Rosanna A. Urdaneta, MBA
TVET Responding to the Challenges of Industry 4.0 and the New Normal and Beyond
Thank you very much for such a beautiful introduction. First and foremost, I would like to extend my thanks to the organizers specially to the UST Alumni Association, Inc., the UST Graduate School Center for Continuing Professional Education and Development for this invitation to this webinar. I am really very glad to be with you today my fellow alumni in this gathering. I am also a UST graduate. It is not very often that i get to be with my fellow and to be with my beloved alma mater, the institution that has molded me and hold me to what I am today, virtually this time although. To the Dean of the UST Graduate School, Professor Michael Vasco; fellow panelist Secretary Ramon Lopez, boss in TESDA; USec Tonisito Umali; Dr. Alberto Fenix, a champion and advocate of TVET also; our moderator Professor Emmanuel Batoon; fellow UST alumni, colleagues and friends who are present in this webinar, a good and pleasant day to all..
Let me start my presentation by giving a short context, although most of us already know about this. There are several trends that are affecting the world of work and this includes technology advancement. We at TESDA have this particular challenge that if we come up with training regulations, competency standards, by the time we finish a training regulation, the technology is already obsolete. That is really the basic challenge we face when doing training regulations in TESDA. The shifting paradigm of jobs and tasks, demographics, climate change and impact of Covid-19. Let me focus on the Covid-19. Let me focus on the Covid-19 pandemic. We will agree that it has indeed changed the way we do things, such as in education , work and entertainment. Two years ago, we never imagined with the use of online and virtual platforms for conferences would be very efficient and effective. Before, I don’t usually do this, I want to travel. So as much as possible, we travel a lot in TESDA for us to be able to really have meetings even outside of the country or outside of Metro Manila because we are happy to travel. Although right now it is very easy to do a webinar. Like this webinar we’re having, now we have gotten used to this type of set up already. The Covid-19 has in fact focused us to really embrace the 4th industrial revolution. It has forced to adapt us to the 4th industrial revolution. We see that Covid-19 demonstrated the importance of digital readiness among us, especially our learners and workers. And technical vocational education and training play a pivotal role in helping industries and workers stay competitive in this volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, or what is known as VUCA world. Since this is my first time to speak in the UST with many educators and professors in the audience, I would like to take this opportunity to advocate the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF), which was institutionalized to Republic Act 10968 in 2017. The Philippine Qualifications Framework is a national policy that describes the levels of educational qualifications and sets the standards for qualification station outcomes. It is a quality-assured national system for the development. recognition and award of qualification based on standards of knowledge, skills and values acquired in different ways and methods by learners and workers in the country. We had this evaluated, the PQF, by the World Bank. And one of the issues and challenges that arose is how we will be able to popularize the Philippine Qualifications Framework; how one will want to appreciate this particular framework, and what is in it for government, academe, industry if we have a Philippine Qualifications Framework. We should all note that the implementation of the PQF should be supported by other policies and laws related to education and labor. For most of this is the ladderization act. So, we are not only looking at the PQF but also the ladderization act, because it would be the one that will establish credits and pathways within the PQF in the context of lifelong learning which will provide or weave the whole education and training system continuum. My hope is that UST would also have a ladderized program (like TVET) which is also towards higher education. We would also observe in most cases that TVET is not considered as part of the education sector because of its tradualling role both in education and labor. But with the PQF, which is the main objective of supporting academic and worker mobility, TVET is very well situated. As defined by UNESCO and ILO, TVET refers to aspects of the educational process involving in addition to general education the study of technologies and related sciences and the acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge relating to occupants in various sectors of economic and social life. The knowledge, skills, attitude and degrees of competence for TVET are defined in levels 1 to 5 of the PQF descriptor. Let me now proceed to TESDA’s national policies and initiatives to respond to Industry 4.0 and other technological and global disruptions. As the TVET authority in the country, TESDA ensures that the TVET sector responds to the requirements of the industry and the world of work. We have serious engagement within TESDA when we come up with training regulations even to the point of planning and prioritization of what particular qualifications will be our priority; the industry is with us already. Especially in the development of training regulations, even development of training packages, the industry is with us. Because we realized that these disruptions we are facing and because of Industry 4.0 in the pandemic, we really need the industry. This we could only do with the support of all our stakeholders in education. Of course the government, the industry, the labor sector and the academe, and that includes higher education institutions such as the University of Santo Tomas. As a TVET authority, we laid down a national policy in which all the TVET programs and initiatives are anchored. It has always been thought that TESDA is only a training center, but we are an Authority. And being an authority, we are in the law of TESDA, we are really the one who comes up with the National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan (NTESDP). This has been the blueprint for the TVET sector in the Philippines for the perusal of not just TESDA but all of our stakeholders including other government agencies, industries, employers as well as you (academe). The NTESDP has a goal of vibrant quality TVET for decent work and sustainable inclusive growth. So it’s two-pronged strategic direction: TVET for global competitiveness and workforce readiness and TVET for social equity and poverty reduction. Likewise, we have developed the TVET 4.0 framework which is anchored on the NTESDP in ensuring that we prepare the workforce for the 4th Industrial Revolution. We said that in order for us to have an equipped learner, our equipped learned must have STEM related skills, essential skills, emotional skills. So with TVET being part of the education system, our focus is of course the learner. The future of Jobs Report 2018 by the world economic forum mentioned that executives prefer employees with critical thinking and collaboration skills even now more than with technical skills. This framework basically shows the different actions we can take at various levels to maximise the opportunities brought by the 4th Industrial Revolution. It contains specific measures to ensure the right competencies are imparted to boost learners and of course those that will take on the learning process which are the trainers and institutions. All of these initiatives serve as a guide for both public and private TVET providers alike to ensure they produce 4th IR already learners, trainers, assessors and ensure that their TVET institutions and programs are a par with the 4th Industrial Revolution standards. Let me also share our priority initiatives which I would also like for higher education institutions and all our stakeholders to take a closer look and of course to give your support. First, TESDA has recently approved its policy on area-based and demand driven TVET which would make sure the TVET programs are responsive to the critical needs defined by the industries and employers in order to produce rightfully skilled workers in a specific area or locality. This is also to align our growing skills supply with the shifting skills demand. It has been said before that there’s a mismatch, so we are now trying to really provide a venue or a platform in which we would really want our stakeholders, to listen to our stakeholders and tell us what are the skills, the knowledge and the attitudes that we should be or must be providing and integrating in all our training regulations. The Flexible Learning Delivery à we also have our flexible modes of learning delivery wherein the implementing guidelines issued by TESDA allows TVET schools to utilize any of the following training delivery modes: distance learning, face-to-face, online learning and blended learning. Choosing a particular training delivery will depend on the capacity of the school and the capability of trainers and also takes into consideration the learners’ access to resources and technology. TESDA Online Program à the next initiative, the TESDA Online Program o TOrP, has been our lifeblood during the height of the community quarantine imposed in the country last year. Like I said, together with Netflix, we are the top grosser during the quarantine period. When schools are closed nationwide, we had to find a way to continue delivering our quality TVET programs to all Filipinos. That is why we made concerted efforts to quickly strengthen the capacity of the TESDA online program to be able to cater to more Filipinos nationwide and the overseas Filipino workers to offer more relevant TVET courses. The TOP currently offers 101 free online courses across a variety of sectors and some in partnership with other institutions. The TOP has been online since 2012 but its user base doubled since March 2020 when community quarantines first went into effect in the country. That is 2.8 million users since 2012 with 1/2 or 1.4 million new users during this Covid-19 period. To further enhance the TOP, we are also looking to integrate its program offerings in the course offerings of our TESDA-run schools. We will convert it as a learning management system and we shall also be coming up with regional learning management system for the utilization of all our TESDA schools and TESDA training centers. We are now also in the process of finalizing our guidelines in recognizing an individual’s learning acquired through non-formal or informal means. This is especially important as we understand that there are individuals who are experts in their respective fields and are up to par or even beyond the standards set by the training regulations promulgated by TESDA. Through the recognition of prior learning, we hope to bring proper and official recognition to these individuals in order to boost their employment prospects. We have also recently issued the guidelines on micro-credential. Micro-credentialing offers a new way of certifying a portfolio of skills; recognizing small and discreet learning as well as credentialing existing knowledge and skills that are transferable across jobs in order to navigate the future of work. It is essentially small credentials which recognise the achievement of a skill, skillset or knowledge that is required by industry, professional associations or the community. They are also referred to as bite-size programs, nano-degrees, badges for stackable micro-degrees. A micro-credential certificate can be gained through institutional assessment, RPL or Recognition of Prior Learning, or recognition of current competency. Micro credential courses are also easier and faster to develop, allowing faster response to the changing demands of the workplace and complements the area base demand-driven strategy in TVET. Likewise, we have also started our work of the development of a skills passport system which will further improve in which our learners and the Filipinos in general can avail TESDA scholarship programs and at the same time encourage them to continuously undertake additional learning activities in the context of lifelong learning. We also have our TVET innovation conceptual framework which is our blueprint for modernizing and upgrading our TVET institutions nationwide. Basically it will annex our regional TVET innovation center in our TESDA run schools and will have the components on an authentic learning environment, experience for learners, research and development and entrepreneurships component incorporated in TVET offerings. Higher level TVET programs including new and emerging technologies and of course establishment of close partnership with the industry for the industry practitioners to become mentors in the authentic work environment or the innovation center. Development of higher-level qualifications à lastly, we have issued our guidelines of course on the pilot implementation and development of the alignment of TQF level four and TQF levels four and five. We have already have our diploma course running and now we are now trying to deal with the new blend and Sydney Accord accreditation process. The development of higher TVET qualifications would mean we are able to develop technologies. The main objective of this is to support the government and the private sector in enhancing the Philippines global competitiveness to the development of highly competitive and innovative Filipino workforce. With this, again I encourage my fellow alumni in the UST and all our colleagues in the academe to advocate and look into pursuing and offering TVET qualifications in your institutions especially in your engineering programs and architecture. We need the practical side in TVET in order to produce well-rounded engineering professionals. Now that we are at the tail end of the fourth cycle of the National TESD Plan and we are now moving forward to the fifth cycle of the ground works for the preparation and development of the National TESD Plan, we will again gain us guidance which will again give us guidance for the medium term. In order for our workers, enterprises, and by extension our economy, to be resilient to the future shocks on the 4th IR, and since the 5th IR in fact the Japan government is already looking into this and other potential disruptions, we should be focusing on the following things or priorities for the next cycle of the NTESDP. Of course we have to come up with a new mindset and , adapting critical thinking and innovativeness to adapt to the new normal and the 5th Industrial Revolution. We have always been telling ourselves it’s okay for face-to-face, but we need to change our mindset that face-to-face is just one among those delivery mechanisms that we shall be using in the 4th IR and the 5th IR because we should strengthen our digital capacity especially for all our trainors and instructors. Capacity in developing and delivering flexible training, we have to develop more blended modules as well as expand our TESDA online program. We have to re-skill and upskill existing workers and new entrants to the world of work for them to be able to bounce back. This is also our contribution to the MSMEs and of course to the national employment strategy, revitalization of employment. Re-style TVET, as the world of work is drastically changing, shifting to remote or hybrid forms of work so thus TVET need to be transformed as well. TVET delivery should focus on industry and academe partnership and collaboration. Again thank you all, thank you very much for the invitation, keep safe and God bless us all.