Australia funds training for tech-voc in ARMM
(Last of two parts)
SIMUNUL, Tawi-Tawi—In partnership with the government’s Department of Education (DepEd), Basic Education Assistance for Muslim Mindanao (BEAM) has supported 22 technical-vocational institutions throughout the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) since 2013.
“We piloted under the DepEd. The idea is that before the student drops out, he can acquire a skill,” said Peter Bellen Jr., manager of the BEAM technical-vocational education and training component.
He said the selection of skills to be taught was guided by results of the so-called labor market assessment done in 2013 that identified which skills were the most in demand.
He said the ARMM’s “absorptive capacity” in terms of jobs was dismal. Only three of 100 job seekers could find a job.
We see the prevailing poor economic condition and lack of employable skills among the youth as reasons only a few get jobs in the ARMM,” Bellen said. Security concerns in the region were also a contributing factor, he added.
The BEAM official said they were looking into “leveling up” the program in the next two years, tapping the private sector in the process.
“We would help the Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) so it can develop training standards,” Bellen said.
He added that his organization would also push for private sector development, “contributing to existing small-time entrepreneurs who have the potential to grow and expand.”
“Once these entrepreneurs expand, they can hire more people,” he said.
For the beneficiaries, it was not only about acquiring new skills. Most importantly, it was a tool for empowering them.
“We now see our real worth. We used to think that we were dumb (bobo),” Jaison Sahid, the 18-year-old, said in Filipino.
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