We live in a society that places a high value on the professions and white-collar jobs, and that still considers blue-collar work lower status. It’s no surprise that parents want their children to pursue careers that will maintain or increase their status. In high socio-economic communities this is even more evident. And for most teachers, if a student is academically successful, this will be seen as a “waste of talent.”
I’m sure that most of you who teach high school have had some students confide that what they enjoyed doing most was working with their hands, whether on car engines, electrical circuits in the house, hair, or doing therapeutic massage. I bet that many of these students also confided that there is no way they could tell their parents that they’d rather pursue one of these occupations than go to college to prepare for a professional or business career.
The bias against vocational education is dysfunctional. It is destructive to our children. They should have the opportunity to be trained in whatever skills their natural gifts and preferences lead them to, rather than more or less condemning them to jobs they’ll find meaningless. To keep a young person with an affinity for hair design or one of the trades from developing the skills to pursue this calling is destructive.
It is also destructive to our society. Many of the skills most needed to compete in the global market of the 21st century are technical skills that fall into the technical/vocational area. The absence of excellence in many technical and vocational fields is also costing us economically as a nation.
In the early 1960s, John Gardner, in his classic book Excellence , talked about the importance of vocational education and of developing excellence across all occupations for the social and economic health of our society. Unfortunately we’ve made little progress in the intervening years. Students who don’t excel in traditional academic areas, or who have little interest in them, should not meet with disappointment or disapproval from parents and teachers.
Read the full article at: Importance of vocational education
Some interesting videos about Vocational Education from around the world.