MANILA – An official of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) on Thursday said the agency is strengthening its foreign language courses.

"Iyong panawagan ng ating mahal na Presidente ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, iyong strengthening foreign skills natin. Mayroon po tayong existing mga foreign language na ini-strengthen natin (In line with President Bongbong Marcos' call to strengthen our foreign skills, we are strengthening TESDA's existing foreign language courses)," TESDA Deputy Director General for TESD Operations Aniceto Bertiz III said in a public briefing.

The Japanese language course, which used to be 150 hours, is now 450 hours.

Bertiz said this is to ensure compliance with Japan's N3 and N4 requirements.

"Of course iyong English Proficiency skills training natin na napakalaki po ang bilang ng mga nag-graduate at nagkaroon ng trabaho sa mga IT-BPOs (Of course there is also our English Proficiency skills training that produced many graduates who eventually worked in the IT-BPO sector)... This is not only for local, but also for (opportunities abroad)," Bertiz added.

TESDA earlier announced that five more languages -- Italian, French, Mandarin, Arabic, and Korean -- will be offered beginning September.

Bertiz said Arabic was included because many have been going to the Middle East to work.

German language, on the other hand, is still being offered due to the health workers that are being recruited to work in Germany.

Bertiz said those who are employed locally have the chance for a bigger compensation since they have the additional skills.

Meanwhile, Bertiz said TESDA is supporting the government's call to review the education curriculum to boost one's competitiveness.

"We are supporting this, and we are doing this at TESDA," he said in Filipino.

TESDA reviews its training courses, curriculum, and modules yearly. It has partnered with various industries revising the courses and modules that the agency offers.

"TESDA now is demand-driven. We adopt the courses that the industry needs," he said.

Bertiz added that because of TESDA's partnership with different industries and government agencies, trainees are getting better chances for employment. (PNA)