Solons question embedding of TVET in senior high curriculum

solons question embedding of tvet in senior high curriculum

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During Monday's House of Representatives hearing on the proposed Batang Magaling Act which seeks to improve the employability of K-to-12 graduates, lawmakers questioned the embedding of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in the senior high curriculum, a revision agreed upon by three government agencies in joint memorandum circulars.

The joint memorandum circulars signed between the Department of Education, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Commission on Higher Education provides for the following:

  • free assessments in TESDA-accredited assessment centers for all senior high school graduates,
  • free training and certification for the trainers methodology courses for senior high school teachers, and
  • integration of TVET across all other non-technical and vocational livelihood senior high school tracks to better prepare students for the workforce upon graduation.

Lawmakers took turns questioning why there was a need to embed TVET even in non-technical and vocational livelihood strands such as sports, arts, and academic strands when the K-to-12 program’s goal was to make K-to-12 graduates of the TVL track job-ready, and those on the non-TVL track college ready.

“You are not even done with reviewing the senior high school curriculum, so we cannot properly diagnose what is the best way to move forward," said House Appropriations Committee Senior Chairperson Stella Quimbo of Marikina City.

"We have problems with TVL [graduates not being employable],  and now you want to embed TVL in all strands? Including [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education]? That sounds irrational.”

“We have the TVL track because there are students who want to pursue careers that do not require a college degree. Why overlap the TVL with other strands that require a college course? It does not make sense. This is a basic lack of logic,” Quimbo added.

DepEd Director Leila Areola and the Policy and TESDA Policy and Planning Division Chief Linda Andrade both responded that the TVET competencies would only be embedded “where appropriate.”

Areola explained that bookkeeping would be appropriately embedded in the academic strand for Accountancy, Business, and Management; while Andrade said mathematical measurements in TVL could be embedded in the academic strand of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

However, the lawmakers remained skeptical, countering that the joint memos did not address the problem raised by industry as to why K-to-12 graduates of the TVL strand were not being employed - these graduates only had a national certificate  (NC) 1 or NC 2 competency level when employers were looking for individuals with NC 3 competency or those who can exercise limited judgment and discretion.

“Do you think NC 1 is job-ready? The industry is looking for NC 3. NC 1 and NC 2 are novices. NC 1 is ready for regular employment, with the same salary as his or her co-employee who has the same position?” asked House Basic Education and Culture Committee Chair Roman Romulo of Pasig City.

“Ang laki laki ng event, sa Hilton Hotel, five star hotel pa kayo nagpirmahan [ng joint memo]. Puede namang nagkamayan na lang kayo,” Romulo added.

Andrade responded, “NC 1 is enough  for an appropriate job.”

Romulo stressed that the word appropriate “should not be misused.”

For her part, House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro of the ACT Teachers party-list said that the agencies could not get away by saying that the embedding of TVL would be limited to “where appropriate.”

“What do you mean where appropriate? Kung ganyan [na] hindi tayo masagot ng direktahan ng ating mga kasama sa DepEd, we might as well invite the Secretary of Education para siya ang magpaliwanag rito kung ano itong pinasok niyang pirmahan with DOLE, TESDA, CHED,” Castro said.

“This 2024, you are set to release your evaluation of the senior high school curriculum. You are not yet done with the evaluation and yet you are entering into this agreement. Do you understand the confusion you will be bringing to the teachers and students,” Castro added.

House Higher and Technical Education Committee Chair Mark Go of Baguio City, on the other hand, warned the agencies that embedding TVL in all tracks was inefficient.

“You want all tracks embedded with TVL? You are spreading resources too thinly. Why not concentrate on the TVL track? Make them employment-ready as mandated under the K-to-12 program,” Go said.

The joint panel later decided to heed Castro’s call for the agency heads to personally appear in the public hearing for the Batang Magaling Act

“We invited the heads but they sent representatives to this committee hearing. Next time... we reiterate that preferably, we want them to be the ones to represent their respective departments,” Go said.

“We [now] invite all four department heads,” Go added.

Aside from Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, the other heads of agencies invited were CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera Jr., Director General Suharto Mangudadatu of TESDA, and DOLE Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma. — DVM, GMA Integrated News

This article Solons question embedding of TVET in senior high curriculum was originally published in GMA News Online.

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