coordination and harmonization of policies among the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).