Overview The Philippines launched the K to 12 Plus Project in 2013, the same year it expanded the basic education program from 10 to 12 years. The project supports the K-12 education reforms by promoting the dual training system and makes sure industries actively participate in skills development. Germany pioneered the dual training approach, a globally recognized best practice in vocational education. It combines theory and training by using both classroom- and work-based learning. K to 12 Plus is on its fifth year of implementation. The project has made some progress, but it continues to face several challenges, including funding, misconceptions about technical vocational and education training (TVET), and limitations of the dual training law. This article is based on the presentations of Andreas Dernbach, Alberto Fenix, Jr., and Luz Victoria Amponin at the Asian Development Bank’s 7th International Skills Forum in Manila in December 2017. Challenges The K-12 reforms added 2 years of senior high school to the 10-year basic education curriculum. Students use this period to specialize in their chosen field (vocational skills, arts, or sports). The goal is to provide them with the option of getting a job with a basic education diploma or proceeding to college. The reforms came with challenges, including lack of teachers, classrooms, and learning materials. Businesses were not ready to take in Grades 11 and 12 students for immersion programs. There was also a shortage of assessors to evaluate the skills of graduates prior to getting their national certificates. There are also challenges in implementing the dual training system. Some business groups, such as the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), support it. Yet, many businesses balk at the cost of training. Under the Dual Training System Act of 1994, they have to pay 75% of the minimum wage for the training expenses of the school and the allowance of the trainees. A recent study however shows that the benefits of dual training outweigh the costs of training. The law also grants tax exemptions on training costs, but companies found it difficult to avail of such perks. In some cases, trainees who became employees misbehave after the 6-month internship. This is also a disincentive to businesses since it is difficult to terminate employees in the Philippines. Other challenges include the low number of training institutions offering dual training, the lack of a database of participants and schools offering the program, and the lack of scholarships for students during training, or before they are entitled to receive an allowance. Such issues have prompted a review of the law’s implementing rules and regulations by both the government and industry as well as the academe. Improvements are expected to be made this year. Results Amid the challenges, the K to 12 Plus Project boasts of some accomplishments. It conducted comprehensive industry needs assessments to gauge where training was needed. It recently finished the national needs survey of the hospitality industry. Project partners also successfully pushed for the bundling of competencies in national certificates, making their issuance more efficient and comprehensive. The project successfully trained supervisors from participating companies to become qualified in-company trainers. The students’ immersion in companies was extended up to 1,000 hours from only 80 hours previously. Now, the project has training programs in metalworking, hospitality, construction and food production, micro finance and bookkeeping. Next Steps There is a need to redesign or rebuild the curriculum for the dual training program to address its limitations. To persuade businesses to adopt the scheme, empirical evidence that showcases successful cases of dual training programs must be publicized. Project partners are looking for new sources of funding as it is at the tail end of funding support from the German government. Going forward, the K to 12 Plus Project aims to show young people that TVET training does not end after senior high school. In fact, there is a path further up, for those who are merited, committed and career-oriented. The project is also planning to provide training for dropouts, which may last 1 to 2 years. Resources Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 2016. Policy Brief Dual Training System in the Philippines: Challenges and Opportunities. Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Human Resources Development Foundation, Inc. 2016. A Cost Benefit Study on the Dual Training System in the Philippines. Related Links Summary: How to Prepare Workers for Job Automation Case study: Closing the Skills Gap in the Wastewater Treatment Industry Case study: Building the Skills Base of Modern Global Automakers Ask the Experts Andreas Dernbach Project Coordinator, Philippine K to 12 Plus Project Andreas Dernbach is the project coordinator of the K to 12 Plus Project in the Philippines. Alberto Fenix, Jr. President, Newtech Pulp, Inc., Ivclar, Inc. and Prudential, Inc. Alberto Fenix, Jr., is the president of Newtech Pulp, Inc., Ivclar, Inc. and Prudential, Inc. He is also the director in charge for education at the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI). Luz Victoria Amponin Executive Director, Partnership and Linkages Office, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Luz Victoria Amponin is the executive director of the Partnership and Linkages Office of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority in the Philippines. 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