LEARNING systems in the Philippines must be aligned with job market demands to build up a more robust workforce, particularly for the manufacturing sector, Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said on Monday.
“We encourage employers to upskill workers. But we also recognize aligning systems of learning as equally important,” he said during the launch of the Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Alliance (AMDev) Program in Biñan, Laguna.
“With around 790,000 Filipino graduates annually, companies should find it promising to readily recruit smart, young, and productive workforce for their manufacturing operations,” he said.
The AMDev, initiated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Unilab Foundation, is a five-year public-private partnership that aims to improve the capacity of the country’s education system to meet changing work requirements.
The program aims to develop a highly skilled and adaptive workforce pipeline that meets the requirements of the advanced manufacturing sector, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
“Crucial to manufacturing development is advancing our workforce pipeline, so we fully support and will continue to support AMDev. Preparing our workforce for the future is essential, as it is one of DTI’s strategic priorities,” Mr. Pascual said.
One of AMDev’s key activities is the establishment of the Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AMI), which will be operationalized by Amherst Laboratories, Inc, Belmont Softgel Pharma Corporation, Fastech Advanced Assembly, and Western Digital.
The AMDev’s government partners include the DTI, the Commission on Higher Education, Department of Finance, Department of Science and Technology, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
“Through AMDev, the Filipino workforce will have the opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge that will further strengthen the competencies of the country’s manufacturing sector,” the DTI said.
Meanwhile, the US government has signed a partnership with American non-profit research institute RTI International and Philippine-based Knowledge Channel Foundation, Inc. (KCFI) to improve the reading skills of Filipino children through radio and television resources.
“It is our fervent hope that this work will encourage practitioners and teachers to be knowledgeable, skillful, and insightful as we all work together to the care and education of young children,” Education Finance Undersecretary Annalyn M. Sevilla said in a statement released by the US Embassy in Manila on Monday.
Beginning March 13, the KCFI will regularly broadcast learning materials to instill the love for reading among children in kindergarten to grade three levels.
The program is expected to help young students master the four macro literacy skills — listening, reading, speaking, and writing — as it seeks to address gaps in Philippine education and promote multimedia learning resources.
The World Bank last year tagged the Philippines as among the worst in the region in learning poverty, with nine of 10 Filipinos unable to read and understand short, age-appropriate texts by age 10.
“We thank KCFI for its interest in our initiative and desire to promote learning and access to education, particularly for the most vulnerable and marginalized children,” USAID Philippines Deputy Mission Director Rebekah Eubanks said in the statement. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave and Alyssa Nicole O. Tan