Solon wants more special courses to boost MSMEs

By Leonel Abasola

September 21, 2023, 5:43 pm

<p>Senator Chiz Escudero <em>(File photo) </em></p>

Senator Chiz Escudero (File photo) 

MANILA – Senator Chiz Escudero on Thursday cited the need to pass a measure that will create special courses to boost the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector, considered as the backbone and driver of Philippine economy.

“There is a dearth in curricular offerings tailor-made for incubating, managing, growing MSMEs, one which draws from experiences, both triumphs and failures, of local MSMEs,” Escudero, chair of the Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education, said in a statement.

He urged his colleagues to support Senate Bill No. 2442 or the Philippine Entrepreneurs' Academy Act, which seeks to provide undergraduate and graduate degree programs on entrepreneurship.

Escudero said this will boost entrepreneurship and strengthen the core competencies of up-and-coming Filipino entrepreneurs.

Under SB 2442, the proposed academy shall offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs and short-term diploma or certificate courses on entrepreneurship, including entrepreneurship development in the fields of agriculture, trade, technology and manufacturing.

“This bill answers a need that is integral to national economic development plans of manufacturing resurgence, high value-chain creation, jobs generation, and enterprises that pay taxes which are plowed back to the people,” he said.

The Academy’s mandate includes the following:

(a) Enhance the core competencies of individuals on entrepreneurship;

(b) Cater to the needs of technical-vocational, undergraduate and graduate students;

(c) Promote the relevance of entrepreneurship to job generation and sustainable economic growth of the country;

(d) Formalize and integrate, under a school system, the non-formal entrepreneurship programs and short-term technical-vocational courses of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and other government agencies concerned;

(e) Provide education, consultancy and extension services;

(f) Supervise publication on entrepreneurship;

(g) Conduct scientific and policy-oriented research and training; and

(h) Perform other interventions as may be formulated by its Board of Trustee.

Escudero, however, said the creation of the academy does not duplicate degrees that some state universities and colleges (SUCs) have been offering.

It will instead be offering specialized courses within this particular discipline. It fills a gap in the higher education landscape, one that is customized for a sector that is a growth driver, wealth creator, and jobs generator.

The academy will have two campuses, with the main campus to be established in the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone, which will be known as the Philippine Entrepreneurs’ Academy Main Campus-Clark. The second campus will be put up in Baguio City, to be known as the Philippine Entrepreneurs’ Academy-Baguio City Campus.

The proposed law allows the creation of more campuses upon approval of its governing board.

Meanwhile, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said only 64 percent of TESDA for 2022 took assessments for national certifications.

He also lamented the decreasing targets for the number of Technical Vocational and Education Training (TVET) graduates that underwent assessment. From a 70 percent target in 2023, the target for 2024 is down to 60 percent.

The certification is needed by the graduates to be employed as employers value the certification of those courses.

Those who do not undergo assessments and receive certifications take courses that have no training regulations. Some of these courses include creative web design and other information and communication technology (ICT) courses, as well as language training courses.

While those with training regulations are the only ones that have competency assessment tools. Some programs, however, including those that are enterprise-based and community-based have no existing training regulations.

Gatchalian is also pushing for the certification of senior high graduates who took the technical-vocational-livelihood (TVL) track to boost their employability.

He proposed to include PHP1 billion in the 2024 budget for the certification of around 400,000 TVL learners. (PNA)