MANILA, Philippines - Under the leadership of Secretary Joel Villanueva, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is revving up its pro-poor thrust, taking its mobile bus training and assessment facility in Marikina City on Saturday for 141 trainees.
Villanueva, TESDA director general, and other agency officials introduced their Mobile Training and Assessment Plus (MTAP) Park and Train Bus in Barangay Tumana for the benefit of residents who need an opportunity to learn vocational courses and land a job.
It is part of the agency's innovation to reach out to more people and help in the campaign against poverty.
''We innovate to educate especially our disadvantaged youth through this mobile learning centers. In the coming months, we hope that this bus journeys through more communities bringing with it the promise of alternative technical vocational school,'' said Villanueva.
For its Barangay Tumana stop, it will be parked for over a month or so, that is until the trainees completed their courses, such as on Computer Hardware Servicing (CHS); Motorcycle Servicing/Small Engine Servicing; Driving; Haircut leading to Hairdressing; Wellness Massage; and Community Disaster Management Program.
MTAP's first stop was in Barangay Bagong Silangan in Quezon City in February, where it stayed for a month and half, providing training to 132 trainees.
Director Mitzi Tangonan, TESDA-National Capital Region, told the Manila Bulletin Sunday the Barangay Bagong Silangan stop of MTAP gave certificate of training to all the participants, 97 percent of them passing the assessment for a National Certificate (NC).
She said only the course on disaster management did not require an assessment.
''To ensure the trainees land a job, they were all given tool kits and were also given training on entrepreneurship, for self-employment. Some of them also landed a job. About 90 percent have a job,'' said Tangonan.
TESDA gave the MTAP trainees the opportunity to learn and earn, she said, adding the agency has a monitoring scheme to check whether they are using the training they had.
On the other hand, Director Marta M. Hernandez, in a separate interview, said the mobile training is one way for TESDA to reach the difficult-to-reach barangays in the NCR.
She said TESDA offices across the country are also into providing vocational education training in their areas.
''It is a way to help the poor learn new things and give them opportunity to get a job,'' said Hernandez.
She confirmed that the bus being used for the MTAP was a donation of Genesys Group of Companies intended as a shuttle service for TESDA employees.
''Then, we in TESDA decided to convert the bus into a mobile training facility and make it more useful,'' said Hernandez.
It could be recalled the government agency introduced the MTAP in February this year, sort of ''If Muhammad cannot come to the mountain, then the mountain will come to Muhammad.''
Thus, the training and assessment bus rolls into and give priorities to areas that are ''remote and hard to reach by public services, regularly stricken by natural calamities, and areas with less fortunate beneficiaries who cannot afford transportation expenses.''
Villanueva cited the mobile training program as a showcase of what he described as ''the strong public-private partnership'' that TESDA has struck with private donors.