By Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) Updated September 09, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) wants colleges and universities to improve their information communication technology (ICT) education curriculum to enable them to produce graduates that are competent and employable IT workers that it said is now much in demand by the local and foreign job markets.

TESDA director-general Joel Villanueva said that the agency would take the initiative in introducing ICT training curriculum content to beef up the ICT education programs of colleges and universities all over the country.

Villanueva said that TESDA was keen on addressing the growing demand for ICT workers here and abroad, with an analysis of the agency that there will be an estimated annual shortfall of nearly three million in the supply of ICT workers despite an anticipated rise in the enrollment in ICT courses or trainings, and related technical areas, in colleges and universities.

“We have to improve the quality of our ICT education so that the Philippines can take advantage of this demand for ICT workers especially abroad,” Villanueva said. 

The projected shortfall, Villanueva said, was because most ICT employers see as “inferior” the quality of training and skills by universities and colleges.

“In addition to the demand/supply gap in numbers, there is increasing skill quality gap, where TESDA hopes to help turnaround by improving its training content and delivery,” he said.

Villanueva explained that the ICT skill demand/supply matrix varies from country to country but on a regional basis, it is deemed that some ICT skills are “woefully in short supply” particularly skills related to ICT application, security, graphics and animation; and ICT research and training, and localization and open source programming.

TESDA, he said, was set to institute Training Regulations ICT-mediated technical vocational education and training (TVET) delivery in 12 areas of performance where ICT is seen to play a big role.

These focus areas, he said, are ICT for teaching and learning; prior learning assessment and recognition; assessment and communication; placement of graduates; labor market information; career education guidance; administrative purposes; special needs of learners; virtual internships; informal skills development; and for assessing teaching and learning.

“TVET’s role in these areas is important to consistently provide a learning platform where knowledge can be updated and enriched as required by the job market and the workplace,” he said.

Villanueva said the apparent dependence on ICT today is “clearly shown” in the consistent increase in the present and prospective needs for ICT skills in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The total demand in the ICT supply industry is expected to climb sharply and reach a level of about 17 million this year while the demand in the ICT user sectors will increase faster to reach a level of 73 million this year,” he said.