Everybody is not a lawyer or a doctor

...and not everybody can be a lawyer or a doctor

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Handwerk1In the school system in far too many countries children are being pushed towards academic careers and towards college and university degrees. Manual trades are being discouraged, often even with derogatory statements from teaching staff that they at those schools are “better” that those who do those trades, and other manual work.

We need to, once again, teach children that it is not just OK to work with your hands but that you can learn to build some real cool stuff and make a good career out of just that.

I have come across a number of young people who had to fight with the schools to allow them to follow a chosen path, in the cases I am referring to, one of horticulture and forestry, via vocational college rather than university. The schools were refusing to allow the youngsters to make their own choice and from what I learned it was a real battle.

The kids were bright and, yes, university material, but had no intention to go to such institutions, rather wishing to pursue a career where they were working with their hands and outdoors even. It was – and is – all about the schools wanting to be looking good in the league tables and not having all those that have the “right grades” go to university apparently sets the school back the league table.

In other cases when schools have been visited and someone commented on the great pieces of woodwork, for instance, such as scale models of period furniture head teachers have been known to say that those pieces were the work of one or the other of their less able students.

It would appear that learning a useful skill and trade, in the eyes of teaching staff and whatever else of those schools just not as important as getting a liberal arts degree or media studies one; degrees that often quite will not bring about any useful employment in the first place. Already far too many young graduates a flipping burgers because there are no openings for them elsewhere.

Many years ago the West German state, more than just the universities, operated a numerus clausus (limited number) system which restricted the numbers of students for at least particular subjects such as law, medicine, and even forestry (forest officer career path), to make sure that, basically, for everyone passing out with the degree a job was available in the profession. Certain sections of the liberal (neoliberal, more like) spectrum ranted and raved against it claiming it those measures to be unfair, and a change was in the air.

We need to get vocational training back into our schools – homeschoolers are better off in that department as they can do that – where youngsters, and not just the boys, learn wood and metal work, etc. In addition to that all schools should – and it should be feasible – have a school garden where horticulture can be taught hand-on.

We really need more people working with their hands again making cool things and growing stuff, working the woods, and so on. There are too many people around today with degrees that are worth very little to nothing and not enough people with the skills that really make a difference.

In many countries of mainland Europe, where the proper system of apprenticeships still exist, the certificates of journeyman and of master craftsman (also applies to women before anyone screams and shouts) are as well regarded as university diplomas and in many places you cannot, for instance, operate a business as an electrician, carpenter, etc., without having attended trade school and done the master certificate. That, by the way, takes at least six years. No wonder the Eastern-European plumbers, carpenters, and other craftsmen are so in demand in Britain. Time we grew our own again, but properly. And this may not just apply to Britain alone.

© 2017