Bridging program pushed to address graduates' skill gaps, online learning issues | Inquirer News

Bridging program pushed to address graduates’ skill gaps, online learning issues

/ 09:02 AM April 13, 2023


childhood development UNICEF report pandemic

 (AFP file photo)

MANILA, Philippines — The government may have to consider a bridging program to help students who graduated at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to sharpen or learn skills necessary for the workplace, Rizal 4th District Rep. Juan Fidel Nograles said on Thursday.

Nograles made the suggestion in response to a Commission on Human Rights (CHR) report that students who relied on distance learning or online classes during the pandemic lacked soft skills needed in real-world scenarios.


What the bridging program can do, according to Nograles is to help students with soft skills like communication and critical thinking.


“The results of the report, while expected, is troubling, and we in government should actively work to address the gaps that have been identified,” he said.

“It might be a good idea for government to provide an avenue where new graduates can fill their skills gaps, including in areas such as communication, teamwork, and critical thinking,” he added.

Nograles said that an extra program or additional units that fresh graduates could take would place them on equal footing with previously laid-off employees, noting that employers like the the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) are now prioritizing experienced workers due to their skillset.

He also noted that the government may also need to identify what industries the fresh graduates are compatible with, to ensure that they fit in the jobs they are taking or applying for.

The lawmaker, chairperson of the House of Representatives’ Committee on labor and employment, said that an inquiry might be called to address the CHR’s worrying findings.

Nograles is not the first lawmaker to sound the alarm on the CHR study.


On Wednesday, Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda and Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro issued separate statements regarding the said issue.

READ: Salceda says pandemic graduates’ hard skills declined too during pandemic

Castro in particular called for an overhaul of the existing K-to-12 system which placed two extra school years for high school students, claiming that the additional curriculum for Senior High School failed to provide skills needed by workers.

 This is in line with the views of many education and career experts, who said in the CHR report that the system has not equipped students with soft skills or personal traits and emotional intelligence.

READ: Castro urges K-12 overhaul due to CHR findings on new grads’ soft skills lack

CHR on Tuesday released a set of findings seeking to highlight the challenges faced by new graduates who finished schooling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the report, the government’s K-to-12 program tries to give senior high school students the much-needed competencies, but “not much attention is given to developing their life and soft skills, which, as the employer participants attest, are equally important in the workplace”.

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READ: Job hunt tough for graduates of ‘pandemic generation’

Aside from that, the CHR report also noted that a lot of graduates lack “job-readiness” — attributed to a lot of factors like the unconventional learning systems adopted during the height of the pandemic, but also to the inadequacy of existing educational programs.

TAGS: CHR, House of Representatives, Students

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