DepEd-Tesda event at 5-star hotel a waste of money if goals unclear

Romulo: DepEd-Tesda event at 5-star hotel a waste of money if goals unclear

/ 08:38 PM May 13, 2024

Romulo: DepEd-Tesda event at 5-star hotel a waste of money if goals unclear

Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo, chair of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture, presides over a meeting in this file photo taken on Nov. 6, 2023. (Photo from a video posted on the Facebook page of the House of Representatives)

MANILA, Philippines — The recent deal signed by the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) at a luxurious hotel in Pasay City would be a waste of public funds if the objectives are not specified, Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo said on Monday.

Romulo after the hearing of the House of Representatives’ committee on basic education and culture was asked if he thinks money was wasted when two DepEd-Tesda Joint Memorandum Circulars (JMC) — including a deal on integrating technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in all senior high school tracks — was signed at a five-star hotel.

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According to the lawmaker, who heads the said panel, the money would only be wasted if DepEd and Tesda officials cannot answer what they seek to achieve with the JMCs.

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“Well, if they cannot answer why we had a joint memorandum circular, and if the objectives are not clear, and if steps towards providing quality education are not indicated there, then it is a waste of money,” Romulo said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“I was asking why there was a signing event when they were only signing a deal on very general grounds.  That would have been okay if they were able to explain after the signing of the joint memorandum circular that these are the steps we would take to achieve a certain quality of education, to improve the learnings of our youth, those in DepEd schools,” he added.

Last Friday, it was reported that DepEd and Tesda signed the JMCs, with the goal of raising the quality of senior high school graduates under the  technical and vocational livelihood (TVL) track.  It was held at the Hilton Hotel Manila, which sits near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

READ: DepEd, Tesda sign agreement TVET in SHS 

Romulo said he does not have a problem with holding the signing at the hotel, but it seems the answers of the resource persons present at the hearing were ‘evasive’.

The committee chair was referring to the questions raised against Tesda Executive Director El Cid Castillo, whom he asked why Tesda is moving for the inclusion of TVET even in strands where students are being prepared for tertiary education at colleges and universities.

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“So Mr. El Cid is this everything?” Romulo asked, referring to Castillo’s presentation of the JMCs.  “This is it?  And then you had to sign it in the Hilton?  This is it? […] Let’s tackle it one by one, the plan of Tesda is to embed TVET in all strands?”

“Yes Mr. Chair,” Castillo answered.

“In academic strand also?  Okay ah.  And that has been agreed upon already by DepEd?” Romulo asked again, to which Castillo responded in the affirmative.

When the Castillo said that several meetings have already been conducted with DepEd, the Department of Labor and Employment, and the Commission on Higher Education, Romulo asked him if the Tesda even understands the goal of the K to 12 system — which was to provide TVET training to students who refuse to pursue tertiary education, and make them “job-ready”.

“Do you understand what the commitment of K to 12 was, when it was signed into law?  Do you understand what the commitment was, right?  They said when you add the two years, some will be job ready, and the majority will still go to universities and colleges.  So what does Tesda want, everyone would go through TVET, even those who want to pursue universities and college.  Correct?” Romulo asked.

“Yes Mr. Chair, we’ll give them a TVET component Mr. Chair,” Castillo added.

Romulo then turned to Education Assistant Secretary Alma Ruby Torio, who said that adding the TVET component is part of the agency’s review of the K to 12 system — which will form part of the new curriculum if deemed appropriate by DepEd.

But Romulo countered by noting that there is still a possibility that DepEd would reject the very essence of the JMC if they do not see the appropriateness of the TVET program on the senior high strands.

READ: DepEd forms task force to review K-12 program 

“So you have not agreed, as they stated?  Because based on your study, you may not even agree to embed?  So it is possible nga, based on your review, if you find out it is not appropriate, you will not agree that it be embedded?” Romulo asked.

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“Initially Mr. Chair we agreed for the embedment of TVL in the other senior high school tracks but only as appropriate […] Just to qualify Mr. Chair, before we prepared this JMC, we had already an initial study or evaluation on the possible senior high school tracks where TVL can be embedded.  So with the question on why we agreed, we agreed because we see the possibility,” Torio responded.

TAGS: DepEd, Hotel, Roman Romulo, TESDA

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