By Beverly T. Natividad - Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines -- In a bid to reduce what some call a mismatch between available jobs and the products of the country’s education system, the Department of Education now wants to make mandatory the taking of the National Career Assessment Exam (NCAE) by Filipino students.
In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer last Thursday, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said that the department is now working on a bill to this effect and, at the same time, is looking for a sponsor at the lower house to facilitate its passage.
“We are preparing to file a bill to have it (NCAE) legislated and therefore, mandatory,” said Lapus.
The NCAE, he said, is one of his attempts towards changing the mind-sets of Filipinos who think that only a college diploma -- albeit stemming from a college education that is not compatible with their capabilities -- is the only way to have a productive work career.
“We are too fixated on this [college diploma], while other countries are not,” said Lapus.
The DepEd’s NCAE was given last January 17 to about 1.4 million fourth year high school students in 10,148 high schools nationwide. These examinations are intended to help students decide what courses to pursue in college or seek vocational education instead.
The results of the January examinations, said Lapus, show that the bulk of the takers have stronger inclinations and aptitudes for technical-vocational programs, and are therefore fit to pursue careers other than those based on a four-year college degree.
DepEd data showed that out of the almost 1.4 million high school students that took the NCAE, about 54% or 711,526 students scored high for technical-vocational programs.
Lapus said the DepEd has already started to strengthen its Technical-Vocational Education Curriculum in secondary schools in order to respond to these results. Technical-vocational curriculum focuses on skills development to prepare the students for employment after school.
The DepEd’s technical-vocational program covers various areas of specialization such as in arts and trade, agriculture and fishery.
Nearly 1.8 million high school students are expected to take the next NCAE on August 28, 2007.