Cotabato City (July 25, 2015) – For the second semester of 2015, almost 400 students in Maguindanao completed their skills training under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The number of graduates reflects an increase of more than 100% from 2014.Last Friday, July 24, during the mass graduation rites, a total of 395 technical vocational students graduated at the Regional Manpower Development Center, Brgy. Rebuken, Sultan Kudarat.The training program, which expanded from 45 to 55 days, has the support of partner institutions and trade schools accredited by the TESDA. Schools in Maguindanao province and Cotabato City accredited by TESDA include Jcourse Technology Institute, Inc., Southern Kutawato Empire, CAD-IT, Microspan Software Technology Inc., and Ittihadun Nisa Foundation Inc.“The marketplace in businesses demands employees with greater level of formal education and the vocational schools have always responded to the needs of employers for labor,” Shaima Agassor, vice-president of Ittihadun Nisa Foundation Inc. said.Short-term courses offered under the program are computer hardware servicing, automotive servicing, consumer electronics servicing, electrical installation and maintenance, machining, plumbing, commercial cooking, consumer electronics, dressmaking, food and beverage and bread and pastry production, and driving.Dr. Taugan Kikay, team leader of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)-Project Management Team, said the skills training is an educational component also of the Sajahatra Bangsamoro, which is a socio-economic initiative for Moro communities that avails wider access to opportunities in alleviating poverty.Another key component is focused on health services, including the issuance of PhilHealth cards. The Sajahatra is aimed at accelerating the transition of conflict-affected communities into productive areas. “The program caters also to the MILF rebel-returnees and their dependents for key employment and job generation,” said Kikay.Most of the graduates are MILF members and residents of ARMM and Cotabato City. They received certificates and tool kits to start their respective trade. The kits are based on the vocational courses they have finished.Omarkhayyam Dalagan, regional operations division chief of TESDA-ARMM underscored the continuous effort of the agency to deliver quality and relevant technical vocational education to the people of the region. “Students can gain experiences they need for their job interests,” he added.“TESDA helped us a lot, now it’s not late for us to start our own business,” 35-year old MILF member Abdulmohaimen Abo said in the vernacular. He has finished metals and engineering machining course and has encouraged other MILF members to take TESDA courses.“Because of this program, many were employed and we hope its coverage would expand further,” said Noraisa Ambil, a pharmacy services graduate.
TESDA offices offer assessment services on a regular basis and those who pass the assessment are automatically issued a national certificate that serves as seal of excellence. (Bureau of Public Information)