Vocational Education as a Life Choice

By Dr. Indira Bhagaloo

After the initial thrill of finishing secondary school wears off, most matriculants are hit with the harsh reality that they will not be able to pursue their immediate dreams of enrolling in formal tertiary education due to access, financial limitations, or the fact that they failed to meet the minimum requirements for their desired degree or diploma.

We are indoctrinated into the synchronicity of life events, such as school, university, acquiring a career, marriage, having children, etc., which can sometimes limit our options. Being unable to obtain a university degree is a deal breaker for many people. For others, it is a chance to broaden their horizons and discover the delights of vocational education. The infamy of the vocational qualification relative to academia remains a problem.  Academia is still perceived with more esteem and creates the impression of higher cognitive abilities relative to vocational. Many unifying initiatives seek to increase participation in and promote parity of esteem between vocational and academic qualifications. These approaches address the issue of academic drift, which is the rising propensity among young people to enroll in academic programs that give them a competitive edge even though they may not provide the best learning chances. The growth of post-compulsory education and training systems and their increasing functional complexity result in additional general constraints (Raff, 2003).

With the re-establishment of the Sectoral Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) from 1st April 2020 to 31st March 2030, the new SETAs being tasked with managing skills development needs across various sectors, where graduates are intended to be equipped with life skills to enter the working world with ease and become quickly productive, vocational education is well supported by the education ministerial in South Africa (DHET, 2019b).

Additionally, many vocational learning programs provide the opportunity for collaboration and networking very early in post-school conditions as students advance in practical experience and forge important industry connections. As a result, chances for internships, apprenticeships, and employment that are normally not accessible to people who have simply finished academic degrees are likely to arise (Munir, Sinambela, Halizah, Khayru, & Mendrika, 2022).

In conclusion, vocational education offers students the knowledge and experience they need to succeed in the world of work. Don’t balk on this option as you #ShapeYourFuture.

February 24, 2023


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