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Press Release - Gatchalian proposes funding for certification of tech-voc senior high school graduates

The Senate Committee on Finance has accepted Senator Win Gatchalian's proposal for the government to fund the certification of Grade 12 learners under the technical-vocational-livelihood (TVL) track. This, he said, aims to improve the employment prospects of these learners.

Gatchalian, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, proposed the allocation of P438.16 million under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority's (TESDA) development regulatory program for the assessment and certification of senior high school learners. The proposed allocation will cover 420,967 Grade 12 TVL learners.

The senator previously flagged what he called a dead end for senior high school learners who took the TVL track. Based on the Department of Education (DepEd) data for School Year (SY) 2020-2021, only 6.7% or 32,965 out of 473,911 TVL graduates underwent the assessment for national certification. Among those who took the national certification, 31,933 or 97% passed.

"The only constraint why they are not taking the national certification assessment is the cost, which ranges from P760 to P1,370, This is a low-hanging fruit to improve the employability of our senior high school graduates, and this is to fund their certification," Gatchalian said during his interpellation of the proposed TESDA budget for 2024.

Research by the senator's office also revealed that 50% of senior high school TVL graduates are employed in elementary occupations, the lowest level of occupational category in terms of skills requirement. These include street vendors, cleaners, domestic helpers, car and windows washers, and street sweepers. For Gatchalian, this is another reflection of the educational system's failure to fulfill the promise of preparing our senior high school graduates for employment or entrepreneurship.

Gatchalian has also been pushing for the passage of the Batang Magaling Act (Senate Bill No. 2367), which seeks to ensure that senior high school graduates are well-prepared for higher education, middle-skills development, employment, or entrepreneurship. The bill also proposes free national competency assessments to the Deped's senior high school learners.