Empower and encourage students to consider vocational studies – Uganda.
Yesterday the 24th day of January was the International day of Education and the right to education is not only granted by Article 26 of the the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the many different national laws including the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995(Article 30).
Something caught my eye this morning as I read the Daily Monitor. The commentary section on page 22 had comments from some of the pupils who completed primary school last year.
4 comments from 4 students now ‘vacists’ aspiring to join the next level of education responded to what I believe had been whether they would join vocational school next.
These comments are just a sample from the many views out there and I am inclined to say that they represent the perceptions of different students out there, parents and society at large.
One child commented that she wouldn’t join vocational school because her mind is good for secondary school.. Another asked why he would go to vocational school yet his parents are capable of paying his tuition… Another said she couldn’t decide because it’s her parents that decide for her what to study. And the other said he dislikes vocational schools because he wants to study up to the highest level and become a self-employed business man in the future.
From these comments I could tell that we face a lack of sensitization about vocational studies in this country;
For a child to think that vocational studies are only an option when you cannot afford secondary school education clearly shows that this child hasn’t been sensitized and educated about what vocational training is which clearly shows that this option which is also a great way for one to secure a great future pursuing their goals or passions hasn’t been tabled to these kids. The common practice these days is to encourage a child to opt for vocational studies when the family can’t afford tuition or when the child doesn’t perform to the standards of secondary school education and because of this, kids end up going to vocational schools feeling like failures and with no goals of succeeding so even when they are studying these different amazing occupations, they are not devoted which sometimes makes the training ineffective.
There’s need to sensitize students about vocational studies and not just present it as the other option upon failure or lack of tuition. That way kids will not think that vocational schools are for those whose minds aren’t for secondary schools or for those whose parents can’t afford tuition and they’ll be able to appreciate the benefits that come with developing or specializing in a particular skill.
These comments also portray a Lack of Career Guidance and mentorship;
Career guidance should be a priority in schools and at home from the early stages of school to provide kids with a sense of direction as they study. Kids should be guided and encouraged to draw their own career paths and seek help where necessary as well as considering all the available options. This way kids get to set their goals, chase their dreams and achieve them. You cannot suggest to a child to join vocational studies after releasing her results and think she’ll welcome the opportunity as a golden one especially when her performance is poor. S(he)’ll most definitely take it as a punishment but with career awareness, guidance and mentorship kids have the opportunity to know and explore the available options before they even sit their final examinations.
It’s so sad for a child to say that her parents decide for her what to study. Kids should know that they decide for themselves what they need to study. Where and how they study might depend on the parents’ capabilities but the views of the child need to be highly considered in education. All they need is guidance and empowerment about whatever they choose to study but the choice lies in their hands. Some parents map out paths for their children even before they are born which is wrong because a child should be able to set his/her own goals and follow his/her own path. Parents, teachers and elders should play their role in guiding, directing these kids to ensure that they live to fulfill their dreams.
There’s need for career guidance and mentorship in our schools and kids need to be empowered and encouraged to set clear and personal motivated goals regarding education.
Because of the specificity of Vocational training, it presents an opportunity for one to be skilled in a particular occupation like agriculture, trade and other occupations. It enables a student to gain not just theoretical teaching but also practical experience. Vocational training is more than just the formal education that we receive in school and it doesn’t hurt to develop particular skills which are obviously necessary in life therefore vocational training should be highly encouraged.