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Tracer Study of BS in Agriculture Major in Agricultural Extension Graduates

Tracer Study of BS in Agriculture Major in Agricultural Extension Graduates

Wenielyn G. Nilo
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Central Bicol State University of Agriculture

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.47772/IJRISS.2023.701042

Received: 04 September 2023; Revised: 26 September 2023; Accepted: 02 October 2023; Published: 30 October 2023

ABSTRACT

Tracing the career pathways and employability status of the graduates are useful as a basis of strengthening programs offerings to support the potentials of the future graduates and ultimately boost their employability. This study was conducted to trace the status and employability of BSA-Agricultural Extension graduates of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in CBSUA-main campus School Year 2014-2018. This aimed to determine the graduates’ socio-economic profile, employment profile, and identify the competency skills provided and the proposed enhancement program of BSA-Agricultural Extension. Data were gathered through the use of employability survey questionnaire, interview of the respondent, and based on the records available from the university registrar.

Results showed the employability status of the graduates of BSA major in Agricultural Extension in different fields. Sixteen percent were able to pass professional examinations, some continued their studies at graduate level, while some landed in various occupations in agriculture, hunting, and forestry with an initial gross monthly income of not more than Php 10,000. It was also found that majority of the respondents were hired in less than 6 months after graduation. Further, it is recommended to provide program enhancement to increase licensure examination performance along with training and seminars to improve the skills in their field of specialization.

Keywords: Tracer Study, Agriculture Graduates, Agricultural Extension, Employability

INTRODUCTION

Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA) aims to produce globally competitive, morally and technically competent graduates. In its thrust of becoming an Agricultural Research University of global standards and leading innovations, building resilient and sustainable agricultural communities, CBSUA offers a variety of courses and programs that are locally and globally competitive. Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA) aims to produce professional graduates in different fields of public relations in the government and non-government sectors. The course will provide the students with technical knowledge to help them be more productive in their chosen field of specialization.

Agricultural Extension is one of the major fields of specialization in the Bachelor of Science curriculum at CBSUA. It is designed to produce and develop students to become effective future change agents or extension workers. However, graduates of agriculture-related programs are pursuing careers not limited to the agricultural industry. Most graduates are moving in an agricultural industry while some had engaged from short courses to doctorate degrees, whereas some landed in vocational, primary or secondary teachers (Wilkes & Burns, 2019).

The degree of job relevance indicates the employability of the graduates. It is a well-founded condition that a person who works on jobs that are not according to their field of preparation is underemployed and is being discouraged because underemployment does not connote better employment among the graduates.

It is emphasized that the employability of graduates should not just be concerned with preparing graduates to be successful in the labor market but also about preparing them to contribute to society as a citizen. Scholars defined employability as a set of graduates’ attributes; the qualities, skills, and understanding a university community agrees its students would desirably develop during their time at the institutions and, and consequently, shape the contribution they are able to make to their profession and as a citizen (Bowden, et al., 2000).

Tracer study is an approach that is widely being used in most organizations, especially in educational institutions, to track and keep a record of the student once they graduated. It aims to evaluate one’s progress up to the time he or she gets a job. It also assesses the availability and quality of graduates. Tracer studies are useful in documenting the employment characteristics, transition to employment and the level of satisfaction of graduates to the learning experience during their studies. The results can be used to assess if the existing programs are still effective, adequate, and relevant compared to international standards (Gines, 2014).

Tracer study is a way of understanding the relevance and quality of programs offered by universities as well as the labor market. It will benefit the university because it will help them to know the status of their products after graduating from University. Through this, the University will be able to evaluate the quality of education given to their graduates by knowing the graduates’ placements and positions in the society which can be used as a benchmark in producing more qualified and competitive graduates.

In order to keep abreast of the mandates on quality assurance and accreditation, CBSUA had undergone a series of tracer studies on all program offerings. This study is intended to do the same with other courses, which had undergone tracer studies and hope to come up with policy recommendations for the betterment of the graduates once they graduated in their respective course.

Objectives

This study aimed to determine the following:

  1. socio-economic characteristics of the graduates;
  2. employment profile of the graduates;
  3. competency skills provided by the program; and
  4. proposed enhancement program of BSA major in Agricultural Extension.

METHODOLOGY

The respondents of this study were selected through the use of purposive random sampling procedures. Graduates of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture major in Agricultural Extension from 2014-2018 were selected to participate in collecting data whereas a total of 63 respondents were chosen based from the records of CBSUA Registrar. Further, this study utilized descriptive research design. Primary data were gathered through the use of employability survey questionnaire adopted from Commission on Higher Education (CHED) while supporting data were obtained from interview and records of the CBSUA Registrar. Data gathered were tabulated using frequency distribution and percentages and are presented using tables.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Socio-Demographic Profile of the Respondents

  • Age

The age of the graduates is an essential demographic attribute in seeking employment. Under our law on mercantile, one cannot be legally employed in business unless they belong to an adult age, which is 21 years old. Moreover, the study would like to understand that age is always associated with the competencies, maturity, and success of a person. Thus, the study considered age as one of the general information taken in understanding the characteristics of the graduates under study. The results show that most of the respondents belonged to the age bracket of 21 to 32 years old 59 or 93.6%. These figures indicate that the majority of the responding graduates are mature enough and fit to engage in major fields of commerce or business undertaking under our law.

The data further indicate that the respondents were considered to belong to early adulthood and in the maturity stage where they can establish their careers, homes, and families, personal and economic independence, identity exploration, especially in love and work and Self-focused. From the foregoing results, the result implies that the graduates’ understudy is very capable to acquire skills and competencies required in their course because of their inherently young age and the associated strengths and endurance to undergo more skills training and acquire more competencies in so many ways.

  • Sex

The sex of a person is a vital attribute that influences the characteristics of a person. Women tend to be more patience and perseverance to all forms of undertaking. According to Grebennikov, L., & Skaines, I. (2009) women find academic goals more important than men and they place a greater value on higher education, mainly because women need to better prepare themselves to have the same chances on the job market, OECD report, (2008) also women seem to have higher aspirations than men.

This study looks into the distribution of the graduates based on their sex affiliation. Based on the result, it was revealed that 53 or 84.1% of the respondents were female, and only 10 or 15.9% were male. This implies that the majority of the respondents who took the BSA-Agricultural Extension major were female. The result concurs with the generalization of Grebennikov, L., & Skaines, I. (2009) that more women tend to succeed in education, especially on courses that could have a parallel or even higher advantage than men.

  • Civil Status

Civil status is an indicator of maturity among persons; it is associated that mature persons are also one who was married. Civil status also measures social responsibility, since, between married and single persons, their dual role to serve other people is always conflicted with the role to serve first the family when the person is married.

The researcher found the civil status of the graduates’ understudy tends to cluster on single status. Frequency showed that 55 or 87.3% were still single during the conduct of the study.

From the foregoing result; it implies that the majority of the respondents were not yet ready to settle down. Some respondents disclosed that they were not yet satisfied and confident enough with their job and personal life. Moreover, their characteristics would mean more attention to personal undertaking than responsibilities to others.

This   characteristic implies the many opportunities among them to grab and undertake such as the acquisition of more knowledge and skills, experiences, and other kinds of personal development to achieve the required competencies of their future jobs.

The general socio-demographic profile indicated that BSA-Extension graduates were fairly dominated by a young and free single female with the capability of acquiring the necessary skills and competencies in line with their future job.

Table I. Socio-demographic profile of the BSA-Agricultural Extension Graduates of 2014-2018

VARIABLES FREQUENCY PERCENTAGE
(n=63) %
Age       
     21-24 31 49.2
     25-28 23 36.5
     29-32 5 7.9
     33-36 2 3.2
     37-40 and above 2 3.2
Total 63 100.0
Sex
     Male 10 15.9
     Female 53 84.1
Total 63 100.0
Civil Status
     Single 55 87.3
     Married 8 12.7
Total 63 100.0

Educational Background

  • Professional Examination

Professional certification is a qualification conferred by a professional body and the testament that an individual has met the stipulated requisite on the academic, practical, and vocational skills set for a profession. Besides, educational credentials such as Professional certification and other academic certificates are required as job requirements and qualifications. The data showed that 53 or 84.1% of the respondents were not yet taken their professional examination; only two or 3.2% of them who passed Licensure Examination for Agriculture which is relevant to their course and chosen field of specialization; Five or 7.9% of them passed and took Licensure Examination for Teacher; Two or 3.2% who passed in Civil Service Examination; and one or 1.6% in NAPOLCOM. This means that the majority of the BSA-Agricultural Extension graduates do not have their professional license yet. And some who had their license were not appropriate to their course and major field of specialization as an Agriculturist or Extensionist.

Table II. Professional Examination takes of the BSA- Agricultural Extension graduates of 2014 -2018

VARIABLES FREQUENCY (n=63) PERCENTAGE %
Professional examinations
     Licensure Examination for Agriculture 2 3.2
     Licensure Examination for Teachers 5 7.9
     Civil Service Examination 2 3.2
     NAPOLCOM 1 1.6
     None 53 84.1
Total 63 100
  • Training and Advanced Studies Attended by the Graduates

Training and advanced studies are vital factors that enhance graduates’ competencies. Some took advanced education and training to keep them abreast of the technical skill and competencies that are required by his or her employer and the nature of the job. The researcher included this variable to assess how competent the graduates in terms of their personal attributes. Results revealed that there are respondents who had attended training or advanced studies for professional development such as Agricultural training program, farmer field school, training of trainers on hybrid rice production and etc. It was disclosed that such undertaking intends to make them more competent and ensures that their knowledge and skills stay relevant and up to date with the nature of job they are in.

Table III. Trainings attended after college of BSA-Agricultural Extension Graduates of 2014 – 2018

VARIABLES FREQUENCY RANK
Training Attended    
Agricultural Training Program 6 1
Farmer Field School 5 2
TOT on hybrid rice production 3 3
Animal Production NC 2 2 4
Vegetable Production with GAP 2 4
Computer System Servicing II
Customers’ Experience Training 1 5
Basic training pollution 1 5
Account Officer Summit Microfinance 1 5
Leadership Transformation Training 1 5
  • Advanced Education Attended After Graduation

There’s a total of 19 graduates who were already taking advanced education. Various reasons for taking advanced education are generally, for personal advancement and professional development. About 14 or 73.7% of the graduates were taking advanced education intended for professional development, there were 4 or 21.0% were taking advanced education for promotion and the rest for more learning. The result implies the interests of the graduates to achieve more knowledge and skills aside from the competencies learned in the Bachelor’s degree.

Table IV. Reasons for taking Advanced Education of BSA-Agricultural Extension Graduates of 2014-2018

VARIABLES FREQUENCY PERCENTAGE %
Reasons for taking Advanced Studies
     For Professional Development 14 73.7
     For promotion 4 21.0
     For Learning More 1 5.3
Total 19 100.0

Employment Profile of the Respondents

  • Status Whether or Not graduates are presently Employed

The researcher described employment as to whether the respondents are employed or not. This means that respondents are employed if they have employee-employer relationships that control their jobs. Results showed that there is a large percentage of 50 or 79.4% of the graduates who were employed at the time of the survey. It implies that most of the respondents are presently working on the job they have chosen.

  • Employment Status

Employment status refers to the tenurial classification of the employees as to whether they are regular or permanent, temporary, casual, or contractual.  Results showed that 21 or 36.2% are working as regular/permanent, 20 or 34.5% are contractual, 6 or 10.3% are casual employees and 5 or 8.6% are temporary employees.

Being regular employees, they enjoy plenty of benefits. We all know that every worker wants to become regular on their job to gain experiences and benefits such as medical, disability, life insurance and retirement benefits. From the foregoing results, it could be inferred that the majority present graduates who were currently employed, have not yet found their permanent job and thus, may not be totally enjoying those benefits being provided among regular or permanent employees since only 33.3% were regular employees during the survey.

Table V. Employment Status and Classification of Employed BSA-Agricultural Extension Graduates of 2014-2018

VARIABLES FREQUENCY (n=63) PERCENTAGE %
Status whether Employed or Not
      Employed 50 79.4
      Unemployed 12 19.0
      Never Employed 1 1.6
                Total 63 100.0
Employment Status
     Regular/Permanent 21 33.3
     Casual 6 12.2
     Contractual 20 31.7
     Temporary 5 7.9
     Self-employed 3 4.8
     No response 8 12.7
Total                                               63 100.0
  • Present Occupation

Present occupation means the type of jobs they were performing at the time of study. This particular indicator will describe or give insights to the researcher as to whether or not the graduates’ understudy is relevant to the field of specialization or as to whether or not they are employed or underemployed. Results showed that the graduates were working in various types of jobs, regardless of their major field. The majority of them were working as Official of Government and Special Interest, Corporate Executives, Managers, Managing Proprietors and supervisors the same with clerks. It can be noted that the jobs occupied by the respondents are considerably mismatched to the course they have graduated. In fact, the data indicates that neither one of them was hired as an agricultural extension worker in any institution. The foregoing results further indicate that the majority of the graduates were underemployed, i.e. they were hired and working on the job that is not in line with their technical expertise. It is these reasons why some of the graduates tend to take advanced education or resort to taking other courses to fit their present job. Such a working situation will create serious dissatisfaction and less competitiveness among other employees, making our graduates the least priority for regularization and or promotion. Setting other factors such as the low opportunity of the graduates to be hired in the locality due to the non-availability of vacant positions for agriculture extension workers.

Table VI. Present Job or Occupation of the BSA-Agricultural Extension Graduates of 2014-2018

VARIABLES FREQUENCY RANK
Present Occupation    
An official of Government and Special-Interest, Corporate Executives, Managers, Managing Proprietors and Supervisors 7 1
Clerks 7 1
Service Workers and Shop Market Sales Workers 5 2
Special Occupation 5 2
Technician and Associate Professionals 4 3
Teacher 4 3
OFW (DH) 4 3
Trades and Related Workers 2 4
Plant and machine operators and assemblers 2 4
Agronomist Researcher 1 5
Banking 1 5
Account Officer Microfinance 1 5
Micro checker 1 5
Finance 1 5
Cashier 1 5
Call Center 1 5
Pubic Administrator 1 5
Security 1 5
Technical Assistance 1 5
Local founded teacher 1 5
ALS Volunteer Teacher 1 5
Production Operator 1 5
Office Assistance 1 5
  • Major Line of Business of the Company Where Graduates are Employed

In terms of line of business of the company majority of the respondents are working in Agriculture, Hunting and Forestry, it can be implied that the respondents tend to look for employment that would be relevant to the course they took up in college or in-line to their profession so that they could apply the theories, knowledge and skills they learned in the four corners of the school. This could be implied from the data are working in many kinds of businesses or companies not within the technical expertise or competencies of extension workers. The results further proved that our graduates in BSA-Agricultural Extension are not working along the line of technical expertise they are trained in school.

Table VII. The major line of Business/Company where BSA-Agricultural Extension Graduates of 2014-2018 are employed

VARIABLES FREQUENCY RANK
Major line of business/company where employed
Agriculture, Hunting, and Forestry 13 1
Transport storage and communication 13 1
Education 7 2
Financial Intermediation 4 3
Manufacturing 4 3
Private Household with Employed Person 3 4
Other community, Social and Personal Service Activities 3 4
Hotel and Restaurant 2 5
Real Estate, Renting and Business Activities 2 5
Wholesale and Retail Trade, repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles & personal & household goods 2 5
Public Administration and Defense, Compulsory Social Security 1 6
Product sale 1 6
Electronic company 1 6
Food house 1 6

Place of Work

The majority of the respondents are working locally 59 or 93.7%. It can be implied that the respondents are working in the Philippines particularly in various offices and industries in the region or in the country. Furthermore, the graduates have less opportunity to work in the international setting, since they are trained to work more particularly in rural areas or communities within the agriculture domain since extension workers are designed to work in the poor and rural communities to transform their lives and socioeconomic conditions (goals and principles of Extension).

Table VIII. Places of employment where BSA-Agricultural Extension Graduates of 2014-2018

VARIABLES FREQUENCY (n=63) PERCENTAGE %
Place of Employment    
      Local 59 93.7
      Abroad 4 6.3
Total 63 100.0
  • Length of Time before Landing on First Job

Efficiency to land a job could be measured in terms of the length of time by which a graduate finds a job until he/she is hired. The respondents described how they landed to find their first job after graduation. It was disclosed that the most efficient time of searching was 1-6 months with 26 or 41.3%. Twenty (20) or 31.7% of the graduates disclosed that they end up getting a job with less than a month followed by 1 year to less than 2 years with 7 or 11.1%. As indicated in the results, graduates in BSA-Agricultural Extension, just like other graduates are likely to find jobs right after graduation. Such a situation was due to the graduates’ tendency to help their family alleviate poverty and perhaps due to their duties and obligations in mind to get an early job because of family depending on their earnings. Others find an early job because of excitement to apply their profession.

Table IX. Time to Land the First Job among BSA-Agricultural Extension Graduates of 2014-2018

VARIABLES FREQUENCY (n=63) PERCENTAGE %
Time to land the first job    
     Less than a month 20 31.7
     1-6 months 26 41.3
     7 to 11 months 7 11.1
     8 months 3 4.8
     1 year to less than 2 years 2 3.2
     2 years to less than 3 years 1 1.6
     Did not Answer 4 6.3
Total 63 100.0
  • Length of Stay in the Job

Efficiency to land a job could be measured in terms of the length of time by which a graduate finds a job until he/she is hired. The respondents described how they landed to find their first job after graduation. It was disclosed that the most efficient time of searching was 1-6 months with 26 or 44.1%. Twenty (20) or 33.9% of the graduates disclosed that they end up getting a job with less than a month followed by 1 year to less than 2 years with 7 or 11.9%. As indicated in the results, graduates in BSA-Agricultural Extension, just like other graduates are likely to find jobs right after graduation. Such a situation was due to the graduates’ tendency to help their family alleviate poverty and perhaps due to their duties and obligations in mind to get an early job because of family depending on their earnings. Others find an early job because of excitement to apply their profession.

Table X. Length of stay in the first job by the BSA-Agricultural Extension Graduates of 2014-2018

VARIABLES FREQUENCY (n=63) PERCENTAGE %
Length of stay in the first job
   1-6 months 20 31.7
   7 to 11 months 11 17.5
   1 year to less than 2 years 19 30.2
   2 years to less than 3 years 8 12.7
   3 years to less than 4 years 3 4.8
   1 year and 2 months 1 1.6
   2 months 1 1.6
Total 63 100.0
  • Monthly Income

In terms of income of the respondents, the results show that the majority 34 or 54.8% of the respondents gained Php 5,000 to less than Php 10,000, followed by Php 10,000 to less than Php 15,000 and below 5,000.

From the foregoing results, it implies that BSA-Agricultural Extension graduates are yet highly compensated. This is because of their present employment status, where the majority are not yet hired as regular employees. More importantly, the graduate has less opportunity to be hired in the government service because of the competency required for the profession. Few vacant positions as extension workers in government, even the same expertise (Agricultural Extension) very needed for the community development as their moment of opportunity. Other reasons as disclosed by the graduates is that since they are fresh graduates, they took the risk to land jobs even if it offers low compensation. For them, job experience is more important in the beginning and not the demand for high salary or compensation. With these findings It implies that they need to practice their field of expertise, so that they could pass the board exam, pursue advanced education for professional development, thereby in the end they will be able to achieve promotion and its associated increase in salaries.

Table XI. Monthly Income of the Employed BSA-Agricultural Extension Graduates of 2014-2018

VARIABLES FREQUENCY (n=63) PERCENTAGE %
Monthly Income (Php)
     Below Php 5,000 6 9.5
     Php 5,000 to Php 10,000 34 54.0
     Php 10,000 to Php 15,000 14 22.2
     Php 15,000 to Php 20,000 4 6.3
     Php 20,000 to Php 25,000 3 4.8
     Php 25,000 to Php 30,000 1 1.6
     No response 1 1.6
Total 63 100.0
  • Reasons for Unemployment

As Table XII. indicates, many BSA-Agricultural Extension graduates have not found employment yet. They cite various reasons for their unemployment, such as pursuing further education, attending to family matters, choosing not to seek work at the moment, having health issues, or lacking experience. Other reasons include the absence of job opportunities or the difficulty of finding a suitable job. While some of these reasons may be understandable, not looking for a job reflects a lack of initiative and productivity as an individual. It is important to seek work to earn income and contribute to society.

Table XII. Reasons for Unemployment of BSA-Agricultural Extension Graduates of 2014-2018

VARIABLES FREQUENCY RANK
Reasons for Unemployment    
    Advance or further study 4 1
    Family concern and decided not to find a job 4 1
    Health-related reasons 4 1
    Lack of experience 4 1
    No job opportunity 1 2
    Did not look for a job 1 2
    Not yet LEA passer 1 2
    Process for DepEd Teacher Ranking 1 2
  • Ways to Find Job

As shown in the result, there were so many ways in finding a job, but the majority 30 or 48.4% of the respondents were able to find jobs through recommendation by someone, probably by friends and relatives. It implies that it becomes easy for them to be hired in a certain office because they have some persons who helped them. Today, finding jobs may resort in various ways but the most important thing that an applicant must possess is the competencies attached to the graduates, so that no matter how jobs may be obtained from various sources of information, hiring would be more assured.

Table XIII. Ways to how the job was found by BSA-Agricultural Extension Graduates of 2014-2018

VARIABLES FREQUENCY RANK
Ways to find a job    
    Recommended by someone 30 1
    As walk-in applicant 25 2
    Arrange by school job placement officer 8 3
    Online 6 4
    Family business 4 5
    As walk-in applicant 3 6
    Job Fair or Public Employment Service Office (PESO) 1 7
    Response to an advertisement 1 7
  • Reasons for Choosing the Job

As shown in table XIV Salaries and benefits are the major reasons for the respondents for choosing their job with 34 or 58.6%. It can be assumed that employees wanted to work in an office/company that could compensate them well. Aside from that, they also look for offices/companies that can give them some benefits that will really motivate them to work well. Other reasons include: the graduates were challenged with the job because they are related to their learned skills, other because of its proximity to their residence. The rest said because they want to get experiences and family influenced.

Table XIV. Reasons for Choosing the Job by the BSA-Agricultural Extension graduates of 2014-2018

VARIABLES FREQUENCY RANK
Reason for choosing the job  
Salaries and benefits 34 1
Career challenge 29 2
Related to special skills 11 3
Proximity to residence 9 4
To obtain job experience 1 5
Due to Family influence 1 5
  • Reasons for Accepting the Job

As shown in Table 2j the reasons for accepting the first job among BSA-Agricultural Extension graduates shows Salaries and benefits as well as the challenge of profession are the prime considerations for accepting the job, it generated the highest frequency and top rank among responses. Career challenge and experience provide the respondents with the opportunity to develop their skills and competencies they had acquired as extension workers. The proximity of residents to their places of work could also be a secondary consideration.

Table XV. Reasons why the BSA-Agricultural Extension Graduates of 2014-2018 accepted the Job

VARIABLES FREQUENCY RANK
Reason for accepting the job
  Salaries and benefits 14 1
  Career challenge 14 1
  Related to special skills 9 3
  For experience 3 4
  Proximity to Residence 1 5
  • Reasons for Staying on the Job

Salaries and Benefits are the reasons of the respondents for staying on the job, it can be implied that salaries and benefits are the major source of income of the respondents it was found to be the main reasons for staying in the job even if they are not high as they wish it to be. It is important as survival needs because it protects against employee dissatisfaction. Benefits help the employee feel secure of the multiple aspects of decent living. Other reasons for staying in the job include: challenge to the profession, the job is related with the knowledge and skills, influenced by family, program and activities are related with the course, proximity of the residents to the office or place of work, peer influences, and personal decision to stay in the job.

Table XVI. Reasons why some BSA-Agricultural Extension Graduates of 2014-2018 stayed in Job

VARIABLES FREQUENCY RANK
Reason for staying in the job
  Salaries and benefits 31 1
  Career challenge 12 2
  Related to special skill 10 3
  Family influence 9 4
   Related to the course or   program of activity 7 5
   Proximity to residence 5 6
  Peer influence 3 7
  Own decision 1 8

The Competency Skills Provided by the Curricular Program

Table XVII shows the competencies gained by the graduates that are useful in their job include: communication skills with 41 responses and ranked 1. It shows that the graduate is a good communicator, they listen to others and show interest, they can speak appropriately with a wide variety of people in different ways such as verbally, non-verbally, visually and written that are important when it comes to employment.

The second rank competency generated frequencies of 30. This is human relation skills. One which provided the graduates with skills to deal with various people at all times and surroundings. Problem-solving skills are a competency which equipped the graduates with the ability to overcome and cope up with various problems, hardship and situations that hamper his activities or decision making. It ranked third in frequency. Critical thinking skills are a competence that develops the mind of the graduate to give right actions and decisions by analyzing situations and circumstances associated with the events and determine appropriate and optimum solutions to achieve goals and objectives. Entrepreneurial skills are the ability of the graduates to engage in profitable ventures or income-generating projects by integrating factors of production from farm to market. The graduates are trained to be effective and efficient in utilizing resources around them.

From the foregoing results, the researcher inferred that the majority of the graduates in BSA-Agricultural Extension possessed the necessary skills and competencies enshrined in their curriculum and presumed they were ready to tackle the works of an extension worker.

Table XVII. The Competencies Skills provided by the Curricular Program to BSA-Agricultural Extension graduates of 2014-2018

VARIABLES FREQUENCY RANK
Competencies gained by the Graduates
     Communication Skills 41 1
     Human relationship skills 30 2
     Problem-solving skills 24 3
     Critical thinking skills 19 4
     Entrepreneurial skills 11 5

Proposed Enhancement Program of BSA-Agricultural Extension Major

The majority of the graduates proposed some suggestions to improve the course curriculum of BSA-Agricultural Extension. They said the students must undergo proper training and seminars. So, they can use their course for finding a job, and should finish the advanced study for Agricultural Extension for them to improve further their knowledge and skills that will equip them with the state-of-the-art technologies in agriculture, industries, and business communities they will work and serve. The OJT must be seriously undertaken as part of their exposure to the real field of specialization.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

This study was conducted to trace the status and employability of BSA-Agricultural Extension graduates of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in CBSUA-main campus School Year 2014-2018. Specifically, the study aimed to; (1) determine the socio-economic profile of the graduates; (2) determine the employment profile of the graduates; (3) identify the competency skills provided by the program, and (4) identify the proposed enhancement program of BSA-Agricultural Extension major.

Results showed that 55 or 87.3% of the respondents are still single during the survey. The majority of the graduates are female. Most of them are between ages 21-24 brackets and 61 or 96.8% of the respondents are residing in various provinces and municipalities in the Bicol Region. There were 17 or 27.4% of the respondents who passed the professional examination. There are some respondents who have training/advanced studies attended, they pursue advanced studies for professional development and promotion.

In terms of the employment status of the respondents, there was a large percentage 79.4% of the graduates who were employed with various tenurial status as regular/permanent (36.2%), contractual (34.5%), Casual (10.3%) temporary status with 28.6%. Others were self-employed. While some of the respondents are still unemployed because they were pursuing advanced studies, family concern and decided not to find a job, and for health-related reasons. The majority are working in various occupations, in (Agriculture, Hunting and Forestry), majority of them are working locally, and most having an initial gross monthly earning of Php 5,000 to less than Php 10,000.

The most efficient time of searching for a job was 1-6 months. Length of stay in their job was disclosed that majority of them were newly hired. The majority of the graduates found jobs through the recommendation by someone, who is a friend or relative of employer persons.  Salaries and benefits are the reasons for the respondents in choosing and staying on the job. Career challenges and salaries and benefits are the reasons of the majority for accepting the job. The majority of the respondents gained capability to communicate and relate with other persons as their major competencies acquired in school.

The majority of the graduates proposed some suggestions to improve the course curriculum of BSA-Agricultural Extension Major. They must take or finish the advanced study for Agricultural Extension for them to improve further their knowledge and skills that will equip them with the state-of-the-art technologies in agriculture, industries, and business communities they will work and serve. The OJT must be seriously undertaken as part of their exposure to the real field of specialization.

Policy Implications

Based on the findings of the study, the researcher recommends the following:

  1. The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources need to conduct Enhancement Program for BSA-Agricultural Extension students in preparation for taking the Licensure Examination for Agriculturist and increase the performance rating;
  2. The graduates of BSA-Agricultural Extension need to attend training and seminars to enhance their skills in their field of specialization; and
  3. The graduates of BSA-Agricultural Extension should continue higher education in MS Degree for them to improve their communication skills in immediate competition.

Recommendations for Future Studies

Since the university is adhering to the assurance of quality services in academic, administrative, and community outreach functions, the following recommendations and suggestions are presented for future studies:

  1. Similar studies shall be conducted to continuously upgrade the BSA-Agricultural Extension program among other graduates not covered by the study;
  2. Correlate school factors and employers’ factor with the employability and productivity of the graduates;
  3. Correlate the demographic and economic attributes of the professors, or mentors with the learning ability of the students in BSA-Agricultural Extension.
  4. Conduct comparative studies on the performance of the employed BSA-Agricultural Extension Graduate based on the perceptions between employees and their supervising employers.
  5. Conduct training needs of the BSA-Agricultural Extension employees for the enhancement of their performance.

REFERENCES

  1. Baldon, et al. (2014). The tracer study of the Graduates of Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Mathematics for S/Y 2011-2013.
  2. Bowden et al. (2020). Generic capabilities of ATN university graduates. Available from http;//www.clt.utsedu.au/ATN.grad.cap Project.index.htm1 (15 February 2013).
  3. Cataneo G.V., (2002). The Camarines Sur State Agricultural College Graduates: A development vision. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, CSSAC Graduate School, Pili, Camarines Sur.
  4. CBI (2007). Working towards your future. Making the most of your time in higher education. CBI: London, Available from http://educationandskillscbi.org.uk/reports(15 February 2013).
  5. Gines, A. C. (2014). Tracer study of PNU graduates. American International Journal of Contemporary Research, 4(3), 81-98.
  6. Grebennikov, L., & Skaines, I. (2009). Gender and higher education experience: A case study. Higher Education Research & Development, 28(1), 71–84. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360802444370
  7. OECD (2008). The Reversal of Gender Inequalities in Higher Education: An On-going Trend, OECD Publishing, Paris. http://www.oecd.org/education/ceri/41939699.pdf
  8. Rodriguez, M. 1991. Schooling and Socio-psychological determinants of employability of graduates of the technical programs of two institutions of learning in Region V. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.
  9. Wilkes, J., & Burns, A. (2019). A decade of agriculture graduates’ employability and career pathways. International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education.

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