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Gatchalian wants job placement program for K-12 grads

VALENZUELA CITY, Philippines – Students at a tech-voc institution in Valenzuela City undergo hands-on training for their welding course, Feb. 2014 file image. The first batch of senior high school graduates under the government’ K-12 program can enter the workforce immediately upon graduation this March. Welding, a lucrative job for a booming economy, is offered thru the program’s Technical-Vocational Livelihood Track. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Senator Win Gatchalian on Thursday called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to work with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to strengthen job placement mechanisms for senior high school graduates who wish to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation.

This month, an estimated 1.4 million students will become the first set of Grade 12 graduates under the K-12 program established by the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 (RA 10533).

“Since this is the first batch of K-12 graduates, prospective employers aren’t exactly sure about what to expect with regard to their skills and competencies. DepEd and DOLE need to be proactive in matching graduates with the right employers by institutionalizing job placement mechanisms that are responsive to the prevailing realities of the job market,” Gatchalian said.

The senator, who serves as vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, stressed that it will be critical for the government to devote significant resources to marketing the employability of K-12 grads.

“One of the main selling points of the K-12 program was its ability to produce better graduates who would be ready to enter the workforce from day one. DepEd and DOLE need to hit this point home with the business community by disseminating information on the competencies of K-12 grads, and by facilitating nationwide job fairs to showcase these competencies,” he said.

“Most importantly, the government needs to keep its promise to the K-12 grads. The young Filipinos graduating this March were told that the extra two years of time and money they would have to invest to earn a senior high school diploma would help them build a brighter future for themselves and their families. These job placement strategies will help turn that promise into a reality,” he added.