PH needs education blueprint to boost workers skills — Villanueva

MANILA, (PNA) — Former Secretary Joel “TESDAMAN” Villanueva vowed to push for the passage of a Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF), which will institutionalize a seamless education and training towards employment, if he succeeds in his bid to become senator in the May 2016 elections.

Villanueva, former Director General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), said that gargantuan tasks are ahead in reforming the education system to rise to the challenges of the 21st century.

“The K to 12 system is just the tip of the iceberg of what we wanted to happen insofar as transforming our education curriculum is concerned,” he said.

“The PQF will finally harmonize and weave together basic education, technical-vocational education and higher education into a unified, quality-guaranteed system,” he added.

Villanueva said he has drafted a bill, which would be one of the first few measures he would file if he is elected in the Senate.

“For example, a tricycle driver studies and finishes a tech-voc course in small engine repair, and then establishes his own repair shop. After a few years, he decided he wanted to pursue his studies to be an engineer. The college or university should evaluate his credential in the tech-voc school as a mechanic and credits the relevant subjects when he pursues college,” he explained.

“When he graduates as an engineer and gets a license, his license should be one that would be recognized when he works abroad, say, in Singapore or Thailand.”

“That’s the value of the PQF. This is big dream for the education sector, and I want to push it,” Villanueva said.

Throughout the world, raising skills levels, reforming education and training curriculum and improving qualifications are among the priorities.

One key concern is strengthening the relationship between education and training systems on one hand, and the labor markets, on the other. Qualification frameworks are eyed as useful policy to achieve this goal.

In 2012, President Benigno Aquino III issued Executive Order No. 83, establishing the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF), which harmonizes basic education, technical-vocational education and higher education into a nationwide schedule of skills and competencies.

The order details the functions and the composition of a National Coordinating Committee (NCC), establishment of a secretariat and the participation of the industries in the formulation of the learning standards.

Republic Act 10647 or the Ladderized Education Act of 2014 also made mention of the objectives of the PQF and the composition of the NCC and its role in implementing the law.

“We want a law on the Philippine Qualifications Framework to institutionalize it and make it inherent in the Philippine education system,” Villanueva said, adding that adequate appropriation should also be in place to allow the NCC to fulfill its functions.

Villanueva said the PQF will have the following objectives:

a. Adoption of national standards and levels for outcomes of education;

b. Supporting the development and maintenance of pathways and equivalencies, which provide access to qualifications and assist people to move easily and readily between the different education and training sectors and between these sectors and the labor market; and

c. Alignment with international qualifications framework to support the national and international mobility of workers through increased recognition of the value and comparability of Philippine qualifications.

He also proposed the establishment of the Philippine Qualifications Framework-National Coordinating Council to be composed of the Secretary of the Department of Education, Secretary of the Department of Labor, Chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education, Director General of TESDA, and the Chairperson of the Professional Regulations Commission.

“Education in the 21st century would be global. Our students deserve a system that would help them succeed,” Villanueva said.

Villanueva is running for senator under a platform of TESDA (Trabaho, Edukasyon, Serbisyo, Dignidad, Asenso).(PNA)