The Importance of Vocational Education

It’s time for a realigning of social values connected to trade work. It seems more and more difficult in small town Norway to find a skilled carpenter, painter or even an electrician whose work is not marked by bashed in woodwork, sloppiness, misplaced and wrongly ordered material, and poor written and spoken communication. Society is dependent on people who can do skilled work, and who take pride in it. But for that to be the case, society must honor and esteem the education and training that creates skilled workers. This an issue in many western countries today, as well as the developing world.

I am one of many English teachers these days who are tired of the one-size-fits-all treatment of vocational students, when that one-size is Low-Medium-Ability. There is a faulty general assumption that vocational training is for lesser-abled students. The fact is, there are better- and lesser-abled students in all areas of education, resulting in better- and lesser-abled workers in all social strata. It is ridiculous to assign higher social standing to academic studies and professions, when they are riddled with so many mediocre and low-functioning workers. Let us hope that more and more intelligent and skilled students will choose trade school training, and that the vocational training they get – and the skilled work they do – will be a source of pride.