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Why pupils should engage in skills acquisition during long vacation


Summer holiday is here again with many parents still at a loss on how best to engage their children during this long vacation. Rather than continuously load pupils with academic activities, experts have urged parents and schools to engage kids in vocational and skill acquisition training as a way of addressing the issue of skill gaps in the country.

According to them, exposing and training children to learn new skills and vocational programmes is highly beneficial than taking them through the same classroom routine for a repeat or reintroduction of new classwork.

Besides, skills acquisition has also been identified as a critical point in achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) one and two, which is to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere; end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition as well as promote sustainable agriculture.”

Little wonder the National Summer Learning Association, United States, in its online bulletin highlighted that “for students to succeed in school and life, they need ongoing opportunities to learn and practice essential skills.”

Also the learning resources from Macmillan Education stated that learning new skills has greater benefits to individuals and a positive effect on employability and wider society.

It said, “In a constantly changing environment, having life skills is an essential part of being able to meet the challenges of everyday life. The dramatic changes in global economies over the past five years have been matched with the transformation in technology and these are all imparting on education, the workplace and our home life.

“To cope with the increasing pace and change of modern life, students need new life skills such as the ability to be self-reliant and deal with stress and frustration.

“In everyday life, the development of life skills helps students to find new ways of thinking and problem solving; recognise the impact of their actions and teaches them to take responsibility for what they do rather than blame others; build confidence both in spoken skills and for group collaboration and cooperation; analyse options, make decisions and understand why they make certain choices outside the classroom and develop a greater sense of self-awareness and appreciation for others. “

President and founder of the Youth Orientation for Development (YOD), a non-governmental organisation affiliated to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Ambassador Emmanuel Ejiogu, said training young people to acquire skills early in life is one sure way of achieving some of the SDGs.

Ejiogu in a chat with The Guardian said, “We are working on a four-week project to profitably engage the youths this summer. The project is tagged ‘Summer School Sustainable Development Programme’. It is an empowerment programme that will be geared toward creating awareness on the United Nations SDG with a focus on goal one and two. It will expose youths to entrepreneurship and skill acquisition. So I strongly advocate that schools and parents should allow their children/wards to learn new skills.”

On the part of Olufemi Dirisu, a teacher and Head of Languages, Meadow Hall College, after a hectic school session it is normal that kids get a break otherwise they could burn out even before the new session.

He said but for those who may have struggled throughout the session and possibly for those in the examination classes, coaching would be suitable.

Dirisu said since vacation means no studies, no homework and no specific time table or a definite routine, children should be allowed to have lots of free time and do whatever they like to do with their hands.

A parent, Mrs. Victoria Udoh said she has registered her children to learn tailoring and knitting this holiday, “and they are glad with the experience. I think it is better for them to do something with their hands than going through academic activities again.”

In this article:
Emmanuel EjioguUNESCO
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