AS various industries start adapting to the changes caused by the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic, Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas said the P754.4-billion education budget under the proposed 2021 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) must be utilized to equip students with skills needed in the “new normal.”
Vargas, a vice chairman of the House committee on appropriations, said there should be adequate funding for training programs for students, particularly those in senior high school and higher education institutions, as well as those taking up technical-vocational courses.
“With the pandemic forcing a shift in business models, simply having a diploma is not enough. Our students must have the skills that will make them attractive to employers here and abroad,” said Vargas.
Vargas said the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) should have training programs for workers interested to learn construction skills, such as welding, masonry, carpentry and plumbing.
“We expect construction jobs to increase in the coming years as the economy continues to bounce back from the pandemic. Skilled workers will be in demand,” he said.
Vargas said students should also have free access to online courses to improve digital skills such as coding, web development and digital marketing, as it opens a lot of opportunities for employment. “Majority of businesses have a digital presence, so workers with digital know-how will be an asset to employers,” he said.
The Department of Education, along with state universities and colleges, TESDA and Commission on Higher Education, have the highest allocation in the proposed P4.5-trillion national spending plan for 2021.
TESDA’s proposed budget includes a P3.6-billion allocation for the implementation of the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), which aims to address job requirements of priority industries and sectors with high employment demand, such as general infrastructure, information technology-business process management, agri-fisheries and logistics.