While many have believed that our social fabric is torn asunder by rapid technological advancement, a revolution is actually underway to restructure the world economy and system of governance. Because of technologies, boundaries have become more porous allowing a freer flow of people, goods, and services.
Take for example the emergence of regional communities such as the ASEAN Economic Community which led to a greater mobility for citizens of member states particularly the workers, students, and professionals. In this global setting, comparability of qualifications has become an important issue. That is why the importance of development and implementation of quality assured Philippine Qualifications Frameworks (PQF) was born.
What prodded the establishment of PQF? First, there was glaring problem of job mismatch against educational qualifications. Second, there were issues of comparability for a significant number of skilled workers and professionals working in different parts of the world, and there was the reality of ASEAN Economic Community at the onset.
While the PQF groundwork started in the tech-voc sector in 1998 under the baton of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) who spearheaded the reforms of competency-based training, it only sank its teeth during Former President Benigno Aquino III’s term when he signed E.O. No. 83 institutionalizing the PQF as a national policy that describes the level of educational qualifications and sets the standards for qualifications outcomes.
Plainly said, PQF is a quality-assured national system for development, recognition, and award of qualifications based on standards of knowledge, skills, and values acquired in different methods by the learners or workers. It is competency-based, labor-market driven and assessment-based. To harmonize the educational and training policies of our country, the PQF-National Coordinating Council was created. Chaired by the Secretary of DepEd, PQF-NCC includes members such as TESDA, CHED, DOLE, and PRC.
As you have known, our country is adopting educational reforms through RA 10533 aka “The Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013” which added 2 more years of Senior High School to decongest the packed basic education curriculum and ensure the development of holistic Filipinos through mastery of concepts and competencies. This prompted the shift to outcome-based evaluation as well encouraging a student to be lifelong learners and build up his qualifications as his needs arise. What proves his technical competence? National Certifications.
Each level in the framework bears descriptors (skills, knowledge, values, application, degree of independence) that promote a student to the next level. A CITE student for example, given his bundled competencies may have already reached level 5 (diploma level) with his skills set and outcomes which if accredited internationally, his qualification level can be that of an engineering technologist (based on Sydney International Education Accord) or engineering technician (based on Dublin International Education Accord).
According to RD Florencio Sunico Jr. during the echo-seminar on May 8 at Montebello, “The PQF provides the standards, taxonomy and typology of qualifications as bases for granting approvals to providers and stakeholders. It also harmonizes qualifications and education and training across the country.”
CITE’s Industrial Technician Program (ITP), on the other hand, has been in the forefront with his educational dynamics that has been tested by times and tried by educational reforms. What if we can offer a diploma program for technologists such as Diploma in Electrical Engineering Technology, Electronics Engineering Technology or Mechanical Engineering Technology? What if we can scale it up to a Bachelor’s degree with add-ons of management subjects?
The substantiation and articulation of PQF in our platform seem to fit perfectly well. With the ongoing consultations at regional levels, revisions of policies, standards, and guidelines (PSGs) on credit transfers, articulation, portability, and recognition of prior learning (RPL), public hearings, and harmonization with participating agencies at all levels, it is not a far cry that CITE will again blaze a trail with its groundbreaking programs that give the poor a fighting chance to get diploma or even degree programs. ⊗