By Filane Mikee Cervantes
MANILA – A lawmaker at the House of Representatives is pushing for the creation of specialized senior high schools called Meister Schools that will teach highly-technical skills compatible with the manufacturing and other high-value industries.
In filing House Bill 6287 on Thursday, Albay Representative Joey Salceda said the establishment of a network of Meister Schools in the country is patterned after the technical-vocational (tech-voc) schools in Korea that produce “meisters” or master-craftsmen.
Salceda cited the “dramatic” effect of Meister Schools in Korea, wherein the employment rate of vocational high school graduates increased from 19 percent in 2010 to 42 percent in 2012 in the first two years of implementation.
“I have always been a believer in technical and vocational education. It’s what will transform our young population into an economic powerhouse,” Salceda said.
“Imagine, as a tech-voc graduate, you can work first, and decide to go to college later if you think it’s for you. But income-wise, you don’t have to go to college anymore,” Salceda said.
Under the bill, Meister Schools shall be senior high schools where courses for highly-specialized, higher-order industrial and technical skills shall be taught, with the objective of producing graduates who can find employment in the manufacturing sector and other high-value industries, such as energy, machinery, mechatronics, and telecommunications.
The proposed Meister Schools shall assist in developing technical vocational programs in the country.
As with national high schools, the bill proposes that Meister Schools shall not charge tuition and other fees.
The bill seeks an appropriation of at least PHP100 million for each Meister School for the acquisition of the land where the school shall be located, as well as the construction, maintenance, and operation of the school.
“I am elevating the status of technical and vocational education in the country… With the Meister Schools Act, magkakaroon ka na rin ng highly-competitive tech-voc schools (there would finally be highly-competitive tech-voc schools). Parang (Similar to) Pisay (Philippine Science High School) ng tech-voc (of tech-voc). Free tuition, with scholarships and partnerships with top companies.” Salceda said. (PNA)