Value Of Vocational Education And Training : Reagan Bhandari

A good education can develop skills and increase knowledge. It is an ongoing process, and it does not cease at any particular stage, regardless of age. Education definitely gives people an advantage when they are looking for jobs. However, all individuals may not have the privilege to pursue higher education, and they need a job to sustain their livelihood. This will raise a question as to how employment can be created for those individuals who do not have the opportunity to attend higher education.

All types of employment demand some form of skill and knowledge from the potential employees. One of the ways these individuals looking for jobs can prepare, train and equip themselves is through vocational schools by learning some specific skill. A vocational school is like a trade school where technical skills are taught for a particular job. Basically a vocational school specialises in imparting students with an education and training for blue-collar jobs.

Work-specific skills

Sometimes these vocational schools are known as technical colleges. The role these intuitions play is noteworthy as it provides a path for people to develop work-specific skills. They contribute in creating career opportunities and give job seeking individuals a platform from where they can express their skills. Nepali society can use vocational schools for those who desire to develop work specific skills in order to compete in the job market. This would be a constructive way to encourage people to learn and educate themselves for their own benefit.

Vocational education is an alternative education and training given to students who choose to gain work specific skills in various professions. These professions can range from craftsmanship to technicians to engineers, and it is vocational education that provides the know-how and expertise. Vocational education has always existed in the traditional crafts and cottage industries, and is slowly diversifying into developing careers in retail, tourism and information technology to name a few.

The labour market plays a significant role in the global economy. The demand for labour has seen a change where governments and businesses require them to have more specialised skills in this competitive market. Vocational education can also play a major role in the rehabilitation of people, especially those deprived of a decent education or victims of abuse. These people need a future where they can sustain and engage themselves productively in some form of work. The reasons to invest in vocational education and training have become quite important in countries like Nepal.

Despite the challenges that can be faced in promoting vocational education, the implementation of such a system is a necessary step in preparing individuals for work- related training. To make vocational education strong and effective, it will require a good curriculum and teachers. This may require the participation of all parties, like students, governments and educational institutions to set up relevant curricula. It is equally important to ensure the quality of teaching provided to these students. There must be qualified teachers with appropriate teaching materials.

Another aspect which could be challenging but is still manageable is the relationship between the institutions and organisations. There must be a close link between them to understand the labour market and maintain this relation for better implementation of vocational education and training. Sharing of information and feedback between the two parties will be crucial and necessary for a successful outcome. With a vocational programme in place based on job market requirements, more institutions will have a structural format to follow. This will encourage healthy competition amongst them, leading to more options for vocational education students.

he significance of vocational education and training cannot be ignored because one of the issues that all governments try to tackle is unemployment. This has a direct bearing on the economy and the morale of the people. Higher unemployment rates can trigger a slow down of the economy and development, which is not desired by any government. Vocational education can meet the supply and demand of skilled workers in the new job market. One factor behind the unemployment rate is the lack of skills in the workers, which can be overcome by introducing them to vocational education.

The stumbling block in vocational education is the perception that this training holds less value and status in the society. It is a non-academic course, which is strictly focused on developing the practical skills directly linked with work, leading to a job. Sometimes people want to make a career change irrespective of their age, and vocational education gives them the opportunity. Significantly vocational education gives people career options and makes them independently marketable.   

The benefits of vocational training can be measured in terms of skill, time frame, cost and learning style. Students can find jobs in their field more easily than those with academic backgrounds because their tailored practical skills will give them an advantage. The time frame for these courses is shorter than the university programmes, allowing them to earn an income by entering the workforce quickly. The cost of a vocational course is considerably less and it provides more disposable income. The learning style is also more hands-on, focusing on practical knowledge.

Along with the benefits for individuals, vocational education can be an advantage for organisations. It must be pointed out that vocational education and training have a positive impact on performance and productivity. When the workers are educated and trained with skills to match their work, it gives the organisations an opportunity to innovate and grow. With the growth of an organisation, workers may see a rise in their income and this can further harmonise the organisational environment.

There is also economic benefit for countries to gain from vocational education. It can play a role in countries like Nepal to improve the economic condition in the disadvantaged regions. Rejuvenating the people’s interest in some form of education and training in these regions with employment opportunities and skills will benefit the country. In circumstances where there is a mismatch between the industries and labour force in terms of skills, vocational training can reduce this gap and provide the necessary training.

Automation

As more and more jobs are getting automated in this technological era, humans will have to be more and more competent to handle a variety of skilled jobs at different levels. This clearly means that individuals will have to learn and develop job specific skills. Vocational education not only develops human capital, which is skill and knowledge, but it also builds the social and cultural identity of an individual. In return, their education and learning benefit the organisation’s performance, thus playing their part in the economic development of the country.  

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