The Ghanaian educational system can be said to be one of the best in the continent of Africa and the world at large. Although there are more grounds to cover yet we can proudly boast of a robust educational sector.
One field however that is being ignored by most students in Ghana is the vocational education. Right from Junior High School to the Tertiary level, alot of people seem to look down upon vocational education as they don’t understand what it entails.
To many vocational education is just about cooking food and serving people but it is involves much more than that. Vocational education is education that prepares people for the future and gives you a handiwork you can carry to any part of the world. People normally consider those involved in vocational educational as school drop out but this is not entirely the case.
Vocational education is mostly based on people’s talent and passion in life. Someone may not be good in mathematics but good at cooking, sowing, designing, draftmanship etc. Shakespeare once said everyone is clever but if you judge a fish by it’s inability not to climb a tree, it will leave it’s whole life thinking it is stupid.
Vocational education is sometimes referred to as career education or technical education. A vocational school is a type of educational institution specifically designed to provide vocational education.
Vocational education can take place at the post-secondary, further education, and higher education level; and can interact with the apprenticeship system. At the post-secondary level, vocational education is often provided by highly specialized trade, technical schools, universities and Polythecnics.
The World Bank ‘s 2019 World development report, on the future of work suggests that flexibility between general and vocational education particularly in higher education is imperative to enable workers to compete in changing labour markets where technology plays an increasingly important role.
The purpose of this article by the writer is to make Ghanaians accept vocational education and go all out to pursue it. The writer himself is a certified chef with many years of experience in the hospitality industry and has dealt with many local and international customers.
He has served and cooked both local and continental dishes of all the continents of the world. This vocation has afforded him the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life that you would not ordinarily meet. It has also enabled him to travel extensively and being to high profile places and programmes.
The author is convinced that every human being eats and because of that we need to meticulously study the art of cooking and perfect it. Though vocational education is very wide like, cooking and catering, textiles, arts, clothing designing, perfumery, costmetics, hair dressing, beauty therapy etc the focus is more on cooking.
The kitchen is every woman best place in the house and by that department the family is fed. With this perception many people think it is only women that must learn cooking. Not long before we knew only women practice nursing but the trend has changed. The same thing applies to the vocation of cooking and the hospitality industry. We see many men today involved in cooking and serving all kinds of customers.
All the big chefs in big hotels all around the world are male. Talk of Movenpic, Novotel, Golden Tulip, Kempenski, Labadi Beach Hotel, Fiesta Royale Hotel etc are mostly male dominated and the pay is fantastic. Chefs sleeps in the best hotels in the world and meet very influential people all over the world.
Gone are the days that people think that being a chef is for people who are not educated. Nowadays courses are run in the hospitality industry in all major universities in the world. Chefs are sponsored abroad to go and learn about food and nutrition and various recipes all over the world.
Being a chef or being the hospitality industry allows you to travel all over the world and visits the best hotels and restaurants all over the world that is if you are focused and determined to pursue a career in it. It allows you to meet politicians and influential people all over the world.
You can be a chef in aeroplanes and ship which are in the air and on the sea all the time and experience is worthwhile. People engaged in the hospitality industry are expected to be highly educated even to the Masters and Doctorate level because hospitality business is serious business so those people who think being in the hospitality or vocational industry is a low level career should begin to have a change of mind.
A chef is responsible for the food the president, ministers of state and all important dignitaries in the world are suppose to eat. Without being a chef you can hardly have access to such important people. It is chefs that are responsible for state banquets, dinner dances, gathering and events. Without the Chef, everyone will go hungry and every event will not end well.
Universities and polythecnics are offering courses in the hospitality industry like hotel management, food and beverage, dietician etc and the author wants to sensitise the youth to take advantage of these courses and pursue them.
Many people are complaining of employment today but it hard to find a chef who is unemployed. Even those who have not hard real formal education in the vocational studies even make a living by cooking and selling fride rice on the streets of Accra and the patronage is great.
A chef doesn’t only prepare and serve people with food but can also never go hungry because he is around food always and the true reason everyone works is feed themselves and family apart from other reasons like investments, education and making properties.
A chef can save more because chefs hardly buy their own food from outside as they partake of their own meals, their families are well fed as well.
Today when someone has poor grades in JHS the course they think of doing or pushed into is vocational studies so we think the people studying those courses are not brilliant so many people are not attracted to it but that perception is wrong because a chef needs to be clever to know how to combine ingredients band food recipes.
The Ghana educational sector needs to address this phenomenon that it is only sub standards that go into vocational studies. That perception is very wrong. Students should be sensitised to choose vocational education as their first choice in schools like Achimota, Wesley Girls, Holy Child etc. Both mixed and single gender schools should all be made to give the necessary attention to vocational educational because it offers massive employment in the country.
Food is also science that is why we have food science in our universities. It is a whole world on it’s own. A chef must be able to know the level of food suitable for all level of people, children, adolescents, adults, even men and women and the aged. The chef must know the kind of vegetarian and someone on a diet. A chef must know the kind of food for the kind of illness that someone suffers from etc. So you can see it’s far deeper than what people take cooking for.
This and many more reasons the youth of Ghana are being advised to take up vocational education. Now the Corporate world and offices are choked with people sitting at home with no jobs to do but if they had vocational education the story would have been very different. Life is not all about book and pen but applying your skills, handiwork and talent to achieve your goals.