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Empowering Communities Through Digital Skills in the Philippines

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The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is spearheading a key initiative in Cagayan province with its Mobile Training Laboratory (MTL) programme, leveraging digital technology to revolutionise skills training accessibility. These innovative MTLs represent a paradigm shift in vocational education delivery, equipped with state-of-the-art tools, equipment and digital training packages housed within a portable trailer.

Image credits: Technical Education and Skills Development Authority

The Cagayan Valley Region, chosen as one of the pilot regions for the MTL programme, reflects TESDA’s forward-thinking approach to leveraging digital solutions for skills development. With a strategic focus on areas identified as digitally underserved or facing economic challenges, the MTL initiative aims to bridge the digital divide and empower local populations with essential digital skills for the future economy.

Recent training sessions conducted at Aparri Polytechnic Institute showcase the transformative potential of the MTL programme in the digital realm. Participants, including individuals from the Santa Teresita District Jail, engaged in immersive digital skills training programmes, harnessing the power of digital simulations and virtual learning environments to acquire critical skills in auto electrical component repair. This innovative approach not only enhances learning outcomes but also opens new avenues for economic empowerment and digital inclusion.

Looking ahead, the MTLs are poised to extend their digital reach further into communities across Cagayan province. In Santa Ana, identified fisherfolk residing in coastal barangays are set to benefit from upcoming training sessions focused on digital agriculture and sustainable farming practices.

Moreover, the MTLs offer a diverse array of digital qualifications beyond traditional vocational training. From Photovoltaic Systems Installation to Digital Agricultural Practices, participants have access to cutting-edge digital training opportunities tailored to local needs and emerging digital trends. This emphasis on digital skills not only enhances employability but also positions participants to seize opportunities in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

TESDA recently solidified its commitment to advancing the Philippine tech-voc sector by signing a partnership agreement with a renowned technology training systems provider. The collaboration aims to enhance research and development in TVET learning systems, introducing new technologies, models, and approaches.

As part of the agreement, TESDA will send eight trainers to the company for a six-month apprenticeship programme, aligning with TESDA’s goal of ensuring the relevance and responsiveness of the country’s TVET system to industry needs.

Early last year, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) distributed mobile training laboratories (MTLs) to its 10 regional offices, aiming to extend skills training programmes to remote areas, including conflict-affected, disaster-prone, and impoverished provinces, benefitting residents in far-flung areas across the Philippines.

The Mobile Training Laboratories (MTLs) will offer qualifications such as Photovoltaic Systems Installation NC II, Bread & Pastry Production NC II, and Electrical Installation Maintenance NC II, benefiting 5,180 enrollees and producing 6,662 graduates annually, in line with TESDA’s commitment to nationwide skills development and poverty alleviation. Additionally, TESDA has provided 16 service vehicles to selected regional and provincial offices, enhancing their mobility and capacity to deliver efficient services.

In 2023, TESDA leveraged digital and technological advancements to train over 56,000 rice farmers and their families through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund – Rice Extension Services Programme (RCEF-RESP), illustrating a substantial commitment to enhancing agricultural skills nationwide.

As TESDA continues to roll out the MTL initiative, it underscores the agency’s unwavering commitment to promoting digital inclusion and digital skills development at the grassroots level. By integrating digital tools and technologies into vocational training, the MTL initiative ensures that participants are equipped with the digital skills needed to thrive in the digital economy of tomorrow.


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