New law enhances tertiary courses with labor education

President Rodrigo Duterte

PRESIDENT Duterte has signed into law an act integrating labor education in the local education system’s tertiary curriculum.

The Chief Executive formalized Republic Act (RA) 11551, also known as the Labor Education Act, on May 27. The new law recognizes the need for the state to put in place a mechanism to educate future workers, employers, and entrepreneurs on their rights and responsibilities in promoting harmony in the workplace, as well as social progress in society.

Under the new law, labor education will refer to “the teaching of basic knowledge on labor rights and other skills relating to negotiation, fostering smooth interpersonal relations in the workplace, [as well as] mechanisms for redress of grievances and other concerns.”

“All public and private higher education institutions shall integrate labor education as part of an elective course; and as far as practicable, hold a Labor Empowerment and Career Guidance conference which graduating students shall attend,” the law read.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) shall develop the program to execute and implement this law.

RA 11551 also seeks to include labor education in the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) curriculum.

“All TVIs [technical and vocational institutes] offering non-degree certificate and diploma courses ranging from one to three years shall integrate labor education as an elective course in the TVET curriculum,” the law read.

TVIs offering short-term courses ranging from one month to less than one year are encouraged to integrate labor education in the modular program of the TVET curriculum.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), will develop the appropriate modules of instructions and other relevant materials relating to labor education in TVIs.

CHED and Tesda will conduct a comprehensive curriculum review—including the coverage and quality of labor education.

Within 60 days from the enactment of the law, both institutions—in consultation with the DOLE and relevant stakeholders—will formulate rules and regulations to effectively implement the provisions of the act.

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