Returning OFWs urged to take up TESDA's online agri courses

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2021 01:43 PM

MANILA — Repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are urged to take up virtual courses related to agriculture that the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is offering.

TESDA Director General Isidro Lapeña said Wednesday that former OFWs can learn to produce food for their families or become "agripreneurs" by enrolling in the agency's agriculture-related courses, one of the sectors with fewer enrollees under the agency's online training program.

"We can also take the courses under the agriculture sector so we can ensure that more of us will know how to produce our own food for our families and loved ones," Lapeña said in a statement.

TESDA has been offering its programs to repatriated OFWs — many of whom lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic — so they could acquire new skills or improve their existing capabilities.

Under the TESDA Online Program (TOP), 80 courses divided into 14 sectors, including 21st century skills, agriculture, entrepreneurship, health care, information and communication technology, and tourism, are available.

Tourism is the most desired by OFWs and their dependents, with 23,818 OFWs or dependents enrolling in courses under the sector from March 16 to December 31, 2020, according to TESDA.

Human health or healthcare courses ranked second with 12,368 enrollees, followed by entrepreneurship with 11,416 OFWs or dependents taking up courses under the sector, TESDA said.

In agriculture, which has 9 courses, 2,679 OFWs or dependents enrolled in the fruit grower course by the end of 2020, according to TESDA. No OFW or dependent has enrolled for the other 8 courses.

Aside from online courses, face-to-face training is also available under the agri-fishery program, TESDA said.

TESDA earlier said its online program accommodated 1,238,522 registrants since the start of the pandemic until the end of 2020. 

Of the figure, 86,100 are OFWs or their dependents.