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Academic, skills development should complement each other

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Children’s Corner with PANIC CHILUFYA
WHEN Philip Mweene failed to qualify for Grade Eight, he dropped out of school.
He was not interested in repeating Grade Seven.
“I had no interest in school, that’s why I failed; it’s like I was wasting my time.
I was more interested in doing practical things like repair household appliances although I did not have any formal training,” he explained.
With many people building, repairing, decorating, Philip started helping out on construction sites where he picked up different skills in the construction sector such as bricklaying, painting, tile fixing, to mention but a few, in order to make ends meet.
Philip now has established his own client base that calls upon him to undertake various jobs related to construction. He is now able to make enough money to comfortably take care of his parents and siblings.
Recently, he bought land and has started building a house which he hopes to complete by the end of the year.
He is a good example of the need to encourage skills development among children and young people, including those who are not gifted academically, especially that Saturday September 8, 2018 is International Literacy Day, which will be celebrated under the theme ‘Literacy and skills development’.
Not all children are able to excel in their academic studies for an array of reasons, it is therefore important to cater for them so that in adulthood they are also able to contribute to national development and growth in areas that are non-academic, the way Philip is impacting his family positively instead of being a statistic amongst Grade Seven dropouts with nothing to do with the high unemployment levels especially among young people.
Sadly, the challenge of lack of jobs does not only affect school dropouts like Philip.
It affects his peers with their academic qualifications from different institutions of higher learning institutions.
Young people are fundamental for the development of any country, including Zambia. They hold the key to equitable and sustainable societies, hence skills development should be encouraged to help address some of the challenges that communities are experiencing.
By motivating children from an early age to identify and capitalise on their strong points, the cycle of poverty might not be eradicated but it can certainly be minimised, especially among vulnerable communities.
This is not meant to negate the importance of academic excellence; it is only that people are differently gifted.
Some are good with their brains while others are very talented with their hands.
The most important thing is to identify one’s best qualities and use them for individual, family, community and national growth.
Academic and skills development should complement each other in making the world a better place.
Remember, children are our future. Until next week, take care.
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