The “TESDA and COCOPEA Dialogue Session” yesterday was scheduled from 1:OO p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Tandang Sora Hall of the TESDA Women’s Center in Taguig. Despite the excruciating traffic, people came, and the dialogue actually went from about 1:40 pm to 4:30 p.m., ending with an agreement to form a working COCOPEA-TESDA Task Force to try to better understand the implications of educational reform on TESDA and the Private Educational Sector.
The dialogue that had been requested by COCOPEA soon after the start of the Aquino Administration had been repeatedly postponed, allowing dialogues first to take place between COCOPEA and DepEd and COCOPEA and CHED. It began yesterday with a Power Point presentation on the “REAL DEAL” program of TESDA under its new leadership, a helpful thing indeed, since the handsomely-printed, glossy handout was the TESDA Annual Report of 2008 under its former Director General Boboy Syjuco.
The current, youthful Director General and former congressman, Joel Villanueva, came in late, was formally introduced to each participant by name and institution, then, as he said good politicians do, greeted each participant by name and institution reading from the attendance sheet, and even arranged a special intra-session photo opportunity n the same spirit. Bottom line was his declaration that he had already met with DepEd Sec. Armin Luistro and CHED Chair Dr. Patricia Licuanan and was extending TESDA’s full support to the K+12 educational reform. As to the actual shape this support would take, he demurred to take position, stating he did not want to speculate.
Of course, the burden of the dialogue was to try to understand the manner in which that support would be given, and particularly how TESDA would work with the private sector educational institutions in this reform. Here, there were unclear issues as to TESDA’s role in authorizing, accrediting and certifying learning activities in COCOPEA schools, as well as the extent they would go in a massive program of teacher training. Here, I suggested a bit of speculation would be helpful – as a first step towards planning.
TESDA said that it would maintain its established standards, and would be ready to help wherever Technical Vocational Training (TVET) session.
I think that the exciting dialogue partner in TESDA shall be Dr. Milagros Dawa-Hernandez, the Deputy Director General, for the future-looking vision of a borderless, seamless educational system that is shot through with competency-based technical vocational education, within a Philippine National Competency Framework, sensitive to the demands of the labor market, and very, very flexible.
That, of course, is a little scary to more mainstream educational planners who tend to take for granted that there is always a market out there for good education and like to plan on and invest in programs for the long term. We’ve been having enough “market” headaches with our nursing graduates from a demanding tertiary-level course, who also pass a difficult national board exam, for whom the fickle market has not provided the predicted jobs. What will now happen when the mainstream educational system through the Senior High School, or better, the Career Academy, commits to train students with tech voc enhanced courses who shall be ready for employment and marriage after graduating from K+12?
For Dr. Vince Fabella and myself it is clear we need good information in order to be able to plan our institutions investments as a result of – or better, in anticipation of – the implementation of K+!2. With all the friendly back patting that is taking place in support of K+12, we don’t have the information yet. The newly formed COCOPEA-TESDA Task force shall have a ball trying to figure out the details.
Who said the devil is in the details? Overcome the devil, and we will reach heaven!