Manila, Philippines --- The Japanese government has signed in on the government efforts to draw students’ interest to technical-vocational education through a joint project with the Department of the Education (DepEd) while boosting the country’s K-to-12 program. Takahiro Morita, senior representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said Japan’s assistance is aimed at preparing Filipino students for employment as soon as they graduate from the senior high school program under K-to-12. “The ongoing assistance to DepEd is part of Japan’s support to help the Philippines become more competitive in the employment market by equipping students with technical skills that industries need,” said Morita. Recently, JICA officials visited the Bataan School of Fisheries (BSF), Floridablanca National Agricultural School (FNAS), and Opol National Secondary Technical School in Mindanao. During the visit, it was established that there is a need to upgrade curriculum, teacher skills, and facilities in implementing the K-to-12 curriculum in order to raise the standards of technical vocational education. The goal is to replicate the existing policies of some institutions that have already established links to some companies. The objective is to tailor-fit student training in educational institutions to suit the needs of the companies. For instance, some vocational schools visited by JICA reported linking with garment industries in the Subic Bay Freeport Area, Bataan Freeport Area, and key food and beverage companies and meat processing industries. “This enhances the students’ opportunities for work after graduation,” said Morita. Aside from the ongoing technical assistance to DepEd, JICA has been supporting the country’s education sector since the 1960s. The construction of school buildings and procurement of school equipment in the poorest provinces of the country was facilitated through JICA’s assistance on the Third Elementary Education Project and the Secondary Education Development and Improvement Project.
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