TESDA ties up with telcom giants for use of mobile technology in training

MANILA, (PNA) –The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has lifted the veil on its fresh collaboration with key partners to advance technical vocational education and training (TVET) in the country with the use of mobile technology and the Internet.

Up to one million out-of-school youths are expected to gain from the project designed to make access to TVET easier through the mobile media, according to the agreement signed by TESDA, the Department of Education, and telecommunications providers Globe Telecom, Smart Communications Inc. and Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc.

The project was initiated by the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) to help push its global mEducation project aimed at accelerating the adoption of mobile education solutions, particularly mobile-enabled portable devices such as e-Readers and tablets.

“Mobile technology is a tool with educational potential, and we are taking advantage of this to expand the reach of technical vocational education, especially among the poor youths,” Secretary Joel Villanueva, TESDA director general said.

Filipinos are among the world’s top users of mobile phones because they are available and because they connect them to their loved ones and friends.

Villanueva said that TESDA is committed to understanding how mobile technology can support students, trainers and the entire education system, particularly where educational opportunities are scarce.

“We are living in a digital age, and to help out trainees and trainers get ahead, we must ensure they have access to cutting-edge technology,” Villanueva added.

The memorandum of understanding, signed on September 25, called for the parties to “establish and expand a framework cooperation … to develop mutually beneficial programs, projects and activities in the area of mobile education.”

“The parties are committed to developing the potential of mobile education with the purpose of advancing the equitable impact that mobile education, teaching, and learning can have on the population, including those under-served areas such as low-income, disadvantaged, and geographically isolated communities,” it added.

Maria Susan Dela Rama, executive director of TESDA Planning Office and project manager of e-TESDA, said representatives of the parties would soon sit down to plan and develop specific projects covered by the agreement.

“For TESDA, we are thinking of developing small modules that can be downloaded from any mobile device,” Dela Rama said.

Currently, the agency runs the TESDA Online Program (TOP) that offers vocational courses to Filipinos, including those abroad, through the internet.

“Mobile services and the Internet are indeed helping institutions break the monotony and reach out to students, and projects such as this are finding ways of building programs that can function as part of the classroom,” Villanueva said.

The memorandum of understanding was signed by Villanueva for TESDA, Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Gil Genio for Globe Telecom Inc., Napoleon Nazareno for Smart Communications Inc., and Charles Lim for Digitel Mobile. GSMA, represented by Irene Ng, witnessed the signing.

The GSMA gathers together and represents the interest of mobile operators in more than 220 countries. It has for its members nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators with 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organizations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities.