K-12 STUDENTS at a high school in Marikina City during their in-person graduation ceremony on July 2, 2022. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ WALTER BOLLOZOS

By Beatriz Marie D. Cruz, Reporter

A BILL seeking to establish “councils” to match high school graduates with potential job opportunities has been filed at the House of Representatives.

House Bill (HB) No. 9808, filed by Las Piñas Rep. Camille A. Villar, is a counterpart measure to Senate Bill No. 2367, originally filed by Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian. The proposed Batang Magaling Act has yet to be approved on second reading.

Under the measure, “Batang Magaling” councils would be mandated to conduct studies on demands in the labor market every three years. Information gained from the study will be used to update and align the school’s curriculum and work immersion programs to the demands of the labor market.

The bill seeks to ensure that “senior high school graduates are equipped with knowledge, training and skills demanded in the labor market, whether they have chosen the higher education, middle-level skills development employment, or entrepreneurship.”

The national council will be composed of representatives from the Education and Labor  departments, as well as the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

It will also include three national industry players, one labor group, and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines.

Local councils would also be established with at least two local industry players as well as the   local school boards.

“The industry partners are enjoined to rethink and review their hiring policies and job requirements to provide employment opportunities, such as entry-level positions, to senior high school graduates,” according to a copy of the bill.

Industry partners with training expenses for Work Immersion Programs will be granted an additional item of deduction from their taxable income under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.

Congressmen have yet to pass House Bill No. 7893, the proposed Education Pathways Act, where a Grade 10 student may either enroll in senior high school to pursue a college degree or take a technical and vocational (tech-voc) course.

The private sector prefers to hire college or university graduates over those who finish K-12, citing the lack of job readiness of graduates of Grade 12, Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) CEO Conference Committee Chairperson Alma Rita R. Jimenez told a House of Representatives committee last year.