PH told to reform tech-voc training

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    A study released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said the Philippines needs to reform its technical and vocational education and training system to meet fast-changing industry needs.

    The ADB said in a statement yesterday that the study, Technical and Vocational Education and Training in the Philippines in the Age of Industry 4.0, was carried out at the request of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

    It looks at the accomplishments and the challenges facing the Philippines’ skills training system as new industrial technologies, known as Industry 4.0, rapidly change the nature of work and the demand for skills.

    “Industry 4.0 poses a huge challenge to developing nations like the Philippines, as they have traditionally relied on industrialization and its capacity to generate high-paying jobs as a path toward economic growth,” said Ahmed Saeed, ADB vice president.

    The ADB said that more than ever, the importance of adequate and timely investment in skills, including reskilling, upskilling and the development of strong technical and soft skills, is needed to help displaced workers transition into new jobs, amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic-induced crisis.

    “The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected segments of the population that are most in need of upgrading their skills to adapt to the changing needs of the labor market,” Ayako Inagaki, ADB human and social development director for Southeast Asia, said.

    “Through much-needed investments and capacity building, the government’s technical and vocational education and training system can help shape labor market outcomes and adjust to anticipated changes to achieve its dual objective of creating a competitive workforce and helping marginalized workers,” Inagaki added.

    The report recommends promoting skills training and education as a crucial part of the country’s labor market policies during the post-pandemic recovery and beyond. While adjustments to the system during the pandemic have been largely effective, the report also notes that there are longer-term challenges.

    “There are important challenges to tackle with respect to TESDA’s organizational structure and capacity,” said ADB social sector specialist Sameer Khatiwada, lead author of the study.

    “Although TESDA has made major achievements over the years, questions around its appropriate role, endemic resource constraints, and organizational capacity weigh on its ability to respond to Industry 4.0,” Khatiwada said.

    The report recommends that the government seek new and effective ways to secure industry engagement in skills training, such as anticipating skills demand, ensuring better targeting of skills training programs and greater efficiency of skills supply, limiting mismatches, and improving labor market outcomes.

    The report also recommends standardizing and improving workshops, equipment, and digital solutions to meet international norms. (A. Celis)