Thursday, July 13, 2006

New education system launched

By Aurea Calica
The Philippine Star

President Arroyo launched yesterday a "ladderized" education system (LES) to help more Filipino youths obtain a college degree by taking a combined technical and vocational course.

Under the system, students who take up technical and vocational courses will need fewer units to earn a college diploma.

This way, they will be able to work early and save up for the continuation of their college education.

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director general Augusto Syjuco said the system was simple yet radical and powerful because by the time students graduate, they would have accumulated work experience to gain competitive advantage over

those who completed their degrees in the traditional, uninterrupted span of four years.

"There is no doubt in our minds at TESDA that ladderized education is the solution to poverty, inequality and unemployment. Ladderized education is empowerment because it offers students and workers the opportunity to take control of their lives; to liberate themselves from the shackles of poverty, helplessness and hopelessness," Syjuco said.

TESDA and the Commission on Higher Education have agreed on two implementation modes of the LES to help ease the transition from tech-voc to college courses: credit transfer and embedded technical-vocational education and training (TVET) qualification in ladderized degree programs.

Credit transfer is the recognition and carrying forward of overlapping learning from TVET to higher education while embedded TVET qualification is the process by which a student in a ladderized degree program can earn full TVET qualifications should the student choose to exit from a college program and proceed to a technical-vocational career.

"You start with technical-vocational modules and thereafter will require much less college courses to earn a college diploma," Syjuco said.

He said that for instance, a nursing course under the LES would require students to undergo two years of technical-vocational courses at TESDA-accredited LES schools followed by two more years in nursing proper.

On the other hand, an engineering course will require two years of technical-vocational education and three to four years in engineering proper.

Other courses that offer LES modules are marine transportation, information technology, hotel and restaurant management, agriculture and fisheries, agricultural technology, criminology and technical teacher education.

"As we all know, it is much cheaper to take technical-vocational rather than college courses. Hence, with a more substantial technical-vocational component, your college education will be less expensive that it used to be," he said.

The students who enroll in technical-vocational courses will also rise to a "job platform" so they can start working and earn money to save for their further studies.

For example in the ladderized hotel and restaurant management course, students can start by enrolling in the technical-vocational course housekeeping national certificate II. After completing the course, they can take the competency assessment to qualify for the next job platform as room attendant, chamber maid or public area attendant.

"After reaching each job platform, you can have a better paying job, then continue studying, alternating between work time and study time or working and studying at the same time," Syjuco said.

"The good thing about this ladder is that you can climb it whenever you choose, at your own time and at your own pace. It makes no undue demands on you. You move up as you will, when you want to," he said.

More than 200 educational institutions all over the country have signified interest in becoming partners in the ladderized system.

So far, TESDA and CHED have been authorized to offer ladderized courses.

Mrs. Arroyo honored the college institutions as pioneers of ladderized education and allocated 5,200 training-for-work scholarships for five deserving students in each of their ladderized college degree programs.

These institutions include the Ilocos Sur Community College, Patria-Sabel-Corpuz College, National College of Science and Technology, STI College, La Consolacion College, Western Visayas College, Negros

Oriental State University, Zamboanga State College of Maine Science and Technology, Technological University of the Philippines, Informatics College-Northgate Inc., AMA Computer University and Philippine Women’s University.

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