K - 12 Plus News: Landmark agreements on Tech-Voc education and training

PH, Germany launch landmark agreements on Tech-Voc education and training

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 12:00 AM    

The Philippines and Germany have launched the Dual Training as Extension of the Education Reform Initiative K to 12 of the Philippines (K-12 Plus) program, which will pursue innovative dual training approaches in Metro Manila and the Central Visayas for the tourism, construction, manufacturing, electronics and microfinance sectors.

During President Benigno S. Aquino III's official visit to Berlin last month, the Philippines and Germany signed two agreements on technical and vocational education and training (TVET). The visit is part of the government's effort to improve the Filipino workers' competitiveness.

Initially, Philippine and German companies will work with Chambers of Commerce and schools to develop education and training curricula that are relevant to today's business realities.

The pilot program set in Metro Manila and Central Visayas is under the Joint Declaration of Intent, a comprehensive bilateral framework for cooperation on TVET between the two countries. The signing was witnessed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, TESDA's Villanueva and high-ranking German officials, including Philippine Ambassador to Germany Maria Cleofe R. Natividad and German Ambassador to the Philippines Thomas Ossowski. 

According to Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary Joel Villanueva, "we hope to beef up our dual training system and make it a sustainable program, especially for the youth. We will attain this by strengthening our advocacy and encourage more TVET institutions and companies to adopt this system" to address youth unemployment and underemployment.

To boost TESDA's capabilities, Secretary Villanueva and Dr. Friedrich Hubert Esser, President and concurrent professor at the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), also signed a Cooperation Agreement on TVET.

The Bonn-based BIBB is a German and international center of excellence for research on vocational education and training and the progressive development of VET.

While previous cooperation has been relatively ad hoc and resulted in stand-alone projects, Ambassador Natividad stressed that this time, "[the] framework agreement creates an institutional partnership between the Philippines and Germany, with both sides prioritizing TVET cooperation as part of our economic and development cooperation agenda." 

Under the current framework, both countries will jointly identify initiatives that will further integrate dual training in the Philippine educational system, deepen engagement with the private sector, enhance the attractiveness of TVET among the general public, and improve the TVET quality assurance framework.

Ambassador Natividad also said that "vocational training is the core of the ‘Made in Germany' brand and has been indispensable in securing a supply of skilled workers that has given the German economy a competitive edge. The Philippines is in the process of a major educational reform initiative, which will align our educational system with international standards."

The Philippine official also said that working with Germany, "we aim to have student trainees spend a significant portion of their time in the workplace accessing state of the art technology to hone their craft," adding that by having the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI) and German companies partner with local counterparts, "I am confident that we will be able to strengthen our own educational system and produce a better qualified and more competitive workforce."

This view was echoed by Secretary Villanueva, saying "each year, some 60 percent of German school-leavers choose to enter the dual system, ensuring that in Germany young people are integrated into the labor force with a degree of success almost unparalleled in Europe."

He also said that the "challenge we face in skills development is the need to increase permeability of TVET, [and] since the issues in TVET are now global in nature, the more we should consider external support in the design of our training programs," adding that outputs from monitoring and research would not only address current labor market needs, but would also allow TESDA to identify future trends in program development and adoption of new technologies.

The multi-stakeholder K-12 Plus initiative, includes the support of the Department of Education, TESDA, German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Cebu Chamber of Commerce, Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) Foundation, AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development, German International Cooperation (GIZ), German Savings Bank Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC), DEG (KfW), Sequa, and the German Confederation of Skilled (DFA).Source: http://www.science.ph/full_story.php?type=News&key=122380:ph-germany-launch-landmark-agreements-on-tech-voc-education-and-training