BY Farai Chigora
In this era of entrepreneurship for industrialization, there is a need to decolonize educational systems and curricula that focus on theory towards practical learning.
Educational institutions should exist as active centers of innovation rather than just classrooms. This concerns all levels of education, from primary school to higher and higher education.
There is a huge void in the current operation and enrollment of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) where their potential has been overlooked due to stereotypes and inferiority complex as perceived by our societies.
Communities should look back and open a new chapter as we move towards industrialization through TVET.
These institutions have long been considered low class.
Most developed countries, including China, have included vocational training at the lower levels of their education systems.
Look at where they are today in terms of gross national product and infrastructural development.
Silicon Valley in California, the Eiffel Tower in France are an original idea of vocational education.
In this desire to appreciate the supremacy of TVET, we first thank the government for its initiative and its recognition of this cog in the wheel of economic transformation and empowerment.
But there is still a lot to do.
There is a need to rewire the systems, curricula and infrastructure of TVET institutions as a form of rebranding.
These centers must become more attractive and recognized as educational systems of first choice in their schooling rather than a buffer.
In terms of systems, as mentioned above, policymakers and other relevant stakeholders should conceptualize and propose functional vocational training models that link all stages of learning, from primary to higher and tertiary education.
This will help demystify negative public perceptions and cognitively engage with learners as they move up the educational ladder with informed, entrepreneurial and hands-on socialization.
Learners must be indoctrinated to be producers and owners of business ideas that prepare them to be employers rather than earning a weekly or monthly paycheck.
This lacks this mode of English education, which Zimbabwe inherited from the colonial masters.
We need to nurture a generation of inventors who think critically for tangibility, not relying on theories and memorizing ideas to earn certificates.
It is said that Rome was not built in a day.
Our professional education ideologies and systems must be seen as developmental, moving from the known to the unknown in a form of educational taxonomy.
In this way, the social stratification that has labeled TVET as the least privileged, least intellectual and weakest actors in society will be removed.
There is a need for a 360 degree review and revision of current TVET curricula through various local and national organizations that are currently engaged in this process.
These plans must evolve with contemporary innovations, where they correspond to global demands for new technologies, business systems and the concept of going green.
It is now important to do a practical education with enrichment, producing ideas and objects that fit into the new global requirements.
Curricula should encourage a learner-centred type of teaching, both in content and in the role of instructors in imparting knowledge.
This is where learners have a space to experiment and produce new ideas, concepts and objects for economic empowerment like what happens with the Montessori method of education. Learners will be happy to be engaged, rather than pursuing a system where the instructor is seen as the only one with knowledge.
The world has changed in this perspective, let’s review our programs.
Another dimension of TVET rebranding is that it must take into account the needs of all members of our communities.
We have different members of our communities who should also benefit from the benefits of innovative TVET training.
TVET exists to promote the economic empowerment of communities.
They must be designed to take into account the needs of gender equality, persons with disabilities, young people and adults.
This should be supported by a compatible and supportive infrastructure that encourages contemporary thinking, new knowledge generation and industrialization.
More needs to be done, especially to have technologies that go beyond the fourth industrial revolution in our TVET centres.
We are now in a tech and digital driven world where instructor skills and learning methods should encompass technology.
- Farai Chigora is a businessman and an academic. He is the Director of Business Science at the College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance at Africa University.