Villanueva: Over 200,000 TESDA scholarship slots for 2021 still unused
MANILA, Philippines — More than 200,000 slots for scholarships under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) remains unused with less than three months left in 2021.
This was revealed during the Senate’s deliberations on Tesda’s 2022 budget proposal as uncovered by Senator Joel Villanueva who said that despite the 368,874 approved slots for TESDA scholarships, only 158.966 are enrolled, leaving 209,908 slots still unused as of end-September.
Villanueva chairs the Senate committee on higher, technical, and vocational education and served as a former director-general of Tesda.
“As of September 30, ang na-utilize lang is [32.3 percent] of the target learners, and I’m only talking about enrolled… You only have three months left from October to December to utilize it,” he pointed out.
Initially, Tesda’s target was to provide 492,885 scholarship slots to qualified students or applicants.
But incumbent Tesda Director General Isidro Lapeña said the low utilization of scholarship slots was due to restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease or COVID-19.
“The figure is like that because of the community quarantine restrictions but with the relaxation of the community quarantine, then we can speed this up,” Lapeña said.
“In fact, we are rescheduling enrollment and graduation at the same time, because many are waiting for this… but we can do it for the last three months,” he also assured senators.
This was not the first time that Tesda was quizzed over its thin budget utilization.
During the budget deliberations in the House of Representatives, the proposed budget of Tesda was even deferred at one point as some lawmakers marked the agency’s “poor utilization” of and “questionable practices” over its funds.
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