MANILA -- Rhen Lu Ocampo, 31, is a nursing graduate who preferred to put up her own business instead of working in a hospital.

“I was able to practice nursing for a few years before I decided to do business because of my kids. I’m able to use the knowledge and skills I’ve acquired when my family and friends ask about first aid and other treatments which don’t require hospitalization,” she told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.

Ocampo is one of the many who decided to take nursing in college in the hope of landing a stable employment overseas. Although she knew she would excel in doing what she’s passionate about, she became practical when she chose nursing as it was deemed an “in demand” career.

Acknowledging that her parents’ investments on her education were bigger or did not result in their desired economic rewards, Ocampo said she would take the time to guide her children in choosing the ideal course for them in college.

“As young as they are, I can already see their talents and likes. I will guide them to nurture the potentials I see in them. And I will help them develop it and I will tell them to consider a lot of things, not just money because having a job that is in line with their skills, talents, passion will give them real joy,” she said.

Ocampo’s case is one of the usual mismatches between educational investment and the career path that learners tread after graduation.

In the 2017 Youth Education Investment and Labor Market Outcomes Survey (YEILMOS) conducted by Asian Development Blog and Department of Education (DepEd), learners heed the advice of immediate family and social contacts when selecting their college course.

YEILMOS analyzed 3,750 randomly selected Grades 9 to 11 students and their families in Metro Manila, Ilocos Sur, Eastern Samar, and Davao del Sur.

The survey showed that the education choices of the respondents were done in deep consideration of their needs, especially financial, but with little understanding of the education cost.

Because of this, the learners’ families suffer in many aspects when returns to education are not necessarily viewed as being commensurate to education-related investments.

Citing that some Technical Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) program graduates find employment right away, Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) Director Love Basillote told PNA that there are certain careers or professions that don’t require a college diploma, which is considered a bigger educational investment.

“Anecdotally, many of our TVET graduates are employed immediately, and there are certain professions which earn a lot more than college graduates, for example in Palawan, because there is an influx of tourists, many hotels would want to start there, they are looking for construction workers who can help build the hotels, the daily salary is three times that of a college graduate who is working on the bank,” she said.

Referring to the participants of related surveys PBEd conducted, Basillote pointed out that some of them think there is a mismatch between their educational attainment and their current jobs.

“Some think that they are overqualified for the work that they're doing. It could be that they're doing something which simply requires a technical vocational certificate but then they got a college degree to do a job which requires a K to 12 program or a national certificate from TESDA only,” she said.

Basillote explained that improved dissemination of labor market information and quality career guidance programs are the keys to solving this mismatch issues.

"It can be a mix of two things, one would be providing students, their parents and their social circles of the various opportunities and careers out there and communicating to them what sort of educational investments are required to have access to the careers or jobs. That is labor market information that will be disseminated," she said.

Basillote added that the DepEd's career education program must be strengthened -- looking into the capacities, interests and internal attributes of the learners.

"By that I mean, their likes, that is career planning which requires an understanding of who you are as a person and what you're capable of. For example, when you decided to be a journalist you looked at what you really want to do. It could be that you want to be a journalist pero hindi ka naman magaling magsulat, kailangan mo rin tingnan iyon (but you're not good at writing, you also need to consider that)," she said. (PNA)