The challenges facing TVET institutions, including considerations in the emerging factors such as increasing globalization, significant migration flows, increasing international labor market opportunities and the growth of international trade and services, has become more significant. In these increasingly significant challenges, quality assurance and recognition is slowly gaining ground to be established tools to determine if these institutions are capable of keeping up with said challenges.
In line with this, the Government of the Philippines through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the National TVET Teachers' Training Academy (NTTA) and the Colombo Plan Staff College for Technician Education (CPSC), had undertaken initiatives to further emphasize the importance of accreditation in assuring the quality and calibre of TVET institutions across the country. To carry out such initiative, CPSC and TESDA joined hands in organizing a one-day National Seminar on Strategies for Quality Improvement through Accreditation held on March 2, 2012 at the TESDA Women’s Center (TWC), Taguig City, Philippines.
The seminar brought together 212 TVET practitioners, administrators, instructors and experts from the different public and private institutions across the country, with the aim of assisting them in providing knowledge on accreditation and maintaining quality assurance mechanisms for TVET institutions. The seminar also aimed to appreciate the need and importance of accreditation in responding to the demands of the national, regional and global labor market. It also emphasized the accreditation as a tool for improving the quality of the TVET institutions. Topics discussed in the seminar revolved around the following broad themes: (1) The Challenges of TVET for Excellence, (2) Building the Quality Culture and (3) Modelling Quality through Accreditation Systems.
Present during the seminar to lead the facilitation of knowledge sharing and deliberations were the CPSC Director General, Dr. Mohammad Naim Yaakub with co-organizers composed of TESDA officials namely: Atty. Teodoro Pascua, TESDA Deputy Director General for Field Operations, Dir. Ted Sanico, Executive Director, TESDA Office of Technology Institutions (OTTI); and NTTA Director Felicidad Zurbano. The session was moderated by Dr. Renato Sorolla, former CPSC Faculty Specialist and currently Faculty Member of the Western Visayas College of Science and Technology (WVCST) in the Philippines.
Invited speakers represent some of the prestigious institutions in the country in terms of accreditation and development. Invited to speak about the Philippine Economic Development Plan was Asst. Dir. Cleofe Pastrana of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Philippines. She expressed the important role that TVET institutions play in shaping the economic development of the country through sharing existing scenarios in the Philippine education. She cited the implementation of the K-12 Educational Reform program which seeks to integrate vocational courses in the basic education stream. She also answered queries regarding proposed strategies in TVET implementation particularly on engaging Local Government Units' (LGU) support and cooperation to vocational institutions.
Mr. Arnel D. Abanto, Vice President and Managing Director of the Center for Quality and Competitiveness at the Development Academy of the Philippines, discussed the continual improvement in the government bureaucracy with focus on certification bodies like the ISO. In his presentation, he urged that government agencies should strive to be efficient in its system and its service to its constituents, and a certification from ISO can be a good evidence of efficient service. He also identified the consequence of an ISO certification to an organization, which includes increased investments and improved processes.
Dr. Romulita Alto, former CPS Faculty Consultant, currently Research Consultant at the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP), identified the compelling reasons for technical and vocational institutions’ accreditation. Her paper centred on the difference of accreditation to certification, the significant reasons why institutions should undergo accreditation, and the potential benefits that accreditation may bring to the institution.
A further elaboration of the Asia-Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) as a mechanism for increasing labor mobility, was provided by Dr. Naim. APACC is one of the services being offered by CPSC. He laid out the processes that accreditation usually undergoes as well as the international accords and agreements in engineering education in support of greater labor mobility. He also discussed the APACC procedure on how it certifies TVET institutions, and identified reasons why it is an important third-party assessor in the field of TVET.
The program ended on a high note with the presence of Prof. Ma. Antonia Arroyo, a Professor at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and a recipient of the 2011 Ten Most Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) award. In her speech she expressed her admiration to the participants for their effort to bring changes in the country, being her fellow educators. She urged them to strive for excellence and significance in their aspirations to take part in the collective nation-building.
The one-day seminar had been very substantial and relevant especially in the topic of TVET institution accreditation. This was reflected in the summative evaluation of the program where it garnered more than 90%. It has also forged CPSC's drive to achieve quality performance and knowledge building in achieving improvement and excellence in the Asia-Pacific region.