May 19, 2012
ANGARA TO HIGHER EDUC INSTITUTIONS: WORK WITH INDUSTRY TO ADDRESS JOB-SKILLS MISMATCH
Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged Philippine universities, colleges and tech-voc institutions to work more closely with industry to address problems of job-skills mismatch among graduates.
Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, welcomed reports that courses in Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) will soon be integrated into the curriculums of selected universities and colleges, after the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Department of Finance (DOF) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would provide US$650,000 (P27.3 million) in technical assistance to the Philippine IT-BPO industry.
"Through the MOU, IT-BPO knowledge hubs will be set up in at least three universities across the country--one each in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao," said Angara, also Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology. "Our higher education institutions would greatly benefit from similar initiatives that ensure our schools teach the skills industries actually need."
The veteran lawmaker, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), recalled that only 8 out of 100 applicants in the IT-BPO industry actually get hired. He also took note that the country's unemployment rate remains at 7.2 percent, while around 1 million graduates join the labor pool each year.
"While IT-BPO is currently our sunshine industry, the country also needs to start working on boosting other sectors like manufacturing and electronics," emphasized Angara. "We must avoid encouraging oversubscription similar to what happened to nursing and caregiving programs. Thousands of nurses we graduate either don't obtain a license or don't get to practice what they learned in school."
He concluded, "There is no way around it, our higher education institutions ought to work more closely with the industries they aim to provide human capital for. Collaboration should be the status quo if this administration is to fulfill its promise of providing gainful employment to Filipinos."
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