Change of attitude is needed to bolster vocational education

EDITOR,In the early times, people believed that teachers knew all but that belief became less popular over time. In this essay I will examine some of the reasons which drive our teachers to be liked or disliked.
 Nyamosi Zachariah
Nyamosi Zachariah

EDITOR,

In the early times, people believed that teachers knew all but that belief became less popular over time. In this essay I will examine some of the reasons which drive our teachers to be liked or disliked.

First of all, what is it that we wish our teachers to do? As learners we like when teachers explain difficult things to us and make us understand them perfectly.

We like a teacher who is reliable to all people, one who promotes equality among all the students without discriminating anyone.

It is also obvious that students like teachers who listen to them and understand their problems. Those are helpful teachers.

It should be stressed that no matter how a teacher may be, a student deserves his/her rights to be respected. Teachers also deserve their respect as teachers.

Furthermore, in the case of a mistake, students usually need to be treated fairly before they can be punished or rebuked. After all we all make mistakes.

However there are still some teachers fond of behaving in the wrong way in front of their students. This is one of the most despicable things we see as students and we even wonder whether there are laws against it. Such behavior may include beating of students especially in the lower school levels and use of abusive language when a student makes a mistake.

In addition, some teachers don’t teach all the chapters. This then leaves the students with the burden of finding the chapters and teaching themselves.

To sum it up, most teachers seem to accomplish what we expect from them although some mistakes may be made once in a while.

Seth Sibomana

Gihogwe Secondary School

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IN THE WAKE of soaring unemployment rates across the globe, a more vibrant vocational training program may come as a big reprieve if the contemptuous attitude towards the skills driven education is tremendously reversed.

The perception that vocational education is subservient and belittling has got a long colonial history. Back in the colonial days, African were supposed to be artisans for their white superiors who passionately believed that Africans were lesser of human beings who were predestined for lesser roles and licking of the shoes of the colonial masters.

Back in the colonial days, it was unheard of for an African to get opportunity to proceed to secondary education leave alone university. The few African who got access to secondary education joined the less prestigious ones despite their intellectual prowess. Otherwise, the destiny of the African was hard and fast – vocational schools.

In many post colonial countries, it has remained a very elusive affair to disengage the colonial mindset of vocational education from its real benefits for its graduates. Many prospective vocational education graduates have remained skeptical of its value and hang their heads to cover themselves from the perceived societal shame and inferiority.

In some countries, vocational education schools are just a bunch of dilapidated colonial buildings in voiceless foul cries for revamping and proper management, not to mention defunct technical equipment and poorly paid training staff.

The first major forward leap will be made when there will be an absolute change of attitude towards vocational education and a paradigm shift in its management and funding.

The mere fact that vocational education programs and affairs are a rare spectacle in the news and when something of the sort appears it is  lumped into the category of ‘other news making headlines’ is a rubberstamp of its subtlety and insignificance.

Vocational education should be viewed as a level of education like any other that can lead to a particular esteemed profession and a dignified source of livelihood.

The tendency by the privileged in society to prefer general education to vocational education even for children who cannot measure up to the standard is a further unconscious move to entrench negative attitude towards vocational education.

The bulk of the students in vocational education programs are from humble households that the better privileged may not want to associate with because of the second rate perception.

It should be clear that vocational education is not for the poor or those seen not to be ‘academics.’ Funding for the programs should also demonstrate this noble fact.

A proper vocational education program, popularly referred to as TVET here in Rwanda cannot be undervalued or ignored because of its massive contribution to bridging skills gap and providing an avenue for the self employment.

Vocational education should be redefined. Some authors refer to it as ‘work related’ learning. This is the kind of education that can get you working sooner and that which can easily earn you the same qualification as degree.

Nyamosi Zachariah
Mr. Nyamosi is a Kigali based education consultant

 

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