Baldoz cites open distance learning law as boon to formation of competitive labor force

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday expressed her and the DOLE’s strong support to the effective implementation of Republic Act 10650, or An Act Expanding Access to Educational Services by Institutionalizing Open Distance Learning in Levels of Tertiary Education.

Known as the “Open Distance Learning Act”, R.A. 10650 institutionalizes open and distance learning (ODL) in conformity to the guidelines set by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for both the conventional, or traditional, mode and non-conventional mode of education.

President Benigno S. Aquino III signed R.A. 10650 into law on 9 December 2014.

“One of the goals of getting quality education is to eventually land a rewarding job, be able to serve, and become a productive part of the country’s human resource.  This is where the Department of Labor and Employment and the education sector meet halfway and seamlessly join hands in providing lifelong education as an assurance of a better life for Filipino citizens,” Secretary Baldoz said.

“The enactment into law of open and distance learning heralds for our country an effective, more equitable, and wider access to education which is crucial to attaining a labor force ready to the demands of borderless national, regional, and global economy, like the coming of the ASEAN 2015 Economic Integration,” Baldoz added.

In support of the ODL, Baldoz said the DOLE has embarked in providing alternative education and professional advancement opportunities to its clients, specifically to teachers employed as overseas household service workers (HSW).

“We are working to support the ODL law, through the Professional Regulations Commission, which had conducted a special Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) in country’s with large concentration of OFW, such as in Hong Kong where 300 examinees passed the test in 2014,” said Baldoz who has partnered with DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro in the convergent program, “Sa ‘Pinas Ikaw ang Ma’am/Sir”, which seeks to entice teacher-domestic workers abroad to come home to teach. This 2015, the DepEd has allocated 300 teaching positions for OFW-domestic workers.

R.A. 10650 applies to public and private higher education institutions (HEIs) and post-secondary schools in the Philippines which have existing ODL programs, and to other HEIs and post-secondary schools which shall later be authorized as qualified implementers of the ODL program.

As mandated by the law, courses or subjects offered in ODL delivery, to assure quality, shall strictly adhere to the principle of learner-centeredness. This means ODL programs shall focus on learners’ needs, and on the goal of facilitating independent learning. They shall also be relevant and equivalent in challenges and depth to conventional classroom, or traditional programs, in nonconventional delivery.

ODL implementers are required by the law to adhere to transparency to guide informed choice, by making information about their programs, particularly their curriculum and delivery system, instructional materials development, delivery mode/strategies, student support services, and other relevant information, available to accrediting bodies, academic peers, regulators, and students.

The law also mandates the CHED and TESDA to institutionalise a system of review by ODL experts to determine the acceptability of the course or subject offered, as applicable. The University of the Philippines Open University, a CHED Center of Excellence in Distance Education, shall assist and provide expertise to the CHED and the TESDA and provide leadership in the development of ODL in the country.

End/GSRubio

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