MANILA, Philippines – The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) has initiated a review of its vocational training programs as part of its adoption of the so-called K-12 (Kindergarten to 12 years), the Aquino administration’s flagship education program.
Tesda Director General Joel Villanueva said the agency would update its courses in line with K-12, a program that adds two years to the current 10-year basic education cycle to give high school students time for specialized training.
Led by the Department of Education, the implementation of K-12 is being introduced by phase, with the first graduates of the 12-year cycle expected in March 2018.
Under the program, students would spend two years in senior high school to specialize in their chosen field, be it vocational training, music and the arts, agriculture or sports. The government hopes K-12 would produce qualified graduates ready for employment with a high school diploma or prepared for college.
“The introduction of K-12 is a major educational reform that impacts not only on basic education but also on technical education and skills development and higher education,” Villanueva said in a statement.
“We recognize that Tesda has an important role to play in the K-12 reform initiative and under the leadership of DepEd, we affirm our commitment to make it work and succeed,” he added.
Villanueva said K-12 would bring together parallel efforts of Tesda, DepEd and the Commission on Higher Education with regard to skills training, seen as a critical growth area with the continuing rise of the business process outsourcing industry in the Philippines.
Under the program, K-12 graduates who took up vocational training may undergo Tesda certification. Villanueva said this would “mainstream” Tesda programs in basic education and prompt it “to further improve its learning infrastructure.”
“It becomes imperative for Tesda to move up and focus toward the development and implementation of higher-level qualifications,” said Villanueva.
K-12 aims to level the Philippine basic education cycle with the rest of the world, where 12 years from elementary to high school has long been the standard.
DepEd started implementing the program through the institutionalization of free universal kindergarten in public schools. This June, DepEd will introduce a new curriculum for Grade 1 and First Year high school.