Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday urged the leaders of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to help communicate to the public the value of TESDA certification and how, like a college degree, it can help them succeed in life.
“The greatest hindrance of technical vocation in the Philippines is may pagka-matapobre pa rin tayo kapag walang diploma,” the independent senator said during the hearing on TESDA’s proposed 2024 budget on Wednesday, September 13, 2023.
“Even if may diploma ka, we tend to look at the name of the school and the country where we graduated,” he added.
Cayetano said the problem lies in the lingering mentality among Filipinos that TESDA mostly caters to college drop-outs and out-of-school youth.
“If we do not fight the mentality or stigma, ano ang lumalabas? Tatanungin ang bata, ‘Anong gusto mo maging?’ [The child will answer] ‘E ‘di mag college.’ [But then the child will be told] ‘Eh paano kung magdrop-out ka na, mag-TESDA ka na lang!’” he said.
‘Hindi dapat ganon,” he added, urging TESDA to help educate Filipinos about the value of technical education.
“Baka your job is not only educating those who want to have skills but educating all Filipinos that we are human beings and the diplomas are just certifications of what we can do. We can actually be non-schooled,” he said.
To elaborate his point, Cayetano cited prominent people such as the late Senator Blas Ople, the late Apple founder Steve Jobs, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates who were successful in life despite dropping out of college.
He also gave Germany as an example of a country where students can work in big companies while they are still in high school.
“Sa Germany, kahit high school [student] ay nasa accounting department na ng malaking kumpanya at nag-apprentice sa banks. No one will doubt the quality of the banking and the car industry in Germany,” he said.
Cayetano said this change in belief and mentality should be inculcated in everyone, particularly students who may aspire for non-traditional career tracks.
“Dapat from elementary to high school pa lang, kapag sinabi ng mga bata ‘Gusto ko maging magaling sa automotive,’ [someone will ask] ‘Saan mo gusto?’ [and the child will reply] ‘Gusto ko sa TESDA!” he said.
Wrapping up his manifestation, Cayetano expressed his “support to the TESDA family” as it works to improve the quality of technical education in the country as well as the mindset of the people about TESDA diplomas.