All of us, until after the year 2019, went through the old normal education system until matriculation; this is the 12th year.
The year 2020, however, has seen a new normal – the scrapping of grade 12, although a small percentage goes to grade 12.
A pool of learners will thus emerge in grade 11 and enter the adult world of education and training because grade 12 and Unam are reserved for nerdy learners.
Meanwhile, given that we don’t have a forest of nerds in Namibia, you can imagine the dichotomy of a community in two classes – nerdy and normal learners.
This change in the education system has aroused mixed feelings.
Feelings about whether or not it is largely beneficial in our country with a prominent history of inequality even in education to have such a divide, you ask. Well, it could be.
After all, from time immemorial we have always had two choices as a nation.
It is between Polytechnic, currently known as Nust and Unam.
Both, with their stringent requirements and high prices, have left the mass of us stranded when in reality, other options exist – ride-hailing. My view with the new change is that in other parts of the world, grade 12 does not officially exist, but its equivalent is the second year of secondary school.
It is not compulsory, as education is only compulsory up to the 10th grade. Where Grade 9 will prepare students for work and prepare them for more advanced study.
Professional programs with all considered including; media, soft skills and agriculture feature prominently in the school curriculum to prepare learners for specific careers or occupations.
In my country, however, this is not the case and the perception of VTCs is that they are for bad university students, otherwise unqualified to be absorbed into the apparent mainstream – Poly and Unam.
Now, and only now, is the government visibly and eloquently advocating for more career choices and opportunities.
This means – with Poly and Unam and with Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
Today, after more than 20 years of superficial beliefs, all public talk is about ride-hailing to pick up the slack and help build our still failing economy and to improve livelihoods, vocational schools to apply the approach of skills-based training and bridging the skills gap between work and education.
Vocational schools to help small businesses and those small businesses in return to help create much-needed employment and likewise for small businesses to absorb learning in support of otherwise misunderstood vocational training in the formal sector as meaning a personal assistant who makes copies, tea and sends around the office building.
Hello to our informal sector. Our employer and potential savior after the government was activated due to the economic crash.
There, jobs abound but competent employees are scarce to fill them. Instead, the owners of these businesses wear a hundred hats simultaneously in order to run their businesses effectively and efficiently.
This is the situation of a small country with a very high unemployment rate. A completely unprecedented situation and a contradiction in terms of – there are jobs but there are no jobs! It’s a sad state, especially when the writings are on the wall as to what needs to be done. Nor is it a paradox. Think about it – the informal sector that we have which represents more than half of our real economy. We also have vocational schools and these are 100% owned by local people.
With strong support, both sectors; training and business are a gold mine. It is therefore up to leaders to decide how far they are willing to go in changing the status quo and the fantasy economy to build a strong economy through TVET.
It is equally important for the government to protect the VTCs from the major universities in the country who, since the advocacy for TVET, are redefining their characteristics to encroach on what is for TVET, thus competing with the VTCs to beat and obtain formal internship agreements with employers. , especially public companies, and in the process it is difficult for VTCs, especially private companies, to obtain such formal agreements for their trainees.
This state of affairs is unjust and downright corrupt. If you continue, it will confuse the order.
With the change in the prevailing curriculum and a pool of learners forced to work their way into higher education, there should be a striking distinction and course of study between VTCs and university graduates.
University students wishing to acquire the skills required for the labor market must enroll in a VTP. It is right to balance the impact and the system.
After all, one on the other is trained to assess skill while the other is for a show. The government as a facilitator must also simply invest and finance more without fear and with guided faith in TVET and also in the informal sector.
The government also needs to modify its implementation mechanisms.
It is his weakest link in the whole system.