Accomplished through the “Iskolar ni Manang Imee” technical-vocational scholarship program, the “tech-voc roadmap” of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) produced a total of 295 graduates for this quarter of 2017.
Though launched in 2012 by Governor Imee R. Marcos, the “Iskolar” program only began including tech-voc courses in 2015.
As of the second semester of Academic Year 2016-2017, there are 305 tech-voc beneficiaries and 419 under the Sirib Academic Scholarship, both handled by the Provincial Education Department (PED).
Governor Marcos had identified tech-voc scholarships as a prime avenue to uplift Ilocano productivity and allow more people wider economic opportunity, thus preventing them from choosing to work overseas as a last resort.
Provincial Consultant on Education Mrs. Mary Jane Pascual-Leaño also explained, “The roadmap is a detailed guide to the different tech-voc skills that are in-demand in the province.
“We previously identified those skills based on the needs of employers, existing job opportunities, and the prevailing local livelihood.”
Leaño also pointed out that it was a way of preserving cultural heritage alongside ensuring more stable livelihoods for the locals.
Courses finished include automotive servicing, beauty care or cosmetology, electrical installation and maintenance, hotel and restaurant services, and technical drafting.
Beneficiaries of the tech-voc scholarship are required 20 hours of community service per semester, in addition to passing all their subjects.
Majority of graduates came from the Ilocos Norte College of Arts and Trades (INCAT) with 163 finishing; 58 from the Marcos Agro-Industrial School (MAIS); 48 from the Overseas Technical Institute, Inc.; 24 from Igama Colleges Foundation; and two from the Divine Word College of Laoag (DWCL).
“Mas mabilis magkaroon ng trabaho dito at sa ibang bansa ang tech-voc,” said Governor Marcos, “kasi dito pa lang sa probinsiya natin, kulang ang tauhan sa service sector. Congratulations to all of you, it’s a real joy, at siguradong makatutulong sa kada pamilya.”
Since 2010, PGIN has shouldered over 3,000 college scholarships including programs under the Ilocos Norte Youth Development Office (INYDO): the Sirib Young Leaders and Sirib Community Leaders scholarships (SYLS and SCLS).
The said scholarships at present have 194 and 421 beneficiaries respectively, totaling to 1,339 provincial scholars.━Mizpah Grace G. Castro, PGIN-CMO