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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

COVID-19 reveals need for innovation and flexible training for Filipino workers

NEDA cites need for innovation, flexible training for labor force

MANILA – More innovations and training are needed to respond to the challenges of preserving and creating jobs despite the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the National Economic and Development Authority’s response to the results of the latest labor force survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

“Workers now need to adapt to the changes in business operations brought about by the pandemic as economic activities resume. Online or blended learning programs will now play a key role in providing opportunities for Filipinos who will require retooling and upskilling, especially those whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic,” said NEDA Acting Secretary Karl Kendric T. Chua in a statement.

He said the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Online Program (TOP) launched in 2012 to serve as an open educational resource making technical education more accessible to Filipinos utilizing information and communications technology (ICT). There are 70 available online courses under 16 categories.

Technical-educational institutions may now adopt flexible learning delivery modes according to the institutional capacity, trainer’s capability and the learner’s access to ICT.

Based on the TOP Monitoring Report, 564,828 users, 70 percent of whom were female enrolled during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period. About 62 percent of active users revealed that they registered with TOP due to the lockdown. These users expressed they intend to learn more skills either to secure their jobs or find new employment.

The same report identified tourism (21 percent), entrepreneurship (16 percent), 21st century skills (14 percent), and ICT (10 percent) as the most preferred courses in te TOP.

Courses dependent on utilizing electronic media in training, development of training curriculum (blended), and facilitating e-learning sessions were developed to address the skills needed in the education sector due to the shift to flexible learning delivery modes.

Chua underscored the need of digital transformation in government offices.

“As we transition to a new normal where physical contact remains restricted, we need to invest in digital transformation. This is an important structural reform that will allow us to continue to provide educational, training, and other social services and also enable people and businesses to transact with government more safety and easily,” the NEDA chief said.

He said it will be a difficult process as government itself invests in infrastructure, we also need to have competition policies that will encourage the private sector to help improve the country’s information technology infrastructure.

“The challenged is how to bring down the cost while increasing the quality of services,” Chua said. (Melo M. Acuña)

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