- DG Lapena, DDG Urdaneta, and officials of TESDA,
- Ms Sakamoto, Senior Skills and Employability Specialist, and ILO colleagues,
- Representatives from various TESDA training centres and industries,
- Ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga (good morning).
We are glad to be part of this ILO-TESDA Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) in Technical Vocational Education Curriculum Guide Workshop Graduation.
Congratulations for completing the STEM in TVET Curriculum Guide Workshop. This is a first step in your trainer journey as you become the first trainers in the Philippines to specialize in STEM in TVET.
Indeed, this is a turning point in our history when the world is faced with unforeseen challenges of COVID-19, particularly in education and training.
Over the past few months, we have seen the closure of schools and sudden shift to online education in the primary, secondary, tertiary and TVET levels. Despite the closures of our training centres, learning has never stopped. In fact, learning has accelerated particularly in TVET training.
With all the challenges brought about by technological advances, climate change, demographic changes and now the COVID-19 pandemic, learning has gone to warp speed online to enable workers to rebuild a more resilient country during the pandemic, and to ensure a better future of work.
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) was among the first government agencies to immediately respond to these learning challenges. Through its TESDA Online Programme, more than 3000 TVET trainers, and over 800,000 users have benefitted. Your ability to respond quickly to the learning needs is most commendable and is something all of you should be proud of.
Responsive technical and vocational training programmes is one of our priorities under the Decent Work Country Programme Philippines. It is crucial that these programmes focus on the need to develop STEM competencies that will prepare workers to be agile and resilient in the face of the rapid changing requirements of the future of work across sectors.
This initiative under the ILO Women in STEM programme, funded by J.P.Morgan, recognizes the emerging and evolving areas for the future of TVET.
Future economies require a suite of skills that do not “box in” individuals on their current job designations but make them adaptive and agile to take on new tasks and new learnings on the job.
STEM competencies are well-matched to the needs of the future economies. They encompass 21st century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration but also emphasize other thinking skills such as systems thinking, transdisciplinary thinking, multi-literacies, and socio-emotional intelligence like agency, empathy, and a global mindset.
For example, the STEM skill of systems thinking enables workers in a big organization to dispel the perspective of “just a small cog in a big machine” but rather encourage workers to appreciate the value of their contributions to the larger picture of success of the company.
On the other hand, the STEM skill of transdisciplinary thinking makes workers solve complex problems within the workplace while considering merging of solutions from different units and even from different fields of qualification.
This writeshop has indeed demonstrated STEM in TVET in action. It has also shown that it can seamlessly integrate with the existing TVET4.0 framework of TESDA.
STEM is already in the TESDA qualifications. It is a matter of fortifying them through STEM-oriented learning activities and assessments that activate STEM competencies.
STEM in TVET supports the reskilling revolution of the hidden STEM economy – the skilled technicians and technologies that form the backbone of advanced industries, research facilities, and innovation centers.
It is thus important to sustain the momentum for STEM in TVET. The future of work and the reskilling revolution are unveiling the hidden STEM economy much faster than before. Education, training, and workforce readiness and development programmes have to keep up with the pace.
I look forward to seeing the remarkable work you have done for STEM in TVET. Congratulations for all the good and impressive work. I am also excited to see what lies ahead and your upcoming initiatives in 2021 to bring STEM in TVET to more training centres and communities.
Maraming salamat po.