Filipino educators urge the Duterte government and all stakeholders to mark this year’s International Labor Day as a reminder of the importance of workers and human resources in achieving the country’s development, and how this can be guided only through a nationalist and progressive education system.
The Educators’Forum for Development (EFD), a voluntary association of educators committed to social change and transformative education, said that Filipinos’ huge potential as nation builders is put to waste. This is because the present education system serves the needs of the global market instead of domestic agricultural and industrial development.
Data from the Commission on Higher Education shows a total of 3.55 million Filipino college graduates from 2010 to 2016. But this was still outpaced by graduates of Technical-Vocational-Education and Training (TVET) at 10.54 million, about 60% of whom were certified as highly qualified to work in the country or overseas, based on data from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
According to the EFD, it is unfortunate that TESDA Secretary Irene Isaac believes that tech-voc is a primary option as it trains Filipinos with relevant skills profitable in the global market. The educators’ group said that tech-voc has only shaped a large part of the country’s productive force into low- and semi-skilled workers.
“They are often paid with measly wages and almost minimal benefits. They are often left at the mercy of their contractors, as part of an exploitative value-chain controlled by transnational corporations (TNCs),” the group said.
Only a nationalist and progressive education system could shape the curriculum, training and development of generations of the labor force towards the strengthening of local agriculture and growth of basic industries. This is needed to better ensure people’s welfare and push sustainable economic progress, EFD said.