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TESDA urges Filipinos to avail of online courses

April 03, 2020 - Friday 6:04 PM by PNA

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MANILA -- With many Filipinos staying in their homes with the implementation of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) scare, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary Isidro Lapeña is urging everyone to avail themselves of the agency's online courses.

"While it (online program) has been there for some time, the more that I am encouraging the public to avail of it now as we deal with COVID-19 (pandemic), to maximize their time while the ECQ is being implemented. It's a way also to prevent contacts because you'll never know if you're already talking to a (COVID-19) carrier," Lapeña told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview on Thursday.

There is no age limit as to who can avail of TESDA online courses. These can be availed of for free, and one could also enroll in other online courses after finishing a course.

Lapeña said there are 68 online courses that can be taken from eight to 40 hours.

Among the available courses are cookery, basic computer operation.

"Availing online courses is apt while people are staying in their homes. As long as they are computer literate, they could enroll. What's good is that they could still apply their learnings after the ECQ, and they could apply for (TESDA) certification," he remarked.

He noted there was a surge in the number of online enrollees during the ECQ. There were 19,598 enrollees from March 16-29. 

Lapeña clarified that not all of them are new enrollees, as some have already finished an online course and are just enrolling in other courses they like.

Among the online courses with the most numbers of enrollees are Electrical and Electronics, Entrepreneurship, and Information and Communications Technology (ICT), he said.

For those who are currently enrolled in courses that cannot be taken online like Welding, Lapeña said they have to wait until schools can be opened again.

"They will need to wait. We are avoiding contact. In our office, for instance, we only have a skeletal force, and we encourage work from home (scheme)," he said.

Commitment to fight vs. COVID-19 

Meanwhile, Lapeña said TESDA will continue contributing efforts to deal with Covid-19 woes.

He said that when the COVID-19 pandemic started, he instructed TESDA regional and provincial chiefs to help by providing aid to front-liners.

"To date, we have already produced 57,000 face masks, 1,300 face shields. We also produced pastries and sanitizers and distributed these to front liners such as healthcare workers, police and military," he said.

Lapeña pointed out that TESDA did not have to allocate a separate budget for these.

"For example in our Bread and Pastry course, we just produced more pastries. We just used our programs. For Dressmaking, for instance, we had the students to produce masks instead of dress," he explained. 

"We are here to support, and we will continue to help by implementing these," Lapeña said. PNA