The Asian Development Bank urged the Philippines to reform its technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system in a bid to cope with fast-changing industry needs.
ADB said Industry 4.0 is rapidly changing the nature of work and the demand for skills, a situation that the Philippines should be able to take advantage. ADB Vice President Ahmed Saeed said Industry 4.0 poses a huge challenge to developing economies like the Philippines as it has traditionally relied on industrialization and its capacity to generate high-paying jobs as a path toward economic growth.
Additionally, the pandemic continues to take a toll on the labor market with millions of Filipinos still jobless following the closure of businesses across various industries all over the country.
“More than ever, the importance of adequate and timely investment in skills – including reskilling, upskilling, and the development of strong technical and soft skills – is needed to help displaced workers transition into new jobs,” Saeed said.
ADB urged the government to leverage its TVET system to help shape labor market outcomes and adjust to anticipated changes to achieve the dual objective of creating a competitive workforce and helping marginalized workers.
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority has played a critical role in retooling and upgrading the skills of displaced workers as it expanded access to its online programs through a partnership with the private sector. However, the ADB believes it can do more to improve the country’s response to Industry 4.0.
The ADB also suggested for government to seek new and effective ways to secure industry engagement in skills training, such as anticipating skills demand, ensuring better targeting of skills training programs and greater efficiency of skills supply, limiting mismatches, and improving labor market outcomes.
The world was already changing even before the Covid-19 pandemic and it was already clear that nations that failed to adapt and upgrade their workforces will be left behind. The pandemic accelerated those changes further and it is up to government to provide the vision and training so Filipino workers can keep up and maybe even stay one step ahead of their peers in terms of training and development.*