Stand Point

Schools Vacation:Catching ’em young through vocational training

With Joke Adeniyi-Jackson

Holed up in a small makeshift shop, a young lad; six years of age busied himself with his work tools.

This usual sight caught my attention as I passed through Kabba road, Lanjorin street in Ilorin,Kwara State on Tuesday.

I was amazed at the dexterity displayed on the job by the young cobbler apprentice.

Oblivious of my presence and burrowing eyes, the young boy carried on with his tasks with so much commitment as he tweadled with the tool and the shoe in his hands.

Surprisingly he was not distracted by his ilks who were playing football and engaged in various games few metres away.

Am I confronted with a case of child labour? This was the instantaneous query that occupied my mind.

Luckily the boy`s boss was away from the shop, so I stealthily stole in to make enquiries to satisfy my curiousity.

Ismail as he is simply identified is a primary 2 pupil of St. James Primary School, Ilorin who was enrolled for apprenticeship by his parents for the duration of the long school vacation.

Though the duration of our chat was short but I discovered that Ismail is an ambitious boy with lofty dreams.

“I want to be a medical doctor,“ he enthused, “and hope to build a big ‘shoe empire’ in future.”

To say I was impressed is an understatement. His parents have instilled in him the virtue of hardwork and made him realise that there is dignity in labour at such tender age. Coming at a time when advance fees fraud such as Yahoo Yahoo has been glamourised by our society, one ordinarily should celebrate this boy. Recall that a video went viral on the Internet recently which featured three pre-teens who confessed that their ambition is to become fraudsters (yahoo yahoo boys) so as to live ostentatious life. In local palance they said, “Walahi talai a fe sashe.” This reflects the rot in our society; the get quick syndrome bug has caught up even with kids. But their minds need to be disabused from this ugly trend.

The long holiday is here again and these  children need to be preoccupied with gainful activities. Though it is a period meant for relaxation after the street of schooling, but it would do no harm to introduce to them one form of entrepreneurial skill training or the other. This brings to mind the popular Biblical aproxism :”Train up a child in the way he  go and when he grows up he will not depart from it.”

There is the need to foster entrepreneurial spirit in children early. This is achievable during holidays. It is strongly believed that for students to succeed in school and life, they need  opportunities to learn and practice essential skills. They can be trained on different skills such as tailoring, beadmaking, barbing, hairdressing, makeover, tie and dye etcetera.

Undoubtedly, there is dearth of vocation training, which is capable of hindering the country’s development, if not tackled. Vocation education has observed drives socio-economic development and job creation. It is however noteworthy that skill acquidistion is of great importance in the contemporary world.

The country is going through economic recession and more than ever before this generation need to embrace  entrepreneurship as a viable way of solving the present economic crisis. It is for this reason that economic experts are clamouring for entrepreneurial revolution.
They said for the country to be great again  entrepreneurship needs to take the front burner. It is common knowledge that Nigeria is blessed with  abundance of human resources, hence  the need for agressive job creation for the growing population of youths. But,  government alone cannot do it, though it has the vested responsibility of creating    right environment for entrepreneurial development. Small businesses  are no doubt  the backbone of any economy.

Since children are our future,  it’s important to think of how we can shape them into job creators.

The country is in need of  more innovation and entrepreneurs. And, it is instructive that the skills of entrepreneurship are also good life skills. Hence the need to foster  entrepreneurial spirit in kids in order  to nurture  next generation of doers and dreamers.

Incontrovertibly, the nation needs professionals like doctors, lawyers and accountants among others, it sure requires enterprenuers for a balance.

It is therefore expedient that parents and other sectors in the education.sector  encourage vocational training for children so that they can gain skills that will support them to build better lives, promote creativity and build their confidence. Through that they will be inspired to learn income generating skills towards self reliance.Another benefit is that with their engagement in vocational training, children will be taken off the street and social crimes.

Like the saying the saying an idle hand is the devil’s workshop, children during this holiday should be given the opportunity to engage in productive venture; vocational training. Parents should identify their children’s interest which could be explored via for lifelong benefit. The holiday should not just be about summer lesson, camping, visit to relatives or idling away, they should be profitably engaged during this period.

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