In considering the structure in the previous blog entries of the secondary education, I was asked about where vocational training fits in, as most school drop outs are at pre and post O level stages, unable to realistically to follow A level programs.
Before we venture further it is worth remembering that half the teaching cadre in the state sector is quite unqualified to teach. They cannot be removed due to union pressure, and due to a lack of replacements, further emphasizing the importance of increased teacher training. Money spent on teacher training is NOT wasteful as it does not involve money being spirited in the form of commissions.
I would prefer that all students obtain the basics of being able to read and write, have a general knowledge on a broad area and numeracy and computer skills along with some knowledge of English as even a technician or a vehicle repair or service hand will have to read operational manuals and basic instructions only in English. This therefore means that teaching up to O level standard as earlier envisaged is appropriate. However due to the lack of trained teachers, this will not be possible for the next 5 to years until the resources are allocated here.
We should fall back into a vocational training class at grade 10 level at schools to prepare those who show little aptitude for O levels to choose from. Examples such as Agriculture, Carpentry, Masonry and Electrical, which schools could be asked to include, along with basic subjects for O level competence. After grade 11 they can select a vocational training institution such as we have in Godagama, where if they have a day job they can follow evening or weekend classes. Auto mechanics, Cooking and catering can be taught there. Schools are not the places for them.
The hugely equipped Godagama Vocational Training schools is grossly under used. I am sure that there are many other such places in the country. These places must hold classes 7 days a week and fully utilize their facilities rather than setting up new Vocational training schools which the Government is talking about to train the required 1 million workers for the hospitality industry. Governments love building, as it is money for jam for the politicians to make commissions. We must get out of that tendency and put all our resources and energy to training the right people who can teach the growing body of youth looking for skills. I have had people with CVs showing certificates in all manner of fields, but they are mere paper qualifications that do not mean a thing. Multiple short courses should be discouraged as it just creates a sea of good for nothing certificates. Skills required by the economy are needs to be filled, not all and sundry to cater to all comers.