Financial constraints are among the top barriers that hinder the Filipino youth not in employment, education, or training (NEET) from pursuing technical and vocational education and training (TVET).

This was according to a recent study of state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) that looked into the profile of the Filipino youth NEET. Presented at a webinar recently organized by PIDS, the study was commissioned by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in partnership with the Philippine Business for Education.

According to PIDS Supervising Research Specialist John Paul Corpus and PIDS President Aniceto Orbeta Jr., 48 percent of their youth NEET respondents did not pursue TVET due to “lack of funds for tuition or allowance”.

Other barriers mentioned by the respondents were the lack of information at 13 percent, housework or caring duties at 11 percent, and seeking work at 10 percent.

“Interestingly, 36 percent said they did not experience any hindrance from pursuing TVET. Perhaps, some of [them] did not pursue TVET because it was their choice not to,” Corpus added.

When asked about the needed support to encourage youth participation in TVET, the provision of allowance support and information on job [opportunities] were mentioned by most respondents. Other forms of assistance cited were tuition support, job search support, and information on TVET programs.

The study also found other issues concerning the youth NEET in the country. For one, Orbeta said only a few government agencies use the NEET concept.

The authors also noted the undercounting of TVET trainees due to differences in the definition of training participation used by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and TESDA.

“The current definition of PSA undercounts the number of those who are in training by about almost 45 percent. They do not count those who are not trained in universities and community-based training programs. These are big components of TESDA training,” Orbeta pointed out.

Orbeta said the government should provide financial support and employment facilitation assistance and strengthen information dissemination about TVET to encourage participation among the Filipino youth NEET.

“We know that [the government has been giving] a lot of financial support. Perhaps, we should do a little bit of nuancing where we should be putting our money so that we can improve [training] participation among the youth NEET,” Orbeta said.

He also called on the PSA and TESDA to “resolve the differences in the definition of training participation”.

Moreover, the authors emphasized the importance of promoting the NEET concept among relevant government agencies, saying that “being a youth NEET has a big cost to society”.

Relatedly, Orbeta said more in-depth studies on the determinants of youth NEET should also be pursued.

“Why are females going into inactivity when they leave training or school? That is one issue that we need to find good data on. [We should also] identify policies that will draw them into training,” he said. ###

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