Japan aid agency backs Philippine tech-voc education

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THE Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has expressed its support to technical-vocational (tech-voc) education in the Philippines to help boost employability of Filipino graduates enroled in this track.

“Technical-vocational training in secondary schools could help bridge the gap in linking the academe with industry particularly in developing sufficient skills for the job market,” Flerida Chan, section chief of JICA’s poverty reduction section, said on Wednesday.

JICA noted the best practice of one of the technical-vocational high schools in Iligan City in Mindanao assisted by JICA that included community-based, hands-on trainings for senior high school students.

Rogongon Agricultural High School (RAHS), which JICA visited recently, developed the community-based technical-vocational program for horticulture that also caters to out-of-school high school students, community members, and indigenous people (Higaonon tribe).

The school, which students reach by traversing a river, said it has provided livelihood opportunities to students and communities in the area since agricultural land is utilized, while students benefit from their practicum through mentored community immersion for agricultural crop production.

“We hope that more students will realize the opportunities in technical-vocational education, including agriculture-related courses,” Richard Talaid, school head of RAHS, said.

Talaid was among the 25 participants from the education sector in the Philippines who was trained by JICA in Japan.

“Our training in Japan made me realize the importance of not only classroom knowledge but more important practical applications given the availability of agricultural land in the area,” he said.

Technical-vocational jobs have been gaining ground in the Philippines.

Based on the Philippine Labor Force Survey July 2015, more Filipinos are employed in wholesale/retail trade or repair of motor vehicles (33 percent of total labor force), followed by agriculture (28 percent) and manufacturing (50 percent of total industry employment category).

RAHS is recipient of a grant provided by JICA to technical vocational schools to help enhance implementation of the technical vocational curriculum in the country.

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