1 An Alternative Senior High School Technical Vocational Track: A Terminal Course for High School Fr. Onofre G. Inocencio Jr., SDB, the Superintendent of Don Bosco Schools and TVET Centers, has presented his advocacy at the various regional and national fora of CEAP schools and other educational institutions and organizations. It was officially endorsed by the Salesian Philippine North Province (FIN) as approved by the Provincial and his Council in their meeting last May 13, It was also officially approved and endorsed by the CEAP Board of Trustees during their meeting on June 3, The proposal was discussed in the CEAP-DEPED consultative forum held on June 10, 2014 with DEPED Undersecretary Dina Ocampo and Mr. Elvin Uy in attendance. It also received the approval and support of the COCOPEA Task Force for Basic Education in a meeting held last June 17, Congressman Romulo, Committee Chair of TESDA and CHED of the House of the Representatives fully support and endorse the same advocacy. The paper was also presented to Congresswoman Evelina Escudero and Senator Francis Escudero.
2 An Alternative Senior High School Technical Vocational Track: A Terminal Course for High School After the promulgation of the Senior High School (SHS) curriculum last January 14, 2014, there had been several issues and concerns raised by school administrators and the industry regarding its implementation. This paper presents an alternative curriculum design for the SHS Tech-Voc Track vis-àvis the Department of Education s (DEPED) proposal. It is based on the long years of experience, involvement and leadership of Don Bosco institutions in the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the country. It is an advocacy that has been shared and has gathered support from the various assemblies of educational institutions and organizations at the regional and national level. In the K to 12 Program the student chooses a track to pursue in the Senior High School (Gr 11 & 12) from the four main tracks offered in the SHS Program, namely: Academic Track (with the following strands) STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) ABM (Accounting, Business and Management) HUMSS (Humanities and Social Sciences) General Academic ( a provision for those who are undecided in their career choice) Sports Track Arts and Designs Track Tech-Voc Track (with the following strands) Home Economics, Information and Communications Technology, Agri-Fishery Arts, Industrial Arts The student s choice is limited by the capability of the institutions to offer the different tracks and strands in terms of facilities, equipment, faculty and infrastructure to support the implementation of the program. There are no major concerns on the part of schools to offer the different strands of the Academic Track. The surveys conducted by the DEPED and the different schools revealed that most prospective students of SHS would opt for the Academic Track. The Sports Track, and the Arts and Designs Track would cater mostly to select students with aptitude towards bodily-kinesthetic, visualspatial and musical intelligences. But many students particularly the poor look forward to SHS Tech- Voc Track as a pathway by which they can empower themselves for immediate employment after high school. However, school administrators are apprehensive to offer the Tech-Voc Track because of the challenges and demands the program imposes on the institutions. Don Bosco in the Philippines has championed the cause of technical vocational education and training since the beginning of their educational apostolate in the country in 1951 by establishing secondary schools offering a dual curriculum (academic and technical curriculum). In 1970 Don Bosco established Training Centers to provide the out-of-school youth skills for employment to alleviate them from poverty and enable them to live life with decency and self-respect. The Salesians perseveringly pursued Don Bosco s mission for the youth by taking leadership in skilling the underserved youth forging partnership with business and industry, government and non-government organizations, local
3 government units and the general public who champion the welfare of the marginalized youth. Don Bosco s Tech-Voc program is preferentially directed towards this sector of society. Today there are 20 TVET Centers all over the country with an annual enrollment of about 3894 trainees. The name, Don Bosco, is closely associated with quality technical and vocational education and training in the country (ADB, 2008). Don Bosco is acknowledged by the academe and the industry as top leader in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training particularly for the marginalized youth. Table 1 presents the current Tech-Voc Program of the DB TVET Centers (e.g.- Automotive Servicing NCII). The program consist of ten months in-campus training and five months on-the- job training (OJT) in the workplace. DB TVET Centers Technical courses are offered as bundled skills, an advantage given to Bosconians as multi-skilled workers compared with their counterparts in the workplace. Many of the graduates of the program are absorbed by the company where they undertook their OJT. The graduates are gainfully employed after 15 months of training. The employment rate of the graduates is registered at 85% - 95%? Table 1: Current Tech-Voc Program of the Don Bosco TVET Centers The number of hours dedicated to develop the soft core and hard core of the curriculum are distributed as follows: 30% = soft core (Academic subjects and Salesian Spirituality) 70% = hard core (Technical subjects) = 30% lecture; 70% hands-on practice It is in direct contrast to the Tech-Voc Program proposed by DepEd for the SHS - a reverse proportion: 70% = academics (core and contextualized subjects) 30% = specialized subjects (skills training) Graduates of DB Tech-Voc training program are very much appreciated by the industry not only for their competencies in the different trades attested by their hands-on capabilities but also their better work discipline, attitudes and values. This is the acclaimed image Bosconians enjoy at the workplace. The training program also addresses the particular concern of students who have reached the age of 17 and above but have not completed the academic requirements for the formal Tech-Voc Training. The DB TVET Centers facilitates the fulfillment of this requirement through the Alternative Learning
4 System (ALS) modules whereupon completion of the program a student could earn a high school diploma. The program therefore is directed to embrace a greater number of the marginalized youth. The DB TVET Centers include the ALS component into their program. The proposal that all SHS graduates are equipped with skills for employment/entrepreneurship and are college ready is quite discomforting for many particularly the students who would opt to take the SHS Tech-Voc Track. It is also disconcerting for school administrators because it took away the focus of preparing the students for employment according to industry standards as the DEPED SHS program includes heavily laden academic load imposed on the students. The primary reason why most students would choose the SHS Tech-Voc Track is the urgency to address their need for employment. The program therefore should be able to address this basic expressed need and the consideration of the profile of the clientele of the SHS Tech-Voc Track as the main preoccupations in the design of the curriculum. All SHS tracks follow a common basic design as proposed by the DEPED. The SHS Program consists of: 15 Core subjects (1,200 hours) 16 Track subjects o 7 Contextualized subjects (560 hours) o 9 Specialized subjects (720 hours) The proposed Gr. 11 & 12 curriculum will have 31 subjects consisting of 80 hours per subject therefore a total of 2480 hours for the SHS Program. There are four semesters and each semester consists of 100 class days. The students would stay in school approximately about six hours a day. Table 2. Senior High School Core Subjects Hours per Core Learning Areas and Subjects semester Language Oral Communications Reading and Writing Komunikasyon at Pananaliksik sa Wikang Filipino at Kulturang Filipino Pagbasa at Pagsulat sa Iba't ibang Teksto Tungo sa Pananaliksik Humanities 21st Century Literature from the Philippines and the World Contemporary Arts from the Regions Communications Media & Information Literacy Mthematics General Mathematic Statistics and Probability Science Earth and Life Sciences (Lecture and Laboratory) Physical Science (Lecture and Laboratory) Social Science Personal Development Understanding Society and Culture Philosophy Introduction to Philosophy of the Human Person PE and Health Physical Education and Health
5 The Core Subjects (1200hours) consists of general education subjects in higher Education cascaded to the SHS that address the eight learning areas: Language, Humanities, Communications, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Philosophy, and Physical Education and Health with the corresponding subjects as shown in Table 2. Table 3. Senior High School Contextualized Subjects Academic, Technical-Vocational-Livelihood, Sports, Arts and Design Tracks 1 English for Academic and Professional Purposes 2 Research 1 Qualitative Research in Daily Life 3 Research 2 Quantitative Research in Daily Life 4 Pagsulat sa Filipino sa Piling Larangan (Akademik, Isports, Sining at Tech Voc) 5 Empowerment Technologies (E-Tech) /ICT for Professional Track 6 Entrepreneurship 7 Research Project / Culminating Activities As a provision for the vocational floundering of students, a phenomenon usually observed of students at this stage of their academic pursuit, DEPED included the Contextualized Subjects (560 hours) consisting of 7 subjects common for all the tracks (cfr. Table 3). The subjects may vary in content for the different tracks but the competencies developed are the same for all tracks. Should a student decide to shift track during the SHS year, he would have gained the advantage of unit credits of the 7 track subjects. Table 3 lists the contextualized subjects for all the tracks. Specialized Subjects (720 hours) of the SHS Tech-Voc Track (cfr. Table 4) consist of modules designed for training on particular trade based on the training regulations established by TESDA. National Certification is accomplished through trade test of various levels: NCI, NCII, NCIII, NCIV. The levels indicate the increasing complexities of the skills involved in the trade. Both the contents and standards of the TVET programs are under the supervision of TESDA. Table 4. Senior High School Tech-Voc Specialized Subjects
6 The TVET programs are simultaneously implemented by both TESDA and DEPED. For each Tech-Voc course and level of National Certification, TESDA has promulgated the corresponding Competencybased Curriculum to be followed. The SHS Tech-Voc Track program aims to provide the student with at least an NC II qualification as envisioned in the Philippine Qualification Framework (PQF). If the curriculum of the SHS Tech-Voc Track as organized by the DEPED is laid out and plotted it would appear as shown in Table 5. It can be observed that students are hard pressed with burdensome academic load rather than equipping them more for work. Such academic load may turn out to be a stumbling block for the completion of the SHS for many students and therefore would only increase further the number of school drop outs. The curriculum puts premium on the preparation of students for entry to tertiary education rather than honing their skills for work that would meet industry standards. Why should everyone be prepared to pursue tertiary education? Why put the obligation to students to take up all the subjects that prepare them for College when many of them may not even pursue higher education at all and would be most content to finish only secondary education. Pushing the students to take heavy load of academic work to prepare them for college admission would only frustrate many of them. The SHS Tech-Voc Track Program as proposed by DEPED has pre-empted the need for tertiary education for all students. It is putting the cart before the horse. Table 5. SHS Tech-Voc Track (DEPED s Design) There is a high percentage of poor youth who drop out from grade school and high school in the country. Philippines ranks the topmost five countries with high dropout rates. The out-of-school youth are disadvantaged since most of them lack the necessary skills, qualification and experience to be employed in the labor market. They are likely to be subjects to prejudice and thus marginalized from the mainstream of society. It is this group of youth that the Salesians direct their preference in their educational apostolate.
7 The DEPED s report on the cohort survival rate summarized in Table 6 indicates that out of 100 students who entered grade one only 66 finished grade school. This means that 34 pupils would not even complete elementary education. Out of the 66 elementary graduates only 58 pupils will pursue high school education. Therefore a total 42 students join the ranks of out-of school youth (age 7-12). Of the 58 students who entered high school, 43 would complete high school education and the remaining 15 students add to the ranks of out-of school youth. Of the 43 students only 33 proceeded to tertiary or post-secondary education; 23 high school graduates to college and 10 to Tech-Voc institutions but only 14 would graduate with a college degree and 7 would complete Tech-Voc training. Therefore about 79% of those who started schooling would be dropouts at various level of schooling. Table 6: School Drop-out rate Drop out rate Grade School Gr 1-6 High School Gr 7-10 Tertiary / Post Secondary 100 College Tech-Voc The statistics on school dropouts will certainly increase with the additional Kinder, Gr. 11 and Gr. 12. Out-of-school youth would turn to be liabilities to society if they are not helped to become productive members of the community. There is urgency in addressing the needs of the out-of-school youth to prevent them become onus to society by empowering them with skills for gainful employment. Who are the clienteles of the TVET Programs? They are typically those who: seek employment after High School; have no aptitude or interest for higher education; lack financial resources to support higher education; performed poorly in academics are school drop outs have no definite plan, choice in life
8 Table 9 identifies the reasons for not attending schools for the population 6-24 years old based on NSO surveys 2003 and If this is the profile of the prospective enrollees to the SHS Tech-Voc Track, of what worth is the insistence that they take lots of academic subjects mainly because they should also be college ready? It appears that the system has created a need for this group of students which may not be their need at all; neither do they feel the relevance of it at the moment. Table 9. Percent Distribution of Population 6-24 Years Old Who Are Not Attending School by Reason for not Attending 2003, 2012 Reasons for not attending school Population 6 24 years old who are not attending school Philippines (Number in ( 000) 11,640 11,970 Total Schools are very far No schools within the Baranggay No regular transportation High cost of education Illness/disability Housekeeping Employment/looking for work Lack of personal interest Cannot cope with school work Others Marriage 11.9 Finished schooling 10.1 Problem with school record 0.2 Problem with birth certificate 0.3 Too young to go to school 0.1 With the K to 12 Program in place, there is need to contextualize DB Tech-Voc Program for the marginalized youth. The DB Tech-Voc Program was redesigned to accommodate some of the subjects in the SHS to compose a Grade 11 curriculum taking care that the focus would be on skills training for immediate employment rather than overloading the students with academic subjects. Some subjects highlighted in Table 10 are already contained in the 10 months in-campus Tech-Voc Program of the DB TVET Centers. There is just the need to readjust the number of hours and the nomenclature of the subjects as shown in Table 11. The DB Tech-Voc Program was enriched with the inclusion of two subjects: Media and Information Literacy Empowerment Technology (E-Tech) The following adjustments were also accomplished: Resource Development (40 hours) was renamed Entrepreneurship with additional 40 hours to complete 80 hours requirement; Additional 40 hours for Personal Development to complete the 80 hours requirement;
9 English Communication 1 & 2 was renamed English for Specific Purposes; Practical Mathematics was renamed Applied Mathematics. The cultivation of the Salesian Spirituality to help create the Salesian culture in the institution was allotted 60 hours. Table 10. Enrichment of the Current DB TVET Center Tech-Voc Program with SHS Curriculum
10 Table 11. SHS Tech Voc Track (High School Terminal Course) Students, when exposed to the work environment learn many other competencies related to their work. They are further enriched by the experiences they gained as they go through the daily grind and routines of their work during their industry immersion. They are exposed to the real world of work and are offered more opportunities to get acquainted with the nature of their work. The industry also complements what might have not been addressed in their in-campus training. The units required to earn credits for Grade 12 may be derived from the work experience of student during the SIPT/OJT and may be credited as unit fulfillment of the curriculum for Gr. 12. Work employability for at least six months is a requirement to earn a high school diploma. It would be a confirmation that the students possess the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to be productive member of society. The scheme presented in Table 11 is proposed as the curriculum for the SHS Tech-Voc Terminal Course The student will be awarded a high School Diploma at the end of the Program. Table 12. SHS Tech Voc Track (Bridge Program)
11 In summary, the student of SHS Tech-Voc Track undertake the 10 months in-campus training following the revised DB TVET Tech-Voc curriculum as fulfillment of the requirements for Gr. 11. After successfully passing the trade test an NC II qualification is awarded. The student fulfills the 5 months industry immersion (SIPT/OJT) and seek employment at least for six months. When the student completes all these requirements a high school diploma is granted. Should the student decide to continue higher education there is need to complete the courses required of the SHS program to be eligible for college admission. The subjects can be taken as a full program (bridge program) or by piecemeal depending on the student s pace. When the student has completed the program he is eligible for tertiary education. Table 13 summarizes the program for the SHS Tech-Voc Track for Don Bosco Tech-Voc Institutions. Table 13. Summary of the Alternative SHS Tech-Voc Track (Don Bosco) + EMPLOYMENT HIGHER EDUCATION Table 14 presents a Basic Template for the Alternative SHS High School Tech-Voc Track Curriculum for all other Tech-Voc Institutions (TVIs). It consists of a 10 months in-campus training concluded with NC II qualification plus 5 months work immersion (SPIT/OJT) in the industry. Once completed the student is ready for employment. A student can earn a high school diploma after a successful work employment of at least six months. Should the student desire to continue Higher Education he must complete all the subject requirements to complete the SHS Program. It would serve as a bridge program to higher education for students who completed the SHS Tech-Voc Program.
12 Table 14 A Basic Template for Alternative SHS High School Tech- Voc Track Curriculum
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