Prompted by the rising global more health-care workers (HCW) amid the pandemic, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is now pushing for the lifting of the moratorium on the operation of some nursing schools.

At a briefing during the launch of DOLE’s online Career Information System (CIS) on Monday, Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique R. Tutay disclosed this was part of their recommendation to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to boost the country’s pool of HCWs.

She explained the operations of several nursing schools were suspended by CHED due to concerns on the quality of some of the said educational institutions as well as the surplus of nursing graduates in previous years.

“We just said they can allow other universities or schools to offer nursing courses already because of the perceived drop in the labor market for nurses,” Tutay said.

CHED has been waiting for the “labor market signal” to justify the lifting of the said moratorium, according to Tutay.

Last May, CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera III said they are already mulling over a “targeted lifting” of the said moratorium.

Overseas opportunities

Earlier this year, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) imposed a deployment cap for HCWs, including nurses, to ensure the country will have sufficient personnel for the country’s response to the contagion.

Initially, the deployment cap was at 5,000 for this year, but was increased to 6,500.

In a Viber message, POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia told the BusinessMirror there are only 500 remaining slots left for the deployment cap this year.

The cap exempts HCWs who are deployed to the United Kingdom and those covered by the government-to-government hiring arrangement.

Currently, more countries like Brunei and even the US are considering hiring more medical workers, but DOLE earlier recommended against increasing the said cap until more HCWs become available.

Pandemic trend

Aside from medical profession, Tutay said other professions, which students could consider during the pandemic are those related to information technology as well as construction like carpentry and masonry.

She also advised students to shun courses related to the tourism industry.

“I would not really encourage our students to take for instance ’yung hotel and restaurant management or anything related to hospitality because it will be struggling to recover,” Tutay said.

The said labor trend, Tutay said, may persist in the coming years since government economic managers project the impact of the pandemic on the economy may last for a decade.

DOLE is eyeing to come out with a new labor market forecast next year.

Tutay said their newly launched Career Information System, which currently contains labor market information on 123 occupations could provide guidance to educational institutions and students during the pandemic.

The CIS is expected to benefit each year 2 million students, who are considering future careers.

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