KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Aug. 20 (PIA) - SOCCSKSARGEN Region's Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA 12) is focused on expanding its services and programs to marginalized and disadvantaged sectors and far-flung villages, an official of the agency said.
Representing TESDA 12 regional director Rafael Abrogar II in a meeting with local media, TESD specialist II George Lemuel Sarao said, TESDA 12 is focused on providing skills trainings and livelihood opportunities to underprivileged clients, including indigenous peoples, former rebels, persons deprived of liberty, drug surrenderees, persons with disability, displaced and disadvantaged women, displaced workers and overseas Filipino workers, and victims of natural or manmade disasters.
"Per directive from Secretary Isidro Lapena, TESDA must reach remote and hard-to-reach villages and provide community-based trainings," Sarao said, which he added, is in accordance with the agency's slogan, "TESDA Abot Lahat."
TESDA 12, he added, is guided by the principle "seek, find, train and employ" in its effort to improve the lives of their clientele.
"TESDA's work does not end with training but continues with finding employment for the graduates," he said.
Just recently, 53 former rebels in Arakan, Cotabato Province completed a course in electronic products assembly and servicing NC II. Last week, TESDA also led a team of representatives from national government agencies in Region 12 for a consultation dialogue with residents of Datal Blao in Columbio, Sultan Cotabato to determine their needs for skills and livelihood.
As of August 7, a total of 4,949 individuals from disadvantaged sectors have already enrolled in TESDA 12's techvoc programs.
These include 812 indigenous people, 84 former rebels, 309 drug surrenderees, 184 returning and repatriated overseas Filipino workers, 295 persons deprived of liberty, 10 family members of military or police personnel who were either killed or wounded in action, and 3,255 individuals enrolled in support to Duterte administration's Build Build Build program.
This year, TESDA 12 has been allotted P100.5 million for its regular programs, P85.4 M for the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) and P15.1 M for the Private Education Student Financial Assistance (PESFA). These cover 10,394 slots for TWSP and 1,356 for PESFA. As of August 7, only 4,703 individuals have availed of TWSP and 1,140 in PESFA.
Meanwhile, some P305 million worth of scholarship funds have also been earmarked for TESDA's special programs this year: P86 M for the Special Training for Employment Program (STEP), P173 M for the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (UAQTEA), P23 M for Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) and P23 for Tsuper Iskolar Program.
According to TESDA's program briefers, STEP is a community-based specialty training program that addresses the specific skills of communities anmd promote employment, particularly through entrepreneurial, self-employment and service-oriented activities.
Established through Republic Act 10931, UAQTEA provides free tuition and other school fees in state colleges and universities, local universities, and colleges, state-run technical vocational institutions, establishing the Tertiary Education Subsidy and Sttudent Loan Program, strengthening the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST).
RCEF, on the other hand, aims to train farmers and their families on new production technologies and farm mechanization to improve their quality of life. The program is a partnership with the Department of Agriculture and the Agricultural Training Institute.
Tsuper Iskolar Programs is a collaboration with the Department of Transportation to provide skills training to drivers, their families, and other stakeholders in support to the implementation Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program. (DED/PIA 12)