How employers, schools can prepare students for work

MANILA, Philippines – How can schools and employers ensure students are equipped to enter the work force?

Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) Executive Director Love Basillote said on Monday, July 16 the government, the labor industry, and the education sector have to establish a “national plan for workforce development,” as students who are entering the workforce may not be equipped with the skills needed  by employers. (READ: JobStreet 2018 report: Work ethic, communication skills important for employers)

According to PBEd, data showed earning a degree did not translate to work-readiness right away, as college graduates made up 22% of unemployed Filipinos.

Basillote described "workforce development" as a system that aligns what schools are teaching students with the skills and qualities employers look for in potential recruits. 

“Workforce development is an interconnected set of solutions that aligns education and training to national competitive needs. It is an intentional approach that brings together multiple sectors to ensure that the workforce is equipped with skills that are relevant to the economy,” she said.

PBEd said some short-term efforts government, employers, and schools can look to in order to plan for workforce development include:

“Those are the low hanging fruits we see currently,” Basillote said.

She added these efforts can be addressed within the next year or two. 

Compare with other countries

Basillote also stressed the need to compare the skills level of Filipino students with those of students in other countries as many Filipinos seek work abroad where global competitiveness in the workforce is increasing.

“We definitely need to start comparing because you’re dealing with a global market. Filipinos are very mobile so how do you compete with the market abroad? If we have engineers here working as technicians in the Middle East, that’s an issue because it speaks of our lack of competitiveness,” Basillote said.

She added: “It doesn’t matter how good you are in your own vacuum, what matters is how good you are in reference to your partner. What we stand to lose If we don’t start comparing and making sure we are there is that we don’t know where we stand, and in a very competitive world, baka mapag-iwanan nalang tayo (we might get left behind).”

According to PBEd, while investments in education have been increased data showed this did not necessarily translate to students learning. (READ: PH among worst in ease of doing business, education – report)

For instance, while the education sector received billions from the national budget, latest data from the Department of Education (DepEd) from 2008 to 2014 showed the average achievement test scores for both elementary and secondary levels had a passing rate of 59%, which falls below the national target passing rate of 77%. (READ: Education, infra get a third of proposed P3.757-T 2019 nat'l budget)

“We need to know where we stand and then move from there, find solutions, and opportunities to improve the system,” Basillote said. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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