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If long vacations are for further lessons, what about vocational skills?



LONG vacation usually ushers in new set of roles for the parents as they are faced with the challenges of taking care and guiding the children during holidays to ensure they do not derail.

Children also need adequate protection, shield from child predators, kidnappers and other vices resulting from the security challenges bedeviling the nation. For many years, most parents have always resorted to enrolling their children in summer classes (holiday lessons) to keep their children and wards engaged during holidays.

But one would not be wrong to ask, ‘are these summer classes not a continuation of school work, activities they were supposed to take rest or pause from? Then comes in the question: ‘are there no other ways of keeping these children positively engaged?’, what about directing the minds of these young ones towards creativity? Won’t learning skills make a positive difference?

Expressing her preference for children learning skills and vocation during this long holidays to summer lessons, Mrs Uche Nwafor, a computer engineer and CEO of God’s Will Computer World, who has some secondary school students as apprentice said,

“it is important that children start early to learn skills and vocations which could be seen as career and technical education which enable them gain specialised skills and trainings in various fields such as trade, crafts like  welding, tailoring, hair making, web design and programming, etc. Learning skills and vocations involve less academic work and basically focus on manual, practical activities and trainings.

Worried by the dearth of skills among Nigerian youths, I think there is need for parents to engage their children in vocational trainings early in life, because the situation, if not appropriately tackled, could hinder the country’s development process, since skill acquisition and vocational education drive socio-economic development and job creation.

Therefore, both schools and parents should devote periods such as these long holidays to drill pupils/students through skill acquisition and vocational trainings”.

“Although most schools have included vocational studies in their curriculum, but what they can only offer these children are the basics and theoretical aspects of these skills, because most schools cannot afford the services of the needed professionals.

But then, even if they can, what about the needed equipment? In future world of work, children trained in certain vocations in this kind of environment have more edge over their counterparts that got just the basics from school.

These skill acquisition centres like mine gives certificates to apprentices who successfully completed their course of study. These certificates boost their CVs; also, the experiences they got during these trainings give them edge over others during job hunting.

Even when they are eventually employed, they already have the experiences required of the job, unlike others who learn on-the-job. Again, peradventure they fail to get gainful employment; they become self-employed and in the process create job opportunities for others, which is a bigger advantage for the nation”.

Mrs Eugenia Ibeku, a mother of three secondary school students, said, “in my own opinion, I think that the minds of these children are too tender to accommodate this level of trainings as regards skill acquisition.

I prefer children facing their studies first, then when they are through with their education, and of independent age, then they will be able to know the area they will want to specialise on. With this, they will develop more interest in whatever skills they learn;

that is also when they will know the importance of whatever they are to learn and value it. For me, learning skills in between schooling is just like one forcing both fists in one’s mouth at the same time. This might get the children quite confused”.

In his own view, Mr Isreal Ajuluchi, a lab technologist said: “Times have changed and as such, it is not necessarily the engineers or doctors who are the most paid in our world today. Most parents neglect the fact that not every child has interest in education.

Whereas most children are educationally gifted, others may be highly talented in crafts and other skills. It is during times like these long vacations that parents should help their children try their hands on other things that are not academically-driven.

With this, they will find out other potentials in their children. We are now in computer age where coding and programming have now become skills of high demand. The workplace is evolving from sitting at a desk in an office, to working from the comfort of your home.

So, we ask ourselves, how best could we prepare the children for the competitive and ever-dynamic life-after-school,that they would eventually face, some sooner than others, if not through these skill acquisitions and training? For this, I feel that instead of parents enrolling their children in summer classes (holiday lessons), it will be more profitable that the children use this opportunity to learn vocations and acquire some skills that will help mould and prepare them for the world of work”.

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