United State of America, Germany, France, India, Russia, Korea, and a host of other countries included vocational education as part of their educational curriculum and spend a significant amount on Technical and Vocation Education Trainings (TVET).
In fact, China Daily published on Oct 28 that:
“The Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, China’s Cabinet, spelled out a set of policy measures aimed at beefing up support for vocational schools and improving the quality of skill-focused education.
The guideline sets out targets including establishing a modern vocational education system nationwide by 2025, by which time vocational schools are expected to have seen a sharp improvement in schooling conditions, attractiveness to students and quality of training offered.”
Yes, that’s how far advanced countries are going as regards investing in vocational education. Malaysia was said to reduce its poverty level by investing in Vocational Education (VE).
But where is Nigeria in this?
In a minute, we will get back to that.
What is vocational education?
What do you know about vocational or Technical Education in general? Do you know the role it plays in the economic stability of advanced countries of the world? Do you know how it can empower you and give you financial freedom?
Vocational education means learning to change one’s behavior to enhance the quality of life through work and values, with (or without) formal schooling.
It was also defined as any form of education that has its primary purpose as to prepare persons for employment in recognized occupations.
This implies that you don’t necessarily need to:
● Have formal education before you master it.
● Be employed before you can earn with it and
● You can also practice it anywhere and anytime. I mean, it’s not regional or time-bound, you just need to upgrade to the latest trend and take your location into account and you are good to go.
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A Barber can cut hair for anyone anywhere in the world, he only needs to be conscious of the styles and trends in his new location. The same applies to other vocational-related professions.
I was watching Steve Harvey’s show when the C.E.O of Buttercloth, Dahn Tran presented him with the world’s most comfortable shirt telling his story from leaving Accounting (that he studied) to moving into Clothing and Textile which he had mastered as he grew up.
It’s not about the transition alone, but its possibility. You will agree with me that it’s not easy to just jump from one thing to another, especially when you’re in your thirties or forties but because this is a skill, once you master it, it becomes yours! You only need to polish it with more practice and innovation.
The benefit of Vocational Education cannot possibly be exhausted, let’s take a look at a few of them.
Importance of vocational education
- Career clarity: clarity of career is important. A vast majority of students are not studying the courses of their choice at tertiary institutions (Nigerians can relate better). Some of them even hate the course they are studying. But with vocational education, you choose the craft of your choice and you pursue it with all you’ve got. You go into it with conviction, not with the fear of waiting for another admission year.
And to be candid, it is this type of knowledge that brings out the best in you.
Can you for a minute imagine the attitudes of students who got admitted to their chosen course, see the commitment, the inquisitive nature, and enthusiasm they show towards the classes and lecturers compared to those who got dropped to the same department. But a student who hates the course he is doing will find everything about the course difficult. This kind of student might end up doing a series of examination malpractice just to get the course done.
- INNOVATION: A Chinese professor, Li Qi said
in original research. We also need craftsmen who can turn their ideas into reality, which is precisely the mission of vocational education”.
” We need our academicians and scholars from top universities to make breakthroughs in original research. We also need craftsmen who can turn their ideas into reality, which is precisely the mission of vocational education”.
Yeah, Innovation is the overall mission of vocational education.
Innovation is birthed out of doing what you love. The passion and will to make life better comes after inner peace and satisfaction. It is very rare to have an unmotivated 9 to 5 worker bring in something new, the only thing he cares about is the salary at the end of the month.
With vocational education, you’re not bound by some academic instructions, you can explore and experiment to any length.
Hey, do you think all the “made in China” products are invented by University lecturers and Professors? Nah! They are contributing their quotas in their fields as well, but the globalization of products i.e making copies or prototypes of an original product is done by the people with Technical and Vocational skills.
- Economic development: Vocational education helps bridge the employment gap in a Nation. The dropouts also get their fair share of employment with their skills. Employment is not limited to those who have certificates to present.
Skills acquired from vocational training can reduce the rate of robbery, and social vices drastically because everyone is busy doing something during the day and there probably won’t be time for unnecessary things.
The productive nature of most working-class increases the rate of locally made products which will, in turn, increase the exporting power of the Nation. And this is what China has shown the whole world. That is why they spend more and more on vocational education.
The neglected treasure in Nigeria
Who would believe education with this kind of impact and influence on individual and national growth will be accorded little or no regard?
Who would believe a country with an abundant population and workforce, battling with unemployment like Nigeria will give the least attention to technical education despite the obvious results of academia?
Well, just so you know
What do you expect of Vocational Education?
Shi You of China Daily said:
“China has already developed the world’s largest vocational education system, with 11,500 institutions and over 28 million students by the end of 2019. According to the Ministry of Education. Vocational schools offering courses in 1,200 professions train about 10 million professionals each year.”
Wow! This is indeed a neglected treasure in my dear country.
What do you think?
Let me have your view in the comment section below.
Don’t forget to include skill acquisition in your new year’s plan if you haven’t done so. It is not too late.
Writer: Abdulwahab Mustapha