The importance of vocational education

writing pen1
  • Dr. Nu Nu Win
  • In Myanmar, we have a saying, “know one vocation, whether it’s handicrafts or oratory, it can become your livelihood”. These days this saying has more meaning than ever.
    For example, we have to pay a high price to our tailors if we want to get beautiful tailor-cut jackets and skirts. The tailor, although she does not have a University degree, she can earn her living using her skill in tailoring. In the same way a motor car mechanic can earn his living with his knowledge about repairing cars. She or he can also become rich one day, because in time these vocations can let them have a high income.
    So, it is really important for a person to have training in a particular vocation or a profession.
    Nowadays, poor children from poor families cannot go to school and some other children, although they can go to school, become dropouts before finishing the Basic Education. Some have to leave school because their parents cannot afford to let them stay in school due to financial difficulties. In some cases, as the children become a little older, they have to help their families earn extra income due to the financial needs of the family. So they have to leave school.
    In Myanmar due to successive years of economic mismanagement under previous administrations, the cost of living became high while good jobs become scarce. Sometimes, natural disasters like the Cyclone Nargis leave many families without parents; in some case many members of the same family lost their lives. In times like these, young girls and boys leave their villages and converge in Yangon. Some young women get jobs in garment manufacturing factories while many end up in dead end jobs where the working conditions are far from satisfactory. All these young workers work under harsh conditions and save whatever meagre cash they could save to send back to their parents who struggle each day to make ends meet. Sometimes, if one of the parents fall seriously ill or meet with a fatal accident, it could mean total disaster for that family.
    Some have to depend on the Monastic Education Schools, where they can get help from the monk Abbots, who provide not only books and stationeries, but also other necessities as such as school uniforms, slippers and umbrellas. In such schools, children are given breakfast and lunch. So the poorest of all children have to go to these Monastic Education Schools. Some are not even Buddhists, but although they believe in other religions, they can join the Monastic Education Schools till they get a job. Some can become primary school teachers in their own schools after they have passed their matriculation and then continue their study by taking advantage of the Distance Education System. The monk Abbots let them go to University to get a degree. In this way, the poor little ones can become educated to get a job for their living. But, the ones who leave school early, they have to work hard to earn a living.
    That is why the writer wants to introduce Vocational Training to the Monastic Education Schools first and as soon as possible. Some already have these kinds of training in their schools, while others do not. If a child can get vocational training while he is still in the primary classes, a vocation that can use local materials available in different regions, and if they could be trained by local teachers, it would truly become a win-win situation. In this way, even if a child has to leave school, he already has a good vocation o support himself.
    If a child has to leave school early without any vocational training, he has to earn his living in great difficulty. When he cannot face these difficulties, he will turn to dishonest ways to earn his living. Maybe he will become a pickpocket or turn to other criminal ways to get money. Consequently, if crimes in the country multiply and turn from bad to worse, it will be a great burden for the Union government to maintain law and order and keep the peace in the country. How can a country troubled with crimes and lawlessness and armed conflicts develop without any peace? So, to have some vocation for a living is great blessing not only for the individual, but also for the country.
    Our national leader, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi , realized the importance of Vocational Education well. While meeting with the students and the Principal from the SMVTI (Singapore-Myanmar Vocational Training Institute) on (3 December 2016), she stated , “Our country greatly needs vocational training. It plays an important role in the world, failing to be recognized of its importance by many. Most regard only graduates as men of wisdom and educated persons. Education means the qualification to confront the challenges of life. Only if we overcome challenges of life, can we be recognized to be men of wisdom. Failing that, it is difficult to become so. Only the people who can rely on self-help are endowed with the dignity of a human -being. There is no work void of virtue. Any work or job we value is valuable.”
    She not only stressed the value of vocational training, but she also extended the period of the MOU on Vocational Training between Singapore and Myanmar for three years during her visit to Singapore in December 2016.
    Under the leadership of a visionary leader like Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who fully understands the value and importance of Vocational Education, the writer also wishes to support the argument that our country needs more and more vocational training schools in all regions and states.
    This will go a long way in our efforts to create more jobs and manufacture more products for exports to earn foreign exchange.
    Hope to have more Vocational Training schools and institutes for children and youths!
Share this post
Hot News
Hot News