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Saturday, April 9, 2022

The State of Tech-Voc in the Philippines

Looking at the state of Tech-voc in the Philippines, we believe that the Tech-voc Philippine style can open a lot of opportunities for Filipinos and perhaps even entice foreign students to enroll in the Philippines. 

We have worked closely with the graduates of the Tech-Voc from the K-12 program and we see both opportunities and gaps that we can address in order to make the Philippines the Tech-Voc Center in Asia. 

We see the potential of our Tech-Voc programs in the country as an effective way to address poverty. In our experience, we worked with a public school here in Bacolod where the students are mostly children of sugarcane farmers. These students have no means to go to college which means that being employed in an office-based setting is a remote idea. 

However, through the Contact Center Servicing course through the TVL track of the K-12 program, the students received the necessary skills and knowledge that allowed them to be gainfully employed in the BPO industry. 

Right after graduation, the students are able to start working immediately and start earning (above the minimum) and have helped their respective families financially. 

We have to realize that a four-year course is NOT the only avenue to attaining a decent lifestyle. The technical field is very, very wide, uncharted, and not yet competitive, which is a far cry from the competitive, dog-eat-dog corporate world.

Is the Tech-voc in the Philippines enough? 

The answer is NO. This is why we partnered and worked closely with them. There was a need to bridge the gap between school and for the students to get employed. There were many areas that we can improve in order to make the program become more effective. 

Here are some of the areas that we believe can be improved: 

  • Framework Revision - Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, CEO of Ayala Corporation, one of the country’s top corporations and a staunch advocate for the importance of technical skills in our society, once expressed that a vocational or technical degree should be given a prominent position in our country’s educational framework. The curriculum should be wider and the accreditation status should be improved significantly so that it will produce young graduates with specific skills that match the market needs.
  • Qualifications of Tech-Voc Instructors and Educators -  As experts in their field of interest, getting a methodology course does not automatically qualify them as trainers. Our partner school has been lucky to have a teacher who had an industry experience of 10 years to handle the classes but we have also seen many incompetent teachers have been tapped to handle the classes of other TVL track programs. 

We have to realize that we can't just have anyone handle the tech-voc trainings. We need people who have actual experience doing the job and who can really share and teach what's actually happening in real life. 

  • Professionalization and Licensing - granting professional licenses to successful graduates would give them the recognition that would elevate their status from merely a tech-voc graduate into a professional practitioner of their chosen skill. Possessing a license gives graduates a sense of pride and achievement. Licensing should be the goal that each tech-voc graduate must aim for because acquiring a license would give them a right to demand a higher salary and compensation for their services.

  • Reshaping Tech-Voc Curriculum vis-a-vis Current Market Demands - It is proposed that the tech-voc curriculum be two tracks: meaning the courses offered can either be service-oriented or product-oriented. 
Product-oriented tracks are designed in order to alleviate poverty and provide income-generating projects to barangay folks like stay-at-home moms, out-of-school youths, drug dependents, seniors/retirees, jobless folks, and surrenderees. Some of these product-oriented tracks are called cottage industries and can be done in the backyard or in a factory for SME. 


Please note though that it is crucial for the implementors to consider the market demand especially for these cottage industries. I have seen a lot of skilled weavers or handicraft makers but has no idea on how to sell or market their products. Thus, it doesn't make a difference in their lives.  

The training package for this track must include: Salesmanship/ Entrepreneurship, managerial, marketing and bookkeeping. These livelihood trainings are best for barangays and provincial training through Barangay Kasanayan para sa kabuhayan at kapayapaan (BKKK) set by TESDA. TESDA will also provide for the necessary tools and materials as well as equipment for this skill training. 


The Service Oriented Sector/Industry are the following: 

The above mentioned are all professional tracks and require a high school diploma as a basic requirement. Tech-voc service-oriented profession is not just a simple trade and all service-oriented tracks will be identified by specific specialization based on the industry qualification.

President Rodrigo expressed in one of his speeches that the Build, Build, Build program is delayed because of the lack of workers. We are lacking in experts in carpentry, welding, and other technical skills. We have a lot of jobless because they are not qualified even in vocational, especially construction.”

As of now, joblessness and lack of experts in vocational and technical skills is really a big concern,thus, it would be good if we have an institution such as TESDA who will take the lead and be responsible for this. 


If our TVETs follow global standards and are just competitive with that of our Asian neighbors, there will be fewer OFWs because TVET graduates can establish their own businesses and can get better-paying jobs locally.

TESDA should be independent of other government agencies in terms of providing technical-vocational training and education. However, other agencies can complement because agencies like DepEd, help in the basic education of children, while DOLE and DTI give assistance in the employment and livelihood programs respectively.

Good, high-paying jobs await qualified tech-voc grads. If only they’re given proper incentives, multisectoral support, and a supportive policy environment, the tech-voc track can also be a viable alternative for young Filipinos who wish to lead productive lives.

We may still have a long way toward strengthening our tech-voc ecosystem in the country, but with a little help and support from the government, industry, and academe, we are making crucial inroads that lay the foundation for the future. As we promote tech-voc to the youth to undergo tech-voc training, we hope that tech-voc professionalism and licensing will soon be implemented as well.

Hopefully, in the coming years and decades, the state of tech-voc education in the Philippines would further be improved so that when we ask Filipino children what they want to be when they grow up, we hope many of them will also answer that they would want to take the tech-voc path and become a carpenter, a forklift driver or a farming technician. And by then, these children would no longer be laughed at or looked down with the career choices they’ve made.

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