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Introduction: Lessons from disruption The events of the past year have shaken the vocational education industry in the Philippines. Faced with drastic and very sudden change – most notably an inability to teach students in person due to the COVID-19 virus – many have been forced to adapt and look at shoring up their future viability any way they can. Instructure conducted a landmark survey to dig deeper into how the sector has responded to the pandemic in the Philippines and across the Asia-Pacific region. We asked questions to gauge the impact of COVID-19 upon vocational education businesses. This includes how they have changed their methods of interaction and learning to keep reaching students, and where they go from here. The result is the inaugural State of Vocational Education report, which was carried out across several countries: the Philippines, Australia & New Zealand, Singapore, and India. We found there's been a profound impact upon vocational education in the Philippines, however, the current situation has also presented opportunity. For some, COVID-19 was a catalyst to move forward and embrace online learning technology. The institutions which have captured these opportunities are the ones which have been fastest to adapt, making best use of existing technologies, or investing in new ones. These institutions report increased enrolments, with pandemic-related demand and virtual learning technology use driving this boost. Changes in the workforce are a big driver for the sector going forward. In April 2020, unemployment in the Philippines hit a record high of 17.7%1 - although by June 2021, it was reported at 7.7%, with youth unemployment at 14.5%2. A report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Technical and Vocational Education and Training in the Philippines in the Age of Industry 4.0, says the COVID-19 pandemic has had "unprecedented impacts on the Philippines labour market and exacerbated existing inequalities". The ADB goes on to say this has "heightened the importance of adequate and timely investment in skills involving reskilling, upskilling, and the development of strong technical and soft skills—to help transition displaced workers into new jobs". The report also notes online learning and digital tools have become critical in this upskilling of displaced workers3. The ABD has extended a US$400 million loan to reduce youth unemployment, including skills development. ADB also said it is preparing more support in 2022, including a technical and vocational education and training project4. With most institutions saying the COVID-related changes are likely to stay, now's the time for the vocational education sector in the Philippines to keep its focus, continuing to embrace changes they've already made. This means maintaining online learning, reaching more students and emerging from the pandemic stronger than ever. We hope you find the State of Vocational Education in the Philippines Report helpful and insightful. "All meetings and work is conducted via video conference." Trainer from Philippines who reported major Covid impact 2

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