/ 26 August 2020

THE TECHNICAL Education and Skills Development Authority is commemorating its 26th founding anniversary this year.

August 25 is declared as the National Tech-Voc Day, the same day TESDA was created by virtue of Republic Act 7794.

Over the years, TESDA has made a significant impact in the lives of thousands of its scholars and graduates through its scholarship programs on various skills training. It continues to record new stories of success and testimonials of remarkable and life-changing impacts from Filipinos who have undergone its training.

Towards the end of the first quarter, the outbreak of Covid19 became a pandemic and TESDA was not spared from the disruptions it brought. Conduct of training and assessment were suspended. However, the agency managed to remain relevant and continues to be of service to the country despite the pandemic.

TESDA Director General Isidro Lapeña immediately prompted the agency’s key officials and all concerned TESDA offices to come up with a plan to ensure continuous service to its clientele taking into consideration everybody’s safety.

This gave birth to Oplan TESDA Abot Lahat: Towards the New Normal – the agency’s main strategic plan to adapt to the new normal amid and post pandemic. The plan aims to contribute to the nation’s food security, health, and job security.

To revamp strategies in delivery of public service, TESDA has adopted flexible and dynamic approaches by utilizing information and communications technology in the processing of applications, verification, and issuance of certifications.

Alternative learning systems for blended learning such as the production of e-learning materials and preparation of communication tools for online conferencing are also made part of the program.

Further, operations of the TESDA Online Program (TOP), the agency’s alternative learning system, was expanded to provide accessible learning opportunities to Filipinos especially now that community quarantine protocols are in place to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

The TESDA chief actively promoted the TOP and encouraged Filipinos to make good use of their free time to retain their productivity while mobility restrictions are still in place.

Those who used to have less time for learning due to their busy schedules back in the normal days found the TOP as a platform to improve themselves and learn new skills, giving them hope in the middle of the pandemic.

Vickie Rushton, a beauty queen and actress, is among the hundreds of thousands of completers of TESDA’s free online courses. Through her social media accounts, she shared her experiences with the platform and encouraged the public to take the TESDA online to learn something new.

From March 16 to August 3, a total of 794,211 individuals registered to the TOP, with 399,166 course completers. Total accumulated registrants since 2012, when it was created, is now at 2,128,193.

TOP now offers 71 free online courses including the latest, Practicing Covid-19 Prevention Measures in The Workplace and Performing Solid Waste Management in The Workplace.

To accommodate the influx of registration and enrollment in the TOP, TESDA, with the assistance of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, has migrated the platform to Amazon Web Services cloud.

While the agency rolls out all these activities to carry out its mandates, initiatives to augment the needs of the Filipinos, in general, were also undertaken.

Lapeña issued Memorandum No. 152 series of 2020 enjoining all TESDA personnel to foster the bayanihan spirit by helping the less fortunate affected by Covid19.

TESDA, in partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, has produced a total of 50,000 baked goods – called the “Bread of Hope” – to feed homeless Filipinos under the latter’s Kapwa Ko, Sagot Ko Program.

The mass production of medical goods and distribution of food assistance and farm products, which was initiated at the start of the Covid19 outbreak in the country, continued even after the effectivity of the Bayanihan Act.

As of August 2020, TESDA, through its regional, district and provincial offices and the TESDA Technology Institutions (TTIs), has produced a total of 407,282 pieces of face masks, 40,150 face shields, 1,205 goggles, 9,863 personal protective equipment and 12,532 liters of sanitizers/disinfectants.

In addition, prototypes of medical gadgets and hands-free, automatic alcohol dispensers were also developed by the TTIs as part of their technology research and contribution to the fight versus the virus.

A total of 190,206 beneficiaries have received TESDA-baked products such as bread, muffins, cookies, doughnuts, macaroons, sandwiches, cupcakes and more.

Packs of various farm products like fruits, vegetables, and seeds, which were harvested from the agency’s mini-organic farms nationwide, were distributed to 29,165 beneficiaries.

To kick off the observance of TESDA’s 26th anniversary, TESDA-Region XI hosted yesterday’s flag raising ceremony where Lapeña addressed all personnel via live broadcast. It was followed by an online mass.

TESDA regional and provincial offices held various outreach programs on August 25. Other activities lined up are the online photo and video contests showcasing the significance of skills during the pandemic.

TESDA employees will also be given free flu vaccines. Model employees and outstanding partners of the agencies will be recognized on August 27, followed by the TVET e-fora web conference series with industry partners and stakeholders.

The weeklong celebration will conclude with the simultaneous launch of various development projects of the TESDA regional and provincial offices nationwide on August 28.