Implications of teaching vocational courses in secondary schools

The Ministry of Education and Sports recently unveiled a new plan to change the curriculum for secondary schools, and they put emphasis on the possibility of inclusion of technical courses to the curriculum. Some schools have since implemented lessons in things like;

  • Tailoring
  • Brick laying
  • Catering, especially baking
  • Basic computer skills.

However, this move is a double-edged sword, because there are both advantages and disadvantages related to it. This article discusses both sides but first, let’s look at the positive side.

1. Equips kids with basic skills

Okay, I don’t intend to make you think that your kids will be ready to compete in the professional world, but here are some of the wonders that these basic skills can do in your kids’ life;

  • They become more creative and innovative
  • Boosts their curiosity
  • Makes them interested in getting more of these skills
  • Increases their proclivity towards entrepreneurial tendencies

This is especially common for skills like tailoring and baking, since kids love to eat and wear nice clothes. It makes them positive about attaining these skills, which is a good start to becoming great at them.

2. Higher chances of becoming job creators

Most of these skills, once acquired, make people job creators, since you don’t need a load of academic documents to get a job in any of those categories. Here is why it’s easy to start up a job with these skills;

  • Once you have the skills, you can start as small as possible
  • It’s not so hard to start
  • The skills would make you feel like looking for a job is a waste of time
  • The market for these skills hasn’t been saturated yet, so anyone can still tap into it

Once Uganda starts to produce more job creators, the problem of unemployment will be almost solved. This is because everyone will figure out a way to tap into their skills to provide a service for which they can be paid.

3. Helps students find themselves

Many students go through school to college and get degrees, just chasing and fulfilling their parents’ dreams. Just because a student is intellectually gifted, doesn’t mean they can do literally everything.

So, students can always find themselves if they are given a chance to try as many things as they can. This has the following benefits if done correctly;

  • They survive the risk of having an identity crisis
  • Helps them imagine and plan the future more realistically
  • Enables them focus their efforts on what  they love
  • Boosts their self esteem

Needless to say, there are many adults out there that spend the rest of their lives working for survival and usually unaware of what they love or what they are capable of. It is therefore not surprising to note that they are living unhappy lives as a result of this.

4. Gives them a basis to teach themselves

Remember when I said that your students wouldn’t be able to seek jobs or create businesses with these basic skills? Yes, that’s still true but with these basic skills, they are more likely to teach the rest to themselves through;

  • Google
  • YouTube
  • Online resources like PDFs
  • Books

There are so many people these days that have started with absolutely no skill and googled themselves to mastery. This, of course, comes along with hours and hours of practice.

5. Improves problem solving skills

Sometimes, students and many adults fail to solve seemingly simple problems because their knowledge has not been significantly expanded into different fields.

However, professionals have studied that being able to solve problems in one area of life can greatly determine how you will solve problems in another area.

Firstly, it provides them with a wide range of knowledge to tap into, and soon enough they are unstoppable.

6. Gives them  a break from books

Some students are not that good or interested in sports. They love books and that’s just them. However, it is scientifically recommended for students to get some time off their books. This has immense benefits like;

  • Resting their minds
  • Giving them time to reflect on what they studied
  • Enabling their brains to retain what they have studied
  • Helping them socialize with others

Now, participating in these vocational skills is one of the best ways to help your students take a break from reading. This is because the activities are quite different from what is in the classroom.


1. Financial implications

In schools where vocational skills are taught to students, there’s usually a significant difference in the amount of school fees paid. This is because;

  • Teachers who teach these skills should be paid
  • The lessons are costly to conduct, as some require materials like in baking and tailoring
  • Repair and maintenance of machines is costly

Clearly, you can’t blame schools for slightly increasing the school fees. However, it’s also true that some schools use this as an opportunity to hike their fees to illogical rates.

2. Most schools don’t dig deep into these subjects

As far as these subjects are concerned, there has to be a reasonable amount of knowledge on these subjects that the students should possess. By this, I mean students should be able to apply some of these lessons when they’re alone or at home.

However, some schools scratch at the surface and provide just a little bit of knowledge because;

  • They can’t facilitate the lessons and the teachers
  • These courses aren’t fit into the timetable
  • The school doesn’t have enough materials compared to the number of students

3. Limited number of courses

Some schools can do just one of these courses, and not all students are interested in the same course. This means some of them will deliberately miss out on these lessons yet their parents paid the money to have them learn.


Even though there is a slight negative side to it, we can’t doubt the purpose of these hands-on courses to the students. This is because there are so many people with Law and Business degrees that learn these skills and make money out of them before they even get employed in these particular fields.

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