Monday, April 27, 2015

Villanueva: There’s a career in tech-voc

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva enjoined students entering senior high school starting the academic year 2016-2017 under the K to 12 curriculum to get into the technical-vocational-livelihood track as their specialization.

"Tech-voc graduates land in jobs at once, especially those in occupations that are in-demand," Villanueva said.

Citing the 2013 Impact Evaluation Survey of TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) Programs, the TESDA chief noted the improvement on the employability of tech-voc graduates during the Aquino administration.

Employment rate of graduates in the construction sector registered at 78 percent; agriculture and fishery (77 percent); metals and engineering (72 percent); garments (79 percent); processed food and beverages (70 percent); and, health, social and other community development services (71 percent).

"These are tangible results that show bright prospects for graduates of tech-voc. Students can never go wrong in taking this path," Villanueva said.

The K to 12 is a flagship education program of the Aquino administration, which adds two years of senior high school to the current 10-year education curriculum.

In its Basic Education Program midterm report, the DepEd said that 50.6 percent of the incoming senior high school students or about 1.14 million students will take academics and 46.5 percent or about 1.04 million students will get into the tech-voc-livelihood track.

The rest of the incoming senior high school students indicated they will take arts and design (1.4 percent or 32,000 students) and sports (1.4 percent or 32,000 students).
Education Secretary Armin Luistro estimated that for the academic year 2016-2017, there will be 1.2 million to 1.6 million students who will enter Grade 11 and the same number are expected for the academic year 2017-2018.

The four tracks or specializations will be offered to the students when they enter senior high school or Grade 11 under the new curriculum.

According to DepEd, the students will undergo several assessments to determine their interests and strengths. These will include an aptitude test, a career assessment exam, and an occupational interest inventory for high schools, and should help students decide on their specialization.

Villanueva said TESDA programs and courses are continuously being improved and new set of training regulations are being developed for the quality implementation of K to 12.

Technology and livelihood education teachers and supervisors were also required to undergo training to be ready to teach the new batch of students who will take the tech-voc track. (TESDA)

Ferrer calls for end to discrimination against Muslims, women in PH during Clinton awards
Philippine government peace panel chair Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer called for an end to discrimination against Muslims and women in the Philippines in a speech accepting this year’s Hillary Clinton Award for Advancing Women in Peace and Security at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

In her gratitude speech for receiving the award, Coronel-Ferrer said that the Philippine peace process is “informed by the very goals of this award: to protect women against all forms of violence and advance the role of women in attaining peace and security in and outside of their homes.”

She shared that she “speaks especially of the women in the Bangsamoro, who have endured the burden of strife, and who must now secure their places in the public sphere as equal partners in peace and development. “

The award, personally handed by Clinton and Georgetown University president John De Gioia in a luncheon ceremony on April 22, honored Coronel-Ferrer, the Philippine government’s chief negotiator in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The award highlighted her “indefatigable work to bring about peace in the Philippines and for [her] historic role as the first female chief negotiator to sign a comprehensive peace agreement,” said Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, and former US Ambassador for Global Women's Issues.

Coronel-Ferrer negotiated and signed on behalf of the Philippine government the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed with the MILF on March 27, 2014.

Coronel-Ferrer shared the challenges faced by the Bangsamoro peace process after the Mamasapano incident last January 25, which she said included an increase in discrimination against Muslims and women in the Philippines.

“The public discourse slid into bigotry against the Moros, the MILF as well as Muslims in general. Centuries of distrust and hatred resurfaced,” Coronel-Ferrer said.

“As I speak right now, the ceasefire remains in place. But the vision of lasting peace is being shut out by the narrow horizons of certain political elites, and by a public fed with misinformation and driven by prejudices bordering on Islamophobia,” Coronel-Ferrer said.

“And misogyny too,” she added, noting that the tragedy in Mamasapano saw increased discrimination not only against Muslims but also against women.

“If former secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton had been called a ‘funny lady’ in the course of her drive to find peaceful solutions and creative compromises in one area of conflict, I in turn had been called a “dumb bitch,” a traitor and a weak negotiator who bartered away the country to the Muslims/Moros,” Coronel-Ferrer recounted.

Coronel-Ferrer said she does not want her grandchildren "to inherit a country divided by prejudice, dishonored by sexism, and stunted by the narrow vision of members of its political class.”

“Ms Clinton wrote in her book, Hard Choices: “It is the unfortunate reality that women in public life still face an unfair double standard…an outrageous sexism, which shouldn’t be tolerated in any country,”” Coronel-Ferrer said.

“I know only too well how true this is,” she added. “Yet we have gone this far in our peace process. There should be no turning back.”

Coronel-Ferrer underscored the importance of continuing the implementation of the signed CAB, part of which is the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which aims to establish the Bangsamoro region to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“This Agreement will enable MILF combatants and other disenfranchised segments of the Moro population to participate in meaningful autonomous governance,” Ferrer explained.

“It provides a road map for a new set of more democratic, representative and accountable political institutions. It taps diverse modes for delivering socioeconomic programs to decommissioned combatants, the internally displaced and communities long affected by the conflict,” she added.

Ferrer also explained that the CAB, the product of 17 years of negotiations, seeks to “carry out transitional justice,” and “thread together the tattered fabric of social life and heal the wounds of centuries of conflict.”

“The CAB acknowledges a different narrative of our national being, one that would bridge our majority-minority divide toward a shared future where fellow-Filipinos live in peace under one flag in an undivided territory,” she added.

“We hope it will reconcile families, political groups, tribes and communities alienated from each other by prejudice, vendetta and injustice,” Ferrer said.

Coronel-Ferrer is sharing this year’s award with Ambassador Staffan de Mistura, who was appointed in July 2014 by UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon as Special Envoy to the Syria Crisis. De Mistura, a long-time Italian-Swedish diplomat who once served the Italian government, had also served as special envoy to Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq. (OPAPP)

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