MANILA — The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority said Thursday it was planning to offer its contact tracing training program in other regions, starting with Calabarzon, in the coming weeks as government continued to strengthen efforts to identify close contacts of COVID-19 patients.
Earlier this month, the TESDA launched its contact tracing training program, which was initially offered in Metro Manila.
"[It is] intended for the whole country... Maybe in a week or two, there will be a training in Region 4A (Calabarzon)," said TESDA Director General Isidro Lapeña at a Senate hearing on his agency's proposed 2021 budget.
The program is offered for free to all high school graduates aged 21 to 59, and is done online.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said government would hire 50,000 contact tracers nationwide. Successful applicants may receive a salary of around P18,000, he added.
Lapeña also said more than 965,000 have registered for TESDA's free online courses, which were intensified in mid-March due to the imposition of COVID-19 lockdowns across the country.
But he clarified that those who finish the courses only receive certificates of completion and not National Certificates (NCs), which when obtained can be used in job hunting.
Lapeña said that to attain an NC, the TESDA student must undergo in-person assessment, which is still largely prohibited due to the continuing threat of COVID-19.
Face-to-face sessions in TESDA are allowed only in areas under modified general community quarantine (GCQ), he said.
"We will wait for a time when we have a better quarantine condition. If it becomes modified GCQ, then we can start with the assessment," he said.
For now, most TESDA trainings are done through flexible learning or a blend of online and limited face-to-face sessions, Lapeña explained.
Lapeña noted that the top courses availed by the public under TESDA's online programs are computer system servicing, massage therapy, food processing, cookery, food and beverage services, housekeeping, and trainers' methodology.