House approves bill on technical-vocational education and training

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THE House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading the “Tulong-Trabaho” bill that will provide free technical-vocational education and training (TVET).

Voting 205-0, the chamber approved House Bill 8139, which seeks to establish a labor force competency competitiveness program that will be funded by the Tulong-Trabaho fund. The fund will also cover “additional financial assistance such as transportation allowance and laboratory fees.”

Its counterpart measure, Senate Bill 1431, had been approved on third and final reading by the chamber as early as May 2017.

For his part, Senator Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva, who authored and sponsored the counterpart measure, welcomed the third reading passage of the bill.

“As the principal author and sponsor of the bill’s counterpart version, we would like to underscore that tech-voc has proven to be a viable option especially for those who want immediate employment. In fact, 7 out of 10 tech-voc graduates easily find decent jobs due to the high demand of skilled workers here and abroad,” Mr. Villanueva said in a statement.

If enacted, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) shall include the Tulong-Trabaho fund in its proposed budget for the General Appropriations Act. Donations from government and non-government organizations may also be received by TESDA, provided it will strictly benefit the qualified recipients.

Further, the bill mandates TESDA to also determine the final list of Selected Training Programs (STPs) that will benefit from the fund. The approved STPs, meanwhile will have to be periodically evaluated by the TESDA Board to determine competency of the funded programs.

Approved STPs will have to undergo a periodical evaluation by the TESDA Board to determine competence of the training programs benefiting from the fund.

Among the standards the Board will be looking into is the passing rate of STPs on the Philippine TVET Competency Assessment and Certification System.

“These recipient-institutions shall ensure that at least 70% of the beneficiaries of the Tulong-Trabaho Fund are able to pass,” the bill stated. — Charmaine A. Tadalan