by Jonathan S. Lacson, Assistant for Formation, FPTI – ERDA Tech
Education is a very good foundation for one’s future. It is essential that a person is equipped with knowledge and skills when he enters the world of work, raises a family, and pursues a chosen career. In the Philippines, there is still a bias though, for getting a college degree instead of a training in technical-vocational education. The phrase “tech-voc lang” is indicative of the low regard of many Filipinos for this kind of career path, however, the large number of college graduates, the accompanying high unemployment rate these days, and the big demand for skilled tech-voc workers is evident. It is high time then for more students to pursue a technical-vocational education because it is more affordable than a college education and there are more opportunities in the workplace that await those who take it.
Technical-vocational education costs less than a college education. It is shorter, usually just two years, as compared to spending four or even more years in college. Moreover, tech-voc schools like the Toyota School of Technology in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, the Meralco Foundation Institute (MFI) in Pasig City, Metro Manila, and the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF) in Pasig but soon-to-be in Laguna offer generous scholarship packages to qualified students.
Undergoing training in technical-vocational education opens a wide door of opportunites for students. Here in the Philippines, many industrial parks have been established, mostly in the Southern Luzon area, thus increasing the demand for skilled tech-voc workers. Likewise, there are still many openings abroad for those who have successfully hurdled the National Certification Exams 3 and 4. It is not a dead-end path for there is a huge potential for advancement from being a worker in the production area to a managerial position through higher tech-voc education.
Indeed, an effective way to lessen the incidence of poverty in the Philippines is to have a greater awareness, acceptance, and appreciation of the good that technical-vocational education can do. Filipinos can draw inspiration from the success stories of those who went the tech-voc way, persevered, and achieved their goals of a better and brighter life for themselves, their families, and their country.