730,000 TESDA Scholars Will Take Tech,, Voc Training This Year

Zamboanga City – THE Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is earmarking P1.4-billion this year for scholarship grants under its training-for-work and private education student financial assistance programs, said Roger C. Peyuan, the agency’s deputy director-general for field operations.

The fund targets 730,000 student grantees this year. Some P350-million will be allocated for at least 48,000 students who are studying in business process outsourcing industry, such as call center agents, computer programmers and digital designs, and medical and legal transcriptionists.

The rest of the funds will go to students who are planning to work in construction, agriculture and fisheries; processed food and beverages; tourism, decorative crafts, metals and engineering, furniture and fixtures, garments, electronics, maritime sector; health, social, and other community development services, automotive, land transport, heating/ventilation/ air conditioning- refrigeration, and footwear.

The scholarship grants range from a minimum of P5,000 to P30,000 per student, said Gaspar Solis Gayona, executive director of the TESDA’s Development Institute. These practical courses lessen job mismatch, enhance protection of workers, and provide livelihood and entrepreneurial options for Filipino workers, he stressed.

Last year TESDA was able to grant scholarships to around 6,000 students.

Through its “Training for Work Coupon”, which was launched in the middle of 2006, TESDA is distributing “work coupons” or scholarships training certificates for applicants.

Gayona said the P1.4-billion is expected to triple as local government units in the country have committed, through a memorandum of agreement with TESDA, to give some of their local funds to TESDA’s scholarship program.

“We are looking at the investment being put up by the 168 Congress persons all over the country that is ranging from P1-million to P20-million. We have local governments who are also entrusting funds to us, notably the cities of Quezon and Manila, to the tune of P40 million and P30 million, respectively,” Peyuan told PeaceWorks.

He said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also gave another P1.4-billion for TESDA to be equipped with mobile training centers and for the improvement of its existing training centers. Peyuan said the mobile training center, which is in the form of a bus, will be equipped with computers, automotive, wielding and other training facilities.

“The buses will go to communities in far-flung towns in the country so that local residents need not go to our training centers, ” he said. “TESDA is looking to allocate at least two buses per region and also we are improving our TESDA schools. We have already reorganized our schools into a system by reducing our 125 schools into 36 systems.”
He said these program will help ensure that Filipono workers will be globally competitive in terms of training and quality of work.

TESDA officials were here last February 27 to attend the three-day 1st Western Mindanao TVET-industry (technical-vocational education and training) Conference.

Roberto R. Braga, president of Zamboanga City Association of Private Technology Institutions, said private technical-vocational education and training schools are strengthening their collaboration with TESDA.

“Since establishing technical-vocational education and training center is costly, we are looking at creating an agreement with TESDA, particularly its scholarship grant, to guarantee us a number of students for us to sustain our investments,” he told PeaceWorks.

An agreement was signed between five private TVET school associations in Zamboanga Peninsula, the Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc., Industrial Groups of Zamboanga, the Department of Labor and Employment and TESDA. The agreement aims to enhance each institution’s and government agencies’ support in technical-vocational education, while the industry sector will provide employment to trained students.

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