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8th National TVET Forum - DOC


									8th National TVET Forum
December 11-12, 2008
Presidential Assistant for Education
Office of the President

Secretary Augusto ―Boboy‖ Syjuco, Dr. Hernando ―Nani‖ Perez, Secretary
Marianito D. Roque, Ambassador Donald Dee, DDG Mila Dawa Hernandez,
Executive Director Clifford Paragua, Director Philip Torres, Dr. Alberto Victor P.
Fenix, Dr. Alex P. Ocampo, Mr. Bonifacio Mercado, Professor TJ Gayondato,
most distinguished Officials, Guests and Participants representing the multi-
sectoral stakeholders, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen – A pleasant afternoon.


Education Plus! is not a novel concept. Traveling to learn dates as far back as
the Roman times with tours to Egypt and the ―Grand Tours‖ during the
Renaissance. It aims for each guest to leave with more than just fond memories
of a far away land, but also to bestow the participants with new skills, knowledge
and more importantly, an expanded horizon.

Applied in the 20th century as an effective and efficient form of an economic
development strategy, Education Plus is a viable concept because it not only
stress but also furthers the excellence of education as it develops the economy in
terms of producing globally competitive human resource pool and raises revenue
in the education sector and the economy as a whole.

Further, Education Plus supports the initiatives of the Tourism sector by
attracting more foreign nationals to the country. It is a valuable addition to the
initiatives of tourism because it incorporates existing market segments of the
sector. In the Philippine setting, Education Plus incorporates heritage, ecology,
community, and adventure tourism. Learning each other’s language and English
as a Second Language (ESL) is also one of the tourism related products under
this concept.


The goal of the Education Plus is to position the Philippines as a knowledge-
center in Asia and the Pacific for global education. Although Singapore and
Australia have had a head start, the Philippines may attain the same global level
if we focus on areas in which we have a competitive advantage.

Right now, the Philippines is the second largest supplier of Information
Technology (IT) related human resource. We can possibly bank on this fact and
provide world–class training for students interested in IT. Moreover, the Foreign

Chambers of Australia and New Zealand have made known their need for a
human resource proficient in Geology, Mining and Engineering. If they are
coming to us to provide manpower in these types of specialties, then it is obvious
that our standards in such areas are at par with their own. Specifically, in the field
of Engineering, the government is currently undertaking a study related to
curricular reform, basing it on globally accepted standards, thus making
graduates even more internationally competitive.


The initiative has very simple but significant objectives to further the development
of the nation. Firstly, the program aims to establish the Philippines as a
Center for Excellent International Education thus effectively increasing the
number of internationally mobile students.

Secondly, the program aims to boost the country’s dollar earnings in
education. More foreign students translate into more spending. In 2007, the
Department of Tourism reported a total of $ 4.9 billion in visitor receipts which
includes the spending of foreign students. In fact, having even more foreign
nationals studying in the country may also serve as a poverty alleviator
through the creation of jobs. This is the third objective, because it means for
every foreigner in the country, one job is created.

The fourth objective is to improve the investment climate, which will be made
possible through the increased number of foreign students in the country. To be
specific, in the education sector there is a lot of areas for investments. A lot of
private corporations have set up their own schools, colleges, universities and
training centers to address the demand for quality education and training. In the
international arena, positioning the Philippines as center of learning can spur the
establishment of off-shore campuses of well-known universities. Singapore is a
good example of this. As of the moment 16 well-known universities have set up
their extension campuses, a fundamental reason for the success of the
Singapore Education program. In the Philippines, however, the University of
Western Australia has recently opened its Manila Campus in Makati. Hopefully,
with the implementation of the program, more avenues for attracting foreign
universities will be opened up.

Lastly, the program aims to broaden and strengthen areas of studies and/or
course offerings at a globally competitive level. In spite of the massive
reforms that the government, specifically the education sector, has undertaken,
there is still room to grow. This can be done through benchmarking and by
forming international partnerships which espouse collaboration in research and
development and further promote the exchange of knowledge.


The Philippines has a number of competitive advantages that will help support its
vision of being a knowledge center in Asia. Firstly, the Philippines a major source
of English education in Asia. The educational system in the Philippines uses
English as a medium of instruction, thus the vast majority of the population is
proficient in English. This has led to quite a considerable number of Asian
students to come to the Philippines to study, majority of which arrive to learn
English. The Department of Tourism has already launched its project English as
a Second Language (ESL) to cater to large quantities of Koreans who come to
the country to learn English. If implemented correctly, Education Plus may use
the ESL program as an effective spring board to attract even more students.

Secondly, education and living in the Philippines is comparatively less expensive
than other countries in the world which offer the same quality. Though there are a
few alternative destinations for internationally mobile students, the Philippines
can offer a holistic and industry-centered education which is at par with
world-wide educational excellence which is considerably more affordable than
in other countries. Additionally, the cost of living in the Philippines is just as
comparatively more reasonably priced than other countries.

Thirdly, studying and living in the Philippines can prove to be a culturally
enriching process. The Philippines is a melting pot of different cultures and
Filipinos are well-known throughout the globe for their warm hospitality.
Immersion in this type of environment will be a culturally enriching experience for
the students, creating culturally sensitive individuals – perfect for the virtually
borderless global landscape.


Education Plus is a cross-cutting program which not only spans across the
entire education sector but also involves the entire government system and
industry. Education Plus is a result of the inter-agency collaboration of the
Office of the PA for Education, Office of the President, Philippine Chamber
of Commerce and Industry, Commission on Higher Education, Technical
Education & Skills Development Authority, Department of Education,
Professional Regulation Commission, Bureau of Immigration, Department
of Tourism, Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Department of Trade
and Industry - Bureau of Export Trade Promotion and - Center for
International Trade Expositions and Missions.

Education plus offers globally mobile students the opportunity to learn
technical skills and earn skills certification, academic credits and academic
degrees. It hopes to showcase education in the Philippines as a serious and
competent contender in international education market. Further, the program
seeks to bridge nations through education by establishing the Philippines as the
Asia-Pacific Region’s premiere destination for education, specifically in Basic,
Technical-Vocational, and Higher Education.


The demand for education can be perceived to come from 2 sources:
consumers and corporations. Consumers provide the demand for services in
Basic, Technical-Vocational and higher Education. On the other hand,
corporations provide the demand for technical-vocational and higher education.

For Basic Education, Education Plus focuses more on private institutions.
These have always been the sector that caters to the sons and daughters of
expatriates working in the country. Additionally, the country has the capacity and
is currently undergoing student exchanges in the basic level to teach English to
Korean students. Other types of student exchanges may be looked into to further
expand the foreign market of this sector of the education system.

Technical-Vocational Education caters to cross-government training, not to
mention foreign nationals who would like to take advantage of the country’s
globally competitive industry- driven standards. As of the moment TESDA is
currently implementing the GOTEVOT which allows foreign government
employees to train the Philippines. Multi-National and Trans-National
Corporations in the country also send their employees to train and re-train,
majority of which were graduates of Technical-Vocational courses in the first
place. In addition, short-term study, in areas such as Culinary Arts and Pilot
Training, can cater to the tourist market that will fit into their busy leisure
schedules 3-4 hour sessions to learn a new skill or language.

Higher education, on the other hand, caters to foreign nationals interested in
undergraduate and post-graduate degrees. To date, quite number of foreign
students has come to the country to acquire their undergraduate degrees,
Masters and PhDs. Based on the figures submitted by the Bureau of Immigration,
the trend shows a continuous rise. In addition, this segment caters to executives
of Multi-National and Trans-National Corporations in the country. Higher
Education Institutions, specifically those that specialize in Business, instruct and
re-train executives in the form of continuing education.

It is also important to note that accommodating students in any of the
following levels of education can serve as an impetus for even more
growth in the international student market. Those from basic education sector
may choose to go on to either Technical-Vocational or Higher Education.
Students in either Technical-Vocational or Higher Education may move
transverse sectors as well with the objective of expanding their knowledge and



Singapore launched its multi-government initiative called Singapore Education in
2003 which promotes the country as a knowledge-hub in Asia which offers a
unique educational experience. Global response was good and there are now
90,000 foreign students studying in the country, roughly 75% of which are
Indians. Other countries from which the other 25% percent comes from are:
China, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam. For 2015, the goal of the
government is to attract 150,000 students. This goal is realizable owing to the
number of foreign universities setting up shop in the country (16 universities as of
September 2008).

This program was launched to fulfill the Singapore government’s vision of
developing Singapore as a compelling global hub for business, investment and
talent, not to mention the mission to create a sustainable GDP growth for the
country with good jobs and business opportunities for its people. In the annual
figures released by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower, it was reported that the
country’s booming economy generated over 35,400 jobs in 2007, a 20% increase
from the 2006 figure.


In 2004, Australia was
indicated as the fifth
largest destination for
overseas students. In
2005 alone, there were
375,000 foreign students
enrolled in the country.
113,000      of    these
students took up long-
term courses. On the
other hand, 261,000 of
these students took up
short-term courses like
English, staying in the
country for less than 12
months. To be specific,
short-term stay in Australia can be further broken down to what they call
Vocational-Technical Education (VTE) and English Language Intensive Courses
for Overseas Students (ELICOS). VTE students for 2005 amounted to 66,100
students, most of which coming from China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan.
ELICOS on the other hand got 65,000 enrollments, a quarter of which are
students coming from China, other top markets for this sector include South
Korea and Japan.

For 2005, the top five countries of residence of foreign students were: China,
accounting for 63,600 students; South Korea with 29,900 students, the United

States of America with 29,100 students, Japan with 25,600 students and
Malaysia with 24,200 students.

For Australia, the provision of educational services is an important industry. It
was valued at over $9 billion in earnings for the financial year 2004-2005, much
bigger than their wool, wheat and beef industries. But aside for that, the number
of foreign enrollments has helped educational institutions improve and diversify
the range of educational programs offered to all students.



As evidenced by the data submitted by the Bureau of Immigration, we can see an
increasing trend in the number of students in the country. For 2008 we can
observe a 1.14% growth rate from the 2008 figure.

                        Foreign Students in the Philippines

addition, a close look at the numbers reveals that more foreigners come to the
country for Technical-Vocational and short term courses, as evidenced by the
high number of Special Study permits issued.

Of the total figure, for January to November 2008, 4,174 foreigners have been
issued Students Visas, a 1.5% increase from the 2007 figure, majority of which
arrived in the country with tourist visas and applied for a conversion to a student
visa within the Philippines. These numbers does not account for the number of
students come into the country for short-term study.

                                                                                2008 (as of
 Students Visas Issues      2004         2005         2006          2007
 Conversion                 1,727        2,093        2,358         2,707         4,109
 Arrived with Visa           151          117          140           175            65
          TOTAL             1,878        2,210        2,498         2,882         4,174

        Foreign Nationals with STUDENT VISAS in the Philippines from 2004 to 2008

For Special Study Permits needed to take Technical-Vocational courses, there is
a stark increase in the numbers as evidenced by the graph.

  Special Study Permits     2004         2005         2006          2007        2008 (as of
          Issued                                                                November)
 NCR                        4,484        6,378        10,524        12,667        14,011
 Sub Port                   3,113        3,205        13,821        17,490        19,346*
            TOTAL           7,597        9,583        24,345        30,157        33,357
                                                    Data is based on the 2008 NCR growth rate

     Foreign Students with SPECIAL STUDY PERMITS in the Philippines (2004-2008)


Amidst the shift from labor intensive to knowledge intensive employment in
today’s world, the APEC Ministerial Meeting in Lima, Peru last June 2008 put
forward the concept of a knowledge-based economy. This type of economy
values, above all, knowledge and promotes a culture of peace, understanding
and diversity.

The concept’s warm reception throughout the 21 APEC Economies
acknowledges the radical restructuring of economies across the globe which puts
emphasis on the demand for a highly skilled and technically competent human
resource. It stems from the premise that economic prosperity and social well-
being can be attained through knowledge acquisition, creation, dissemination
and application.
It is widely accepted that there are four pillars which contribute to the growth of a
knowledge-based economy, namely; an educated and skilled labor force, a
modern and adequate information infrastructure, an effective innovative system,
and healthy governance and business environments which act as the key factors
that control the flow of investment to the first three pillars.

In the Philippines, the government has instituted massive reforms in order to
attain such a status. While continuing to institutionalize and strengthen
knowledge industries, there is now a clearer recognition of the importance of

Technical-Vocational Education as an engine of economic growth. Technical-
Vocational institutions continue to seek quality and excellence in developing first-
class education. Emphasis on this sector will also help to enlarge the talent pool
to sustain the country’s continuing growth.

In my recent speech during the CSPC 35th Anniversary Celebration, I have
underscored the importance of Technical-Vocational Education as one of the
master keys to poverty alleviation. But this may only transform into reality with
the indispensable collaboration of industry that will ensure a balance of job and
skills development as well as exposure to real work and market places.

The present global financial crunch is threatening to restrain overseas
deployments and lessen remittances which constitute the country’s traditional
buffer against financial calamities. According to the International Labour
Organisation (ILO), the global economic slowdown of 2008 will add at least 5
million workers to the ranks of the unemployed worldwide, raising the global
unemployment rate to 6.1 per cent. Even the vaunted local information
technology (IT)-enabled industry will be likely hit hard because of its considerable
dependence on the US market, further aggravated by the continued peso
appreciation. The US is an overwhelming presence in the business process
outsourcing (BPO) sector and accounted for nearly 90% of total BPO exports
revenue and over two-thirds of foreign equity in 2005. The impact will be most felt
in the National Capital Region (NCR) where an estimated 80% of BPO
employees are located. The Makati Business Club has forecasted that although
lay-offs in the BPO industry will not take place, but there will be a considerable
slowdown in the hiring of new employees.

The financial crisis has other implications on the Philippines. First is the decline
of the exporting industry which directly and indirectly services the United States.
Second is the perceived increase of commodities as speculators shift to trading
commodities – effectively leading to the even more precipitous rise of food and
energy prices, eroding the real incomes of people in all nations. This plausible
reality may push millions of people deeper in poverty. In the Philippines, for
instance, the Asian Development Bank estimates that ―for every 10 percent
increase in food prices, about 2.3 million more falls into poverty.‖ These Filipinos
will be joining nearly three billion people — half the world’s population — who are
living on less than two dollars a day.

As of the moment, the world is at a tipping point and we are unsure of what the
future will bring, yet, we know that we have the opportunity to rise above this
blow. This can be done through the promotion Technical-Vocational Education. A
career in Technical-Vocational Education courses was indicated as an important
thrust to the challenges of the present global economy and this fact was affirmed
by all 21 Ministers of the APEC economies during the Senior Officials Meeting
held last November 22 to 23 in Lima, Peru.


Education Plus is without doubt a development strategy and in light of the
looming financial crunch, both government sector and industry have pinpointed
education as a driver of growth. This program is essentially a consolidation of the
different education initiatives government, as almost all of the members of Team
Philippines had formulated their respective programs to promote the country as a
center for internationally excellent education.

Education Plus as a development strategy finds basis in the concept called
Tourism Plus. This was a strategy conceptualized by the Philippine Team of
which I led during at the World Bank Institute conference in Seoul, Korea last
July 15 to 17. The theme was ―Developing Knowledge Capacities to Improve
Competitiveness‖. For the Philippines, the concept of Tourism Plus aims to build
a Philippine knowledge-based society and sustain economic growth through
competitiveness, with the hope of improving the quality of life of all Filipinos.

Essentially, Tourism Plus means ―Tourism + Education‖. It is an innovative model
that incorporates health, recreation, education, retirement and ICT into the
tourism equation in order to provide more attractions for foreign tourists to
transform the Philippines into a knowledge-based society. Thankfully, the
education sector has already taken bold steps to transform the education system
in order to be able to deliver quality education not just to Filipinos but to the
citizens of the world as well.



To fulfill the vision of the Philippines as a knowledge-center in Asia for global
education, the inter-agency Philippine Team has convened a technical working
group which is composed of the following players: Office of the Presidential
Assistant for Education (OPAE), Office of the President Philippine Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Commission on Higher Education (CHED),
Technical Education & Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of
Education (DepEd), Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), Bureau of
Immigration (BI), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Foreign Affairs
(DFA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) -Bureau of Export Trade
Promotion (BETP) and - Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions

      TASKING

OPAE, CHED, TESDA, DepEd and PRC are in charge of ensuring the
continued provision of excellent education in the country. Part of this
responsibility is their coordination with the two accrediting agencies included
in the program: Coordinating Council for Accreditation (CCA) and Asia Pacific

Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) of the Colombo Plan Staff
College (CPSC).

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) shall facilitate and monitor the entrance of
foreign students in the country, owing to their mandate to issue student visas
and special study permits. The BI will play an indispensable part, because of
their directive to accredit schools and universities to accept foreign

The DFA shall be in charge of continually promoting the formation of mutual
recognition, multi-lateral and bi-lateral agreements related to education to further
strengthen the linkages of the Philippines with other countries.

The DOT, DTI-CITEM and DTI-BETP are in-charge of handing the marketing of
the program. As of the moment the mix of the promotional campaign includes
TVCs, magazine and news paper ads, internet advertising and participation in
education themed trade shows.


Team Philippines has a four-pronged approach to realize the vision of the
program: (1) build up the existing reputable educational institutions within
the country, (2) foster international linkages, as well as (3) promote courses
and training programs where the country has and is deemed to have a
competitive advantage in order to (4) attract a sizable amount of
international students to the Philippines.

Building up the existing reputable educational institutions within the country,
focuses primarily on capacity building. Specifically, the capacities that are
proposed to be improved on are infrastructure, teacher competency and
curriculum. For higher education, there will be a special emphasis on the
institutions that have the status of Centers of Excellence and Centers of
Development. International linkages will ascertain academic cooperation for
educational improvement and a steady flow of international students to the


To sustain the Program, a number of measures have been recommended by
Team Philippines:

First is the formation of local and international agreements in areas such as
benchmarking, quality assurance and accreditation. A good example of such
agreements is the mutual recognition agreements signed by all ASEAN countries
on Nuring, Dentisry, Medicine, Architechture and Engieering. These MRAs allow
professionals to practice their respective professions throughout the ASEAN
Region with ease. This is in line with the ASEAN’s efforts on the liberalization of

the region’s service sector and to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of
the Philippines’ services industry.

Secondly, the existing agreements with other countries, foreign cities and
international organizations in the field of education should be strengthened.
Examples of this are the current RP-Busan, Korea agreement to train teachers
and New Zealand’s push to promote Filipino as a second language. These types
of agreements can be strengthened, if not, expanded to further promote the
Education Plus. Another agreement that seeks to bridge nations through
education is the one between TESDA and the General Organization for
Technical and Vocational Training (GOTEVOT). This agreement provides
training programs for Arab Technical-Vocational instructors in various trade
areas. These trade areas include digital video production; digital photography;
computer networking; electro-mechanical maintenance; air-conditioning and
refrigeration, and vocational inspection. After an assessment of other demand,
other areas may be made available for GOTEVOT. In addition, instructors from
other nations may be accommodated as well to foster a favorable environment
for the continuing exchange of ideas and experiences among Technical-
Vocational professionals.

Thirdly, cooperation across the international academic community can
foster a number of collaborative efforts that will not only support the program, but
further uplift the quality of education. Activities such as professional and student
exchange programs can facilitate the exchange of information such as the
GOTEVOT program does for TESDA.

Another activity that can be looked into is the fostering of international
collaboration in research, specifically in the areas which the Program will offer.
As of the moment, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has
launched the Philippine Research, Education, and Government Information
Network (PREGINET) which allows the country’s local researchers and
academics to participate and engage in joint projects with local and international
research institutions. Essentially it is an education network that was envisioned to
be a catalyst for collaborative research and development among government,
academic, and research institutions. This network will sustain and support the
continued excellence of Philippine education and the further development of the
Philippines as a knowledge-based society.

Fourthly, the question of quality assurance will be addressed owing to the
promotion and development of Centers of Excellence and Centers of
Development in globally competitive fields. In addition, the participation of the
Coordinating Council for Accreditation (CCA) for Basic and Higher Education will
be an indispensable part of the quality assurance system. For Technical-
Vocational Education, the recognition of TESDA for courses that will be offered to
foreign nationals will be a strict requirement. The quality of the training and
education in this sector will further be strengthened through the participation of
the Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) of the

Colombo Staff Plan College (CSPC). The APACC is a voluntary accrediting
system which will give institutions with such an accreditation a big advantage
over others because APACC accreditation well-respected and accepted globally.
Most importantly, a mechanism for monitoring and evaluation will be put in
place to asses and monitor the progress of the program.

Finally, to assure the sustainability of the program, in order to see concrete
outcomes, Team Philippines has proposed the legislation of an Executive
Order. This will put into writing and proper perspective the importance and
urgency of this development plan to ensure that the program will be continued
as a development program long after the primary government and industry actors
have left office.


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