What is Meant by Vocational Training?

tailorsEducation comes in two basic varieties: purely academic and vocational. An academic education emphasizes learning for its own sake. This type of education is the essence of the liberal, western civilization philosophy which believes that the value of individuals supersedes the value of the collective society. The ideal is to create individuals with broad educations, well-rounded, with the ability to think for themselves. Knowledge of history, basic math concepts, literature, basic science concepts, creates people with more choices, more knowledge, and the ability to (hopefully) think for themselves. Democracies rely on a population of well-educated “free-thinkers.”
Before the advent of universal free and liberal education most people spent most of their youth learning a trade so that they could be self-sufficient economically, and contribute to the society a skill that was needed. Often children would be apprenticed to an artisan, such as a blacksmith, baker, or tailor, and learn the trade from an expert. This assured the apprentice employment one day, but did not offer a chance to become something different. There was very little upward mobility.
Today there can be choices. Most children in most western societies receive a basic liberal education, but those who desire can get out of their school chairs and choose a more hands-on type of education. They can learn auto mechanics, dental hygiene and more. Nowadays vocational training is not just in a trade or craft, but even advanced training in such fields as pharmacy, nursing, medicine and engineering are considered vocational training. The fact that they are on a high level does not make them any less training for an occupation, rather than education just for education’s sake.

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