Press Release
September 28, 2020

Villanueva to TESDA: Involve private sector to hike TESDA enrollment rate from 5%

Senator Joel Villanueva urged the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to allow the private sector to become more involved in its efforts, as the agency needs to revive its enrollment rate which has drastically fallen due to the coronavirus pandemic.

During last week's hearing on the agency's proposed 2021 budget in the Senate, TESDA Director General Isidro Lapeña revealed that they only have 12,393 TVET scholars presently enrolled as of August which is only 5% of their 349,000 target. In his explanation to the senators, Lapeña said that they expect the numbers to improve once the nationwide community quarantine is lifted.

"I'm sure we want to maximize our TESDA training institutions. However, it is a fact that overwhelmingly, ang laki pa rin ng private sector and it is important that we partner with them," said Villanueva, who heads the Senate committee on higher, technical and vocational education.

According to Lapeña, 86% of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is being offered by private technical and vocational institutions (TVIs) while 24% is being offered by TESDA training institutions (TTIs).

Villanueva, who was the director general of TESDA from 2010 to 2015, said that there was clamor for a "genuine public-private partnership" coming from the private TVIs.

"I'm getting a lot of letters from private TVIs from various provinces and I'm concerned that TESDA has not been maximizing its partnership with them. 'Yong scholars po natin ang nalalagay sa alanganin kapag hindi natin ito agad mabigyan ng solusyon. Sana po mapag-usapan ninyo ang mungkahing ito upang makapagtulungan kayo na maiabot sa ating mga scholars ang training na inaasahan nila, lalo na po ngayong may pandemya at marami ang nawalan ng kabuhayan," he said.

The senator likewise voiced his concern regarding TESDA's P687 million in unspent funds from 2019, and urged the agency to look into its capacity to efficiently utilize its funds.

"Since 2019, TESDA has not been able to fully utilize its funds. As of August, only 39% of its allotted funds have been disbursed. 'Yong dilemma lagi ng mga kasamahan natin dito sa Senado ay magagawa ba ng TESDA ang pagbibigay ng scholarships at training para sa mga manggagawa, ma-e-execute ba nila ng buong-buo ang kanilang mga programa, magagamit ba nila ang bilyon-bilyong pondo na inilaan para sa kanila?"

Villanueva advised TESDA to strategize on the disbursement of its budget and look into its capacity to reach its targets, as the agency is also set to tackle the P1 billion additional funding from the recently enacted Bayanihan to Recover as One Law.

"Gusto naming malaman ang strategy for Bayanihan 2 which provides additional funding for the training for work scholarship program (TWSP) and the special training for employment program (STEP), because I think we are also running out of time dito sa pondo na ito," said the senator, who initiated the inclusion of the said funding in the law.

Lapeña assured that the absorptive capacity of public and private TVET institutions is sufficient to implement the mandate of Bayanihan 2 law which aims to provide scholarships for both local workers and overseas Filipino workers who have been displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The P1 billion funding is seen to benefit 41,667 scholars.

For 2021, TESDA is asking for a P13.706 billion funding which is 4.21% higher than this year's P13.152 billion budget.

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