Press Release
April 13, 2023

Pia: clear career path needed to attract more applicants for guidance counselor posts in DepEd

Highlights of the statements of Senator Pia S. Cayetano at the Education Committee II (EDCOM II) alignment meeting with the Department of Education (DepEd)

Good afternoon, Vice President Sara Duterte and the DepEd team. Just a few reactions and comments. I'd like to echo the concern raised by Congressman and Commissioner Roman Romulo on guidance counselors. Usec. Gina Gonong, you already mentioned it. So we really have to work on that because I think we all recognize it. I am just really echoing that concern that there has to be a clear career path for them to really want to get into this. And I think the time has come for us to be creative in the courses that we will allow to be guidance counselors. Napaka-specific, napaka-limiting ng guidance counselor, samantalang a psych graduate would have, if not more exposure on this. So it's high time that we prioritize this.

The second point I'd like to raise was in the news, I think yesterday, that a survey with employers showed that our graduates lack 'soft skills.' And I think we can all agree, we're mothers, the VP and I once in a while get to talk about our children, many of us are parents here or substitute parents. [We know that] you can't develop these [soft skills] later in life. It's something that comes naturally, if they have that kind of exposure early in life. So how do we do this? I am not proposing that there is a new subject, but I am proposing that it's integrated in every step of the way. Easier said than done, but it also comes with the teachers having the confidence and mindset. I've had the opportunity to discuss with a group of CEOs, and they compared the graduates from the Philippines, Singapore, and other Asian countries. And there is no doubt that Filipino graduates are very hardworking. Number one yan, very hardworking, very reliable. But sometimes or many times daw, the gap is, not even initiative, but [their] confidence, their leadership. So that's something I'd just like to impart with you, because that's what we really want these young people to have, the soft skills. And those soft skills are communication, problem-solving, ability to collaborate - those kinds of skills are really needed.

And then, on behalf of our colleague, Sen. Joel Villanueva, who is not well today, he didn't ask me but I will advocate for him on tech voc. The discussion again earlier was on point, on the direction here. I'll speak from the area of expertise that I [am more familiar]. I can't claim to be an expert but I've had ongoing hearings over the last 12 years on the shortage in healthcare workers. Alam niyo na yan, it's all in the news. We are the breeding ground for the healthcare needs of the world. So how do we address this? Now is not the time for me to go into that, but we need to be prepared to adjust the way we look at our own healthcare workers. Two-year programs, three-year programs, baka kailangan sa tech voc may iba. So it's like ladderized education. We passed that law 10 years ago, when the late father of my seatmate here was still alive. It was his bill when you were in the House, no? So we have a ladderized program, which will allow a student from senior high to.go all the way, whether you go to college or tech voc, to any kind of entry-level worker in any field. I am speaking of healthcare because that's the area that I am studying now. So whether it's nurses, whether it's assistants in the laboratory, whether it's the guidance counselor assistants, there is something that they can do with a 6-month, 1-year, or 2-year, 3-year program. Because if we don't evolve, we will never be able to have the manpower that we need. Even in the education sector, Mr. Chairman, you will recall I am always pushing for the para-teachers, because we are producing more children than teachers. So, if we do not empower other workers, whether they are voluntary parents from the parent-teacher association, we will never have enough and to think that we have a young population. Can you imagine? Tayo na nga ang mayoong young population, and yet we will not be able to meet that need because the ability of other countries to attract our graduates will just get stronger and stronger because they can afford to pay much more. So that's really what I feel we need to be aware of as we develop our curriculum How prepared are they when they finish whether grade 10 or 12? And many industries are prepared to come up with like 3-year programs that start from grade 9 or 10. We have these kinds of tie-ups in Taguig, with IT companies. So grade 9-10, scholar na nila, yang mga IT students na yan. And then they will give them jobs. And if you look at the trend in other countries, that's the trend now as well. Apprenticeship programs instead of college degrees.

And then I will end with my favorite topic, on early education. We really just need to do more. We can see the stark difference with children who get to go to early education, get to attend early education programs. So I just resonate [with] the common observation of both DepEd and our colleagues. Thank you very much, Madame VP and the DepEd family.

News Latest News Feed