Prof. Dr. Katende.M.Suleyman Hadji- Professor of Tourism studies
“If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures. Sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”- Martin Luther King, Jr”.
Most people have taken the path through the Vocational Education system and some of them have made it big in the market and there is a margin that completes the set years of training and they have still failed to make it past their shadows.
This can be attributed to a number of factors but mostly lack of dedication by students, “LOVE” for the system and societal facts that vocational education has for a long time been stereo-typed as only a path for those that have failed to make it through the main stream education system and the less privileged.
This has over time played a self-esteem dilemma amongst most young people who believe they are settling for less than they should be having at the time. This goes as far as students negating to be affiliated with the courses/ trainings they attend but only study to graduate and impress their parents/sponsors and at the end of the day, they can’t apply anything learnt at school yet the goal of this path is to prepare individuals for manual or practical activities that can be monetized .
It is about time, we all look at VOCATIONAL Education for truly what it is and what it has to offer to our individual livelihoods and to the labor market of Uganda which is becoming more specialized; there is an increasing demand for high levels of skills in both government and private businesses.
First things first; it is high time we stopped thinking that vocational education is for failures but instead, we should embrace it wholeheartedly. If the country is to realize development of both public and private sectors,we need to prepare our children, our students as they take this path and not merely introduce it to them as a lost cause or last resort.
Secondly, Students need to embrace and have a positive mind towards the trainings because the secret of joy in work is contained in one word – “excellence” and to know how to do something well is to enjoy it. This starts with dedication to learning at every step.
Vocational education is an open path that can be taken by even professionals in other fields. For instance, you could be a Doctor with a passion in bakery and pastry and you could be looking to invest in a bakery. Having prior knowledge and skills of bakery and pastry would help you to invest smartly than focusing on hearsay.
With the aftermath of the COVID19 lock-down, most people may or have sadly lost jobs as companies are downsizing or cutting costs as they struggle to stay afloat. It is high time we all reflect and look at venturing to attain a practical skill that may make a difference in our lives. MAKE THAT BOLD STEP TODAY!
Lastly, Vocational Education offers a wide variety of options in automobile, craftsmanship, laboratory, cosmetology, technical fields, art and fashion, hospitality & catering, administrative, business, computer technology, printing, agriculture, events to mention a few.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs