The New Times (Kigali)

2 January 2013

Rwanda: Support the President's Stand On Vocational Education

editorial

DURING the State of the Nation Address on Monday, President Paul Kagame re-echoed his stand on vocational education. He called for collective effort in promotion of vocational and technical skills. The President noted that it's a duty for every leader/ parents to encourage Rwandan youth to acquire vocational training because Rwanda's economy will continue to depend on practical knowledge.

The President's repeated stand should be taken seriously by all education stakeholders. As schools open for a new term in a few days, they should include preparing candidates and persuading them to embrace vocational education as a good alternative. Candidate classes should be told that there are alternatives to A-level and University education. The stereo type that vocational education is for failures or those who can't afford university education is a fallacy in today's world.

In fact vocational education is fast becoming the global education trend. These days, alternatives to A' level education abound. With an O'level certificate, your child can pursue his dream career through another path.

Not everyone must go to A'level after O'level or join a university after A'level. Most people think because they did not proceed to A'level, they are failures. We have to clear this thinking from the people's minds. The biggest opportunities for students, who fail to make it to A'level, are apprenticeship programmes. Other alternatives are teacher training colleges, farm schools, computer training firms, technical institutes and community polytechnics

One does not need to go through the formal education system to attain a career. Success is not achieved through school alone. This line of thinking advanced by the President is what Vocational education provides. VET policy provides a framework for developing technical skills as an alternative to the early years of secondary education.

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