THE Asian Development Bank (ADB) said the Philippines needs to upgrade its technical and vocational education training (TVET) system to better adapt to industry developments after the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

The ADB estimated that TVET increases the average labor force participation rate of graduates by 3.2-5.3 percentage points compared to those who did not complete the program, based on a bank report, “TVET in the Philippines in the Age of Industry 4.0.”

However, completing the TVET program does not always result in graduates finding jobs right away. Training was also deemed insufficient in addressing youth underemployment, it said.

“The results suggest that even when TVET leads to employment, this is apparently more likely to be in occupations where workers still desire additional working hours, and look for an additional job or even a new job with longer hours,” it said.

It also noted that employers’ satisfaction with the work performance of TVET graduates declined between 2011 and 2014, particularly in speech and writing skills and their ability to follow rules.

“Skill mismatches limit TVET graduates’ employability and reflect an inability to keep the training curriculum, course offerings, and training equipment relevant for the job market,” it added.

The ADB said the Philippine labor market should brace for structural transformation and job displacement brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as well as the adverse impact of the economic downturn on jobs and wages. — Beatrice M. Laforga