TVET to be embedded in senior high to improve employability

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Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) will soon be integrated into the senior high school curriculum to equip students with the industry-relevant skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their chosen fields of work.

This developed after the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) signed a joint memorandum circular (JMC) on May 10, 2024 to embed technical skills among senior high school (SHS) students in the country. The JMC was co-signed by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

JMC No. 01 Series of 2024 was issued to “attain the goal of Filipino workforce readiness and employability by strengthening the embedment of TVET in SHS tracks.”

According to the United Nations, TVET is the education or training process that involves, “in addition to general education, the study of technologies and related sciences as well as the acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding, and knowledge relating to occupations in various sectors of economics and social life.”

The joint circular states that DepEd, TESDA, DOLE, and CHED must collaborate to strengthen the SHS curriculum by embedding TVET across SHS tracks. “This comprehensive approach will significantly enhance workforce readiness and employability for all SHS graduates, equipping them with industry-relevant skills and knowledge for successful careers,” it said.

Specifically, the JMC intends to align SHS specializations with applicable and appropriate TVET qualifications and implement an efficient mechanism for certifying the students who graduate from SHS with the acquired TVET qualifications.

Under the JMC, all students who complete the TVET program will undergo an assessment for free. If they pass, they will be given national certificates from TESDA that they can use to apply for work.

A technical working group (TWG) composed of representatives from the four agencies will be established to oversee and implement the program. Among other responsibilities, the TWG will consult stakeholders and government agencies to ensure it develops a comprehensive implementation plan; recommend policies, programs, and strategies, including the linkage of SHS offerings to key employment generators; and develop and implement strategies to connect SHS graduates with employment opportunities through the PhilJobnet and PESO Employment Information System.

Program implementation calls for DepEd to take the lead in curriculum development and revision, oversee implementation and monitoring, and facilitate partnerships and collaborations.

For its part, TESDA will develop and align TVET qualifications, provide technical expertise and support, certify the SHS graduates, and promote TVET and industry partnerships.

DOLE is tasked to facilitate employment linkages and promote TVET and career development support, while CHED will be providing the technical expertise and support through its panel of experts.

At the same event, the DepEd and TESDA also inked another JMC prescribing a standardized assessment and certification of SHS students who complete the program.

Industry leaders and experts have for some time now been calling for the further skills development of students, noting the poor quality of TVET programs and their lack of relevance to the skills required by industry. They have been pushing for greater effort to upskill the workforce to perform new and more sophisticated roles in view of the higher skills required by the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0.

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