MANILA — The Philippines should reform its technical and vocational education and training system to meet fast-changing industry needs, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Tuesday.
The ADB said a study it conducted pointed to the need for "reskilling, upskilling, and the development of strong technical and soft skills" to help displaced workers transition into new jobs in Industry 4.0, or technology-driven industrialization.
It also called on the government to further secure industry engagement in skills training, such as anticipating skills demand, ensuring better targeting of skills training programs and greater efficiency of skills supply, limiting mismatches, and improving labor market outcomes.
The ADB study also recommends standardizing and improving workshops, equipment, and digital solutions to meet international norms.
ADB said the study was carried out at the request of the country’s Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
“Industry 4.0 poses a huge challenge to developing nations like the Philippines, as they have traditionally relied on industrialization and its capacity to generate high-paying jobs as a path toward economic growth,” said ADB Vice-President Ahmed Saeed.
Ayako Inagaki, ADB Human and Social Development Director for Southeast Asia, also said the COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected segments of the population that are most in need of upgrading their skills to adapt to the changing needs of the labor market.
“Through much-needed investments and capacity building, the government’s technical and vocational education and training system can help shape labor market outcomes and adjust to anticipated changes to achieve its dual objective of creating a competitive workforce and helping marginalized workers,” Ayako said.
The restrictions imposed due to the pandemic have opened the door for TESDA to adopt online learning and digital tools, ADB said.