The pandemic has changed a lot of things and fast tracked the digitalization of businesses and boosted the digital economy. Thus, today’s workforce must be ready not only to face the challenges of the future, but to also adapt to this evolving world.
In the Philippines, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is tasked as the government’s chief steward to help Filipinos become a globally-competitive workforce. With this, TESDA partnered with social enterprise Bayan Academy, and supported with the valuable assistance of financial giant J.P.Morgan, to conduct a series of consultative forums to evaluate its organizational design, identify strengths and weaknesses, and deliver critical internal reforms.
A recent forum entitled "Organizational, Diagnosis, Design, and Development of TESDA” officially concluded the four-session seminar. The objective was to identify the current directions of TESDA and how to transform it into a demand-driven organization attuned to the needs of future Filipino workers.
Due to the pandemic, the series of consultations among core groups — composed of TESDA directors from various levels, proponents of Bayan Academy, and stakeholders — was conducted online.
According to Bayan Academy Chairman and President Dr. Eduardo Morato, Jr., the consultation series was very timely, especially as Covid-19 imposed on organizations and workers to adapt to the New Normal.
“The workforce is constantly changing. Covid-19 opened up job opportunities, new modes of accomplishing things that weren’t there before. At this time, empowerment is truly needed at the provincial level or grassroot level,” he said.
Morato stressed that it is imperative for organizations like TESDA to “take advantage of the present situation to be adequately prepared in addressing the constantly changing skills and competencies requirements in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Morato's statement was complemented with a message of support from partner J.P. Morgan.
“Preparing for the aftermath of the pandemic and addressing the vulnerabilities that have risen are crucial points that leaders and organizations need to ‘re-focus' their efforts on. Innovations that will integrate efficient tools, broader delivery systems, clear-cut solutions, and investments in human capital will substantially boost the Philippines’ post-Covid economic recovery plan,” said Carlos Ma. G. Mendoza, Senior Country Officer of J.P. Morgan Philippines. "We remain committed to supporting government and sectoral inclusive recovery initiatives— ensuring that the outplaced, unemployed, and micro-entrepreneurs are able to rebound from the onslaught of this pandemic."
With the conclusion of the project, TESDA Director General Secretary Isidro Lapena commended everyone for their contribution to improve the agency’s operations. “I thank J.P. Morgan for supporting Bayan Academy in this fruitful endeavor and all the TESDA directors. Indeed, this is what we want, moving toward a much-improved and efficient organization. With the recommendations from Bayan Academy and clearly defined strategies in order, I am optimistic that ultimately, this will result in the design of a TESDA structure that is more demand-driven and industry-led for the effective delivery of the action programs for eight priority industries."
Integrated System Approach
Gainful insights were set during the presentation of strategies and corresponding core competencies by the different TESDA provincial and regional levels. Based on a thorough review, concerns were also raised, among which are access to scholarship funding and the implications of new emerging technologies to labor markets and jobs training programs.
Regional and Provincial TESDA Directors identified area and industry-based focus programs such as: design and develop of TVET programs which are area-based, strategic planning, continuing capability build up of staff and learning sessions, and strengthening of collaboration with multi-sector agencies, among others. They also identified the need for an establishment of industry boards in the province as part of the coordination system. Complementary competencies identified include technical writing skills, critical thinking, documentation, innovativeness, technology research, database management, and digitization. They recommended the need to pursue Industry-Academe-Government (IAG) Partnership, develop cross-sectoral program packages and platforms, and re-alignment of scholarship funds according to skills needs of the area.
TESDA Partnerships and Linkages Office Executive Director Sonia Lipio presented how to orchestrate the layout of a demand-driven environment and the inter-relationship of the functions at all levels of operation. Her list of recommendations for the national level include a review and harmonization of policies and implementing guidelines; to establish and identify performance indicators for the institutionalization of a TESDA-wide demand-driven delivery system; establish an integrated system for partnership and linkages across all levels of organization, an advocacy and communication plan using tri-media, among others.
Implementing Knowledge Management System
Another key component identified is investing in knowledge management. According to TESDA Deputy Director General Rose Urdaneta, the organization, upon seeing the need to optimize the agency’s intellectual assets, has already spearheaded the development of its skills mapping and skills prioritization programs.
By providing tools and an enabling environment for TESDA people, the organization will gain a competitive edge as they will be more equipped with skill sets and strengthened capabilities that will leverage their functions and deliverables to Filipinos.
“At the end of the day, we wanted to consolidate everything into a process, into a methodology that will prescribe standards on the regional area-levels,” said Urdaneta.
In conclusion, Dr. Morato expressed Bayan Academy’s continued support to and commitment with TESDA, specifically highlighting the focus on the priorities that have been cited upon in the consultation and during collaborative works done in the past.
Taking off from the landmark study “2018-2022 NTESDP (National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan) Action Programming” presented by Bayan Academy and TESDA, and supported by J.P.Morgan, the recently concluded forum signaled another milestone for TESDA as the country braces for the challenges of the New Normal.
Carlos Ma. Mendoza, Country Manager of J.P. Morgan receives from TESDA secretary Isidro Lapena a certificate of appreciation for the company’s support to the workforce readiness agenda of the country. Taken during the NTESDP (National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan) launch in February 2020.
TESDA secretary Isidro Lapeña with Bayan Academy Chairman and President Dr. Eduardo Morato, Jr., during the NTESDP (National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan) launch in February 2020.
TESDA secretary Isidro Lapeña with his fellow TESDA executives during the Organizational, Diagnosis, Design, and Development of TESDA Zoom event in November 2020.
TESDA DDG Rosanna Urdaneta during the Zoom event