For the hundreds of thousands of repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have been sent home due mainly to the economic uncertainties brought about by the ongoing CoViD-19 pandemic in their host countries, a bleak future might be staring at them and their families at the onset.
But the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) is offering them a ray of hope, which would be truly timely for the upcoming Holiday Season. Tesda is encouraging these repatriated OFWs to acquire new practical skills by availing themselves of the government’s tuition-free technical vocational education and training (TVET) programs.
“They may freely enroll in state-run or accredited private TVET schools without having to pay for any tuition or miscellaneous fees,” said Aniceto Bertiz III, deputy director-general for partnerships and linkages of Tesda.
TVET program graduates can use their newly acquired proficiencies to establish small tax-exempt, home-based shops under the Barangay Micro Business Enterprises Law, Bertiz said.
“They may also use their new competencies to obtain new jobs here at home or abroad,” he added.
As of October 11, a total of 204,481 OFWs—69,477 sea-based and 135,004 land-based workers—have come home since the CoViD-19 pandemic began, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
“We would urge those aspiring to study for free in TVET schools to visit the Tesda website, where they can search for a new skill that they want to learn, and also find the nearest school that offers the desired program for free,” Bertiz said.
Zero tuition in TVET schools forms part of the government’s Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education (UAQTE), according to Bertiz, a former member of Congress.
“Actually, tuition and other fees are free not just in state universities and colleges, but also in government-run TVET institutions and even Tesda-registered private schools,” he disclosed.
“In fact, Tesda is getting another P2.9 billion next year to pay for all the tuition and miscellaneous fees of students in TVET schools,” he added.
TVET programs provide new knowledge and capabilities for gainful employment or self-employment via a combination of formal, non-formal and informal learning, Bertiz explained.
Meanwhile, Bertiz said that under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, Congress appropriated P1 billion in emergency funding for Tesda’s Training for Work Scholarship Program and Special Training for Employment Program.
“Workers displaced by the CoViD-19 crisis, including repatriated OFWs, may avail of the programs to either acquire new skills or further upgrade their expertise.”
Those interested to avail of the free TVET programs can log on to www.tesda.gov.ph (Tesda)