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Sunday, May 13, 2007

7th National Convocation for Technical & Vocational Education

It was an emotional moment for some parents. I did not realise it but when the Education people told me then I realised why it should be emotional for them.

I saw a few parents cried during last Thursday's National Convocation for students with technical and vocational qualifications. More than 700 students received their diplomas and certificates. Most of the diplomas were National Diplomas in various subjects (NDs are one step lower than HNDs). Another third received their National Certificates or National Trade Certificates 2 or NTC 3 and about 200+ received their National Vocational Certificate in Clerical Studies.

Most students taking the NDs, NTCs and NVCs are generally those who did not go through the Academic routes. A few will make it to HNDs and eventually to degrees but generally most will join the labour market. The new NVC in Clerical Studies are for those who did not even pass PMBs. If a student fail their PMB twice, they will be put on the NVC route and will come out with a trade or a vocation. These are the ones that the parents are especially proud of and that's why some of them cried. These students in the days prior to NVC would have just gone off the radar screen without hope of getting any employment whatsoever. The fact that they are now able to learn something and get a piece of paper is itself a major achievement.

I am glad that MOE pursued this qualification and that we are able to provide students with something instead of just sending them out without any qualification whatsoever or worse sending them out into the open world with just academic qualification. Not everyone can be PhDs. This is where sometimes we should focus on. Too often we focused on the bigger issue which require major solutions and yet the solution sometimes lies on doing something simple. Hopefully we can come with more solution like this in the future.

Just for the record, it was a long two and a half hours sitting on the stage watching these students passed by, I did a count. Out of the National Diplomas being awarded, they are given in the following subjects (with graduating numbers in brackets) - Computer Studies (59), Construction (27), Electronic and Communication Engineering (43), Fabrication & Welding Engineering (17), Geomatics (11), Hotel and Catering Management (16), Interior Design (24), Information and Library Management (13), Mechanical Engineering (3), Property Management (10), Radio, Television & Electronic Technology (16), Science (13), Travel and Tourism Services (14), Vehicle Body Engineering (7), Automotive Engineering (6), Building Services Engineering (12), Electrical and Electronic Engineering (6), Instrumentation & Control Engineering (6), Marine Engineering (12), Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering (9), Plant Engineering (20), Business and Finance (48) and Secretarial Studies (10). I lost count for the Certificates. I do know that there were 411 for the NDs, 4 for NCs and 325 for the NTC and NVCs. I sure hope the government and the economy will be able to provide jobs for all.

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