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State of Technical Vocational High Schools in the Philippines: Research Recommendations for Moving Forward Dr. Ethel Agnes Pascua-Valenzuela SEAMEO INNOTECH, Manila, Philippines Email: ABSTRACT This paper outlines the conditions of the technical and vocational high schools in the Philippines in terms of areas of specialization, curriculum implementation shares, teacher quality and quantity, physical resources, quality and quantity of equipment and machines. The paper puts forward key reform agenda to improve the technical vocational high school programs in the country. It provides series of policy changes and reform programs to alleviate the conditions of technical vocational high schools in the country. More importantly, the recommendations for moving forward were researchbased geared to create an impact on institutional, programmatic and policy changes. Key words: teacher quality, reform agenda, policy changes

Introduction The UNESCO Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century has proposed that the learning process should be based on four pillars of education: learning to know; learning to do; learning to live together and learning to be. “Learning to Know, by combining a sufficiently broad general knowledge with the opportunity to work in depth on a small number of subjects; this also means learning to learn… “Learning to Do, in order to acquire not only an occupational skill but also, more broadly, the competence to deal with many situations and work in teams. “Learning to Live Together, by developing an understanding of other people and an appreciation of interdependence – carrying out joint projects and learning to manage conflicts – in a spirit of pluralism, mutual understanding and peace. “Learning to Be, so as to better develop one’s personality and be able to act with ever greater autonomy, judgment and personal responsibility The Four Pillars of education is in essence a theme that has been very popular to the education bodies. It serves as a guiding principle on how education should be delivered.

These four pillars of learning provided the rationale for the technical

vocational educational program in the country, particularly, “Learning to Do” as a mandate of all technical vocational high schools. The Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVE) has generally been acknowledged as the key to the promotion of one’s productivity, self-esteem and the economic development of the country. TVE

is well geared towards the

development of productive citizens ready for local as well as international labor market. It is concerned with the acquisition of knowledge and skills in preparation for work. However, recent criticisms have been voiced out on the state of technical vocational education and training in many countries of the world. The World Bank (World Bank, 1992 Cousing, 1992, Moura Castro, 1999) reported that technical

vocational education is marked by poor quality, very high cost, training not suited to actual socio-economic conditions, and a disregard among labor market and of the high unemployment rate among graduates. In the Philippines, the Congressional Commission on Educational Reform (1990), more familiarly referred to as EDCOM assessed and reviewed the state of Philippine education. It has recommended to stress basic public elementary and highs schools, and enrich technical vocational education for young people whose aptitudes coincide in this direction. The country witnessed many changes in technical vocational education in the decade of EDCOM implementation. Some technical vocational high schools were converted into tertiary level technical and vocational training institutions and a good number of vocational-technical schools being converted into state colleges and universities. For example, Ilocos Sur School of Arts and Trades became the University of Northern Philippines (UNP).

Conversions are covered by general

guidelines as covered in the EDCOM report on Technical and Vocational institutions and offer non-degree courses.

The following conditions were applied for

conversions: 1.

There is a high demand for skilled workers and technician occupations represented by curricular offerings of the school as indicated in an upto-date manpower study;


The school has satisfactorily implemented the secondary vocational education curriculum for a period of at least five years as indicated by 75 % performance of its graduates;


There is no existing technical vocational education school within


radius of 15 kilometres offering the same technical-technician courses; 4.

The school has adequate training equipment and facilities based on existing standards;


The conversion of a school into a post-secondary school to offer technical-technician courses should be authorized by the DECS Secretary or by appropriate legislation.

Another education reform study in 2000 called the Presidential Commission on Educational Reform (PCER) indicated the importance of technical and vocational education in the country. PCER advocated that an adequate education system must include both formal and Nonformal education institutions, including skills training as well as avenues for institutional development. It recommended a system of recognition to Nonformal, nontraditional and alternative modes of education, as well as greater awareness of the informal learning modalities in the society such as media, family, and other structures. More recently, the Philippine Department of Education (DepED) is the executive department of the Philippine government, which is responsible for the management and upkeep of the country’s educational system. It is the chief formulator of the country’s educational policies and is responsible for the elementary- and highschool systems. The DepED aims to “develop highly competent, civic-spirited, lifeskilled, and God-loving Filipino youth acting, participating in, and contributing to the humane, just and peaceful societies. Reflecting the situation among technical vocational institutions as examined by the World Bank, the Philippine Department of Education (DepED) introduced the redesigned technical-vocational education program, which was implemented by technical vocational schools from school year 2005-2006. This redesigned program is an enhancement of the current technical-vocational curriculum and is focused on the 21st century Core Skills, namely: digital age literacy, inventive thinking, effective communication and high productivity. The








employment in the information society but also make them responsible citizens who give due consideration to preserving the integrity of their environment and the welfare of others. Hence, the school’s infrastructures, human and physical resources play instrumental roles in providing quality training for industry- and occupationspecific skills to the broader task of workforce development There is also a perception on an increased disparity of quality and access to education among regions and between rural and urban areas.

In his State of Education Address in the 2006 National Education Congress, Secretary Jesli A. Lapus stressed the importance of education to the economic development of the country. He said, “Education, as we all know, serves as the foundation for sustained economic growth for individuals and the nation as a whole. It is the key to progress.” He also pointed out the need to provide a solution to the job mismatch in the country (i.e., graduates do not have the skills required by hiring companies). Therefore, there is a crucial need to improve the DepED’s TVE program to address this need. Secretary Lapus said, “Each year, we produce thousands of college graduates who cannot find jobs that fit their skills. In addition, a greater number of Filipino students fail to enter college (many of whom do not even finish high school) so they, too, cannot find jobs even though there are a lot of jobs both here and abroad. Our graduates just do not have the proper skills to qualify for work.” As such, he spearheaded to improve the technical and vocational education and training in order to provide the appropriate job skills that will make many of our youth productive and employable through the enhancement of our country’s high-school technical-vocational capacity. Secretary Lapus further explained, “With continuous dialogs and partnership with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), we expect to further improve the country’s capacity to provide relevant education to everyone”. The DepEd, in support of the national government’s ultimate goal of alleviating poverty in the country, had been engaging in several projects that aim to enhance our country’s TVE system. The aspirations of the present DepED Secretary to strengthen technical vocational high schools is a move to improve, access of secondary education students to an educational program that would uplift them in their socio-economic situations. Established in a two-track secondary school curriculum, the Revised TVE curriculum would bring

high school graduates

eventually take up gainful employment.

to becoming

apprentices in industry and

The Department of Education is aware of the need to conduct an exhaustive inventory of the technical vocational high schools in order to develop a feasible, manageable and realistic program of reform for TVEHSs. The outcome of the study would bring about a better secondary-level technical vocational education program suited to the preparation of young people of today’s world.

Research as a Tool to reform Technical Vocational High Schools In order to implement a meaningful reform program, a research-based evidence is needed. This would help gather information from technical- vocational high schools (TVHSs) about their curriculum, training sites, physical facilities, infrastructure and teacher qualifications. SEAMEO INOTECH designed a nationwide meta-survey of technical vocational high schools in the country specifically to: „

Conduct a systematic assessment of the condition of public technicalvocational high schools throughout the Philippines


Determine regional and national profiles of technical- vocational high schools


Recommend strategies, policies and programs that will assist the sector

Landscape of Philippine Technical and Vocational High Schools The Survey of Technical-Vocational High-School Programs in the Philippines utilized the quantitative research model to gather data on all the 334 technical-vocational high schools in the 17 regions throughout the country. Unfortunately, only 210 or around 63% of this total submitted completed survey forms to SEAMEO INNOTECH’s Research Studies unit. In addition, none of the seven schools in the ARMM submitted completed survey forms. In conclusion, only 16 or around 94% of the total number of regions were included as survey respondents. The survey utilized the instrument designed and submitted by SEAMEO INNOTECH to the DepED for approval (refer to Appendix D). These survey forms were sent to all the technical-vocational high schools throughout the country for completion and submission via fax on or before February 2, 2007. The data contained in the completed survey forms were inputted and ran through the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software for analysis. After the data have been thoroughly verified and analyzed, the survey results and findings (contained herein) were used to come up with feasible policy recommendations

that can help the DepED attain its goal of further improving the quality of TVE in the country in hopes of alleviating poverty (in line with the ultimate goal of the national government under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) in the long term. The school head or principal of each technical-vocational high school throughout the country served as the survey’s respondents while the validation process involved the administrators, supervisors, teachers, and students. From the list of 261 technical vocational schools given by the Department of Education, a total of 220 schools or about 84% submitted the survey instruments to the Research Studies Unit of SEAMEO INNOTECH. Figure 1 the survey’s respondents. RESEARCH FRAMEWORK In line with the Department of Education’s commitment for Education for All (EFA), it is convinced that a responsive education which ensures that learning needs of all are met through the provision of relevant education and training programs that will equip them with learning and work opportunities. Many countries today articulate secondary education as general education and technical vocational education streams. This means that diversification of curriculum and relevant teacher training programs are developed to enhance acquisition of technical and vocational education for secondary education students which will provide for practical and occupational skills. The tracking will assure versatility of technical-vocational secondary education graduate with the world of work. Recognizing the above need, a survey research was conducted. The study made use of a modified meta-process model of survey research with a string of data gathering techniques and every

process has a few sequential activities. Every

sequential activity were carried out in a pre-defined order.

Figure 1: Modified Meta-process Model for Survey Research

1. Define the problem Formulate questionnaire Set research objectives Set timetables

2. Establish research design ƒ Select research design ƒ Select information sources ƒ Design research instrument

4. Formulate Findings ƒ Discussion with stakeholders through focus-group discussion and round table forum ƒ Write the draft report ƒ Final findings ƒ Present final findings

3. Collect and Analyze data ƒ Collect data ƒ Clean data ƒ Coding data ƒ Tabulating data

Source: Research Studies Unit, SEAMEO INNOTECH, 2007

Key Findings There were 84 schools throughout the country which specialized in Arts and trades while 73 are in agriculture and 46 in are fishery. Forty (40) schools claimed they provide technical and vocational courses such as other forms of TVE. The category agriculture includes crop science, forestry and other plant-relate courses. Arts and trades include entrepreneurship, industrial trade, and home industry. Vocational technical courses include home economics, and industrial arts such as dressmaking, cooking, drafting, electrical technology, automotive and computer. general education includes science and other secondary education subjects. Teaching and staff members per school The survey reveals that the average number of technical-vocational schools teaching-staff members ranged from 14 to 75. it can be seen that region’s iv-a and NCR have the most number of teaching staff members (75 and 70 respectively. It was also indicated that region xii has the least number of teaching staff per school (14) followed by Region XI (20). TVE Providers The study indicated that the schools in the NCR have been acting as TVE providers longer than those in any other region. The oldest TVE provider was 36 years while schools in region xii are the youngest TVE providers with only 13 years.

Average school enrollees by region The highest number of enrolment was in region iv-a with about 2,986 TVE students enrolled in SY 2007-2008.

The national capital region has about 2,259 and the

cordillera administrative region has the least number of enrolled students with around 376 . Curricular Offerings Out of the total 220 survey respondents, 42 per cent used the redesigned technical vocational education program (RTVEP).

about 41 per cent used the combined

RTVE and the revised basic education curriculum while 16 per cent used the revised basic education curriculum and 1% still use other . The study also shows that the average








segmented by region. as can be gleaned below, region iv-a offers an average of 12 subjects and NCR offers around 11 subjects. Since they are also the regions with the most number of teachers and student enrollees. Technical-vocational–subject teachers The majority of NCR schools have the most number of TVE teachers per school. On the average, there are 25 teachers per school in NCR and 23 teachers in region iv-a. Regions XII and car have the least number of TVE teachers per school with only 5 and 7 respectively. Technical-vocational–subject teacher-student ratio per school The study

shows the average student per teacher ratio in technical-vocational

classes segmented by region. it can be gleaned from the figure that regions V, NCR, IX, II, and Iv-A have ratios of more than 60 students per teachers while car and region xii has the lowest ratio of 1:34 and 1:35 respectively. Figure 10 shows the proportion of TVE specialists to non-specialists per school by region. region iv-a (21) has the most number of TVE teachers teaching outside of their specialization as compared to its number of TVE teachers handling subjects related to their specialization (2). Regions IX and CAR follow with 4 Nonspecialists per school. NCR (24) has the most number of specialists.

TECHNICAL-VOCATIONAL–SUBJECT SPECIALIST VERSUS NONSPECIALIST TEACHERS The study revealed that the number of schools per region with technical-vocational teachers that receive training for the last three years to keep up with the developments in the various fields of TVE by region as compared to its number of schools whose technical-vocational teachers did not received trainings. Based on the survey, 86 per cent of the TVE teachers in 38 schools in region VIII have not received trainings for more than 3 years. Only 63 out of 220 school respondents (29%) responded that their technical-vocational teachers had received training for the last three years. Average teaching experience of technical vocational teachers The study shows the average number of years a typical TVE

teacher has been

teaching in each region. NCR (19), followed by CAR and Region X ( 18 each) have TVE teachers with the most number of teaching experiences. Physical school facilities The study revealed that the average land areas that a typical technical-vocational high school occupied in each region. Schools in regions II (46), VIII (22), IX (21), and CAR (19) have the largest land areas that are used for agriculture, fishery, arts and trade and fishery related courses. Average school buildings by region The study showed the average number of school buildings of a typical technicalvocational high school in each region. Schools in region iv-a has the most number of buildings (17) while schools in Region XI and XII have the least number of buildings (5 each). The study shows the average age of school buildings of a typical technicalvocational high school in each region. school buildings in regions ix and ii are the oldest with an average age of 18 years while schools in Region III have the latest school buildings with an average age of 6 years.

School classrooms, laboratories, and workshops (average) The table shows the proportion of classrooms, laboratories, and workshops in a typical technical-vocational school established throughout each region. Regions IV –A (39), NCR (31) and IX (30) have the largest number of classrooms per school while CAR and region XII have the least number of classrooms per school (9 each). NCR also has the most number of laboratories (10) and workshops (12) as compared to other regions. Equipment and machines The average percentages of usable equipment and machines throughout the country are 84.63% and 81.82%, respectively. It should, however, be noted that most of these equipment and machines may be outmoded. The

percentage of

functional equipments and machines in a typical school all through out the country by region. Average age of equipments and machines by region (in years) The study surveyed the age of machines and equipments in a typical school per region. Schools in National Capital Region failed to provide the average age of their machines and equipments. Schools in region ii have the oldest machines and equipments (17.50 years) while schools in region I have the latest machines and equipments (3.5 and 4.6 years, respectively).

MOVING FORWARD Based on the data gathered and the analysis of the results and findings of the survey with the aid of the tables and figures included in this report, we have come up with the following essential guidance with regard to enhancing and further developing the DepED’s TVE program: 1) A technical-vocational school’s specialization must be kept in line with the thriving industries in the local community. For instance, if the province or region is well known for its exquisite and export-quality handicrafts, then the technical-vocational institutions should implement a curriculum that leans more toward industrial arts, home economics, or entrepreneurship. If, however, a province or region is well known for producing the best breed of

plants or fruits, then the technical-vocational institutions there should lean more toward developing more courses geared toward agriculture. 2) It can be clearly seen that there is a lack in skilled technical-vocational teachers as well. In our analysis by region, it is very easy to see that more of the teachers handling technical-vocational subjects cannot really be considered experts in the field. It is clear, too, that despite their lack of expertise, they are not even given opportunities to develop their own skills in order to better impart their knowledge to their students. 3) It is also very evident that despite the lack of teachers, those that do stay on and continue doing their jobs seem to be overburdened in terms of teacherstudent ratio. This maybe especially hard, for instance, if a teacher handles a class that uses heavy equipment or machinery that may endanger their students. On average, technical-vocational–subject teachers handle around 84 students at once. Teachers assigned to handle classes that may be dangerous should be given a little consideration by lessening their number of students per class so they can more easily supervise and ensure the safety of their wards. 4) The infrastructure in technical-vocational institutions should also be accorded its due importance. Some schools that have thousands of enrollees only have a few classrooms and very small land areas to build more classrooms and other infrastructure should they have the financial capability to do so. Technical-vocational schools may need help financially in order to accommodate all those who want to become more employable and productive, as this is both DepED and the national government’s aim. 5) The equipment and machinery used in technical-vocational institutions, though majority, at least, according to the school heads or principals, are still usable, may not be sufficient as well because they may not be in sync with the equipment and machinery that companies that these students may want to get into use. 6) School heads or principals should also be trained in terms of sourcing for other means of support to keep up with the rapidly changing technologies. They should not just depend on the budget that the DepED is giving them. They can, for instance, solicit for tools, equipment, and machines from huge manufacturers and other large enterprises that frequently upgrade or shift to

a different technology or application anyway or these companies can get tax write-offs. They should, in other words, try to think out of the box and come up with ideas that may improve the quality of education that they provide to their thousands of students. 7) On the part of the DepED, it should continue to focus on providing not only quality education but also useful skills development to learners, especially those that do not have the means to study if high costs are involved. 8) The DepED can also train school heads or principals in terms of business development so as to be able to generate their own funds to keep providing free education to those who need and want it. There are a lot of organizations and institutions that are willing to help in such cases and those in power or have the authority can always turn to them if all else fails. 9) The technical-vocational high-school curriculum can further be developed in such a way that students can choose what technical-vocational course they want to concentrate on, similar to choosing a course in college. This way, instead of becoming knowledgeable in different fields, they can instead become masters in a particular field of their choice. 10) The DepED, aside from giving graduates of technical-vocational high-school– graduates diplomas can also give them certifications on the technicalvocational skills they have acquired. Should they then, for whatever reason, fail to get a college degree, they may still have opportunities to get jobs using their respective certificates.