The teaching profession is a very dynamic profession and the only thing that is permanent with it is change. There are new trends and new adjustments appearing in the teaching for both vocational and professional practice. The players in this industry have therefore to keep up to date with these changes as they affect the profession to a great extend (Bantock 1981). It is good for teachers to understand the profession well together with the expected changes so that they can prepare themselves adequately to keep up with the changes.
Vocational education training is the training, mostly for adults, that provides them with specific skills for application in a certain job (Preston, 2005). It is mainly done for adults and manual jobs and the skills acquired are relevant only for that specific job. On the other hand, professional training refers to the skills, knowledge and applications that are learnt to be applied beyond work. Its aim is to enrich the student with knowledge that can be used in career as well as development of the person.
In the past, provision of education has been targeting young people and routine students and was mostly done in class. However, there is vocational teaching or training which has come out strongly with the aim of providing skills and knowledge to people of all ages, young and old. It is seen as a more flexible module since people can acquire skills while at the same time taking care of their families and concentrating in their jobs. This is because it enables one to acquire knowledge without going for classes physically (Preston, 2005). There are major changes that affect the vocational training and teaching practice. The changes may be political, economic, social, technological, geographical as well as legal.
The aim of this paper is to identify the contemporary demands and upcoming requirements for the profession and consider how they are going to shape the future of the profession. In the paper, possible organization in the teaching profession that can help people remain relevant, competent and efficient in the profession will be discussed.
There are various developments in the vocational or professional practice in the teaching sector. As discussed above, these changes can be categorized into political, legal, economic and social. One of the demands of vocational and professional teaching is the increasing need for guidance and counseling. This is a key element in provision of skills and knowledge and teachers must be able to provide it. Over the past, educational and vocational guidance has been viewed as a simple process of giving students a little information about the market needs in terms of labor and helping the students to discover their abilities (Dynkov,1996). This was to enable them make informed decisions regarding career choices. In the recent days, the teaching and vocational training is putting more emphasis on providing students with information that can be applied in different work situations. This is aimed at making the students more effective and flexible in their working environments. Nowadays, employers need people who can think outside the box and those who are open minded.
This trend does not seem to reverse hence in the future, students will be expecting more from teachers in terms of guidance of counseling. The students are expected to be more informed about career choices in the future due to technological and informational advancements. This means guiding the students will a big task to professional and vocational trainers. There is therefore need for the teachers to keep themselves updated with career trends and issues in order to be prepared to meet the expectations of the students (Barton, 2006). Further, teachers should attend refresher courses and conferences on guidance and counseling in order to acquire more skills and information on the same. They also need to conduct more research to understand well the future for different professions and analyze them for students.
Another emerging trend is the need to promote and improve on the access to education and training by girls and women. This is caused by the policy to ensure that women participate fully in the nation building activities (Bantock, 1981). Because they can not participate fully without the required skills, the government has come up with a policy to enhance access of education by women and girls. This trend has also been caused by the new social orientation where the traditions, norms and beliefs have changed allowing women more freedom to participate in socio economic activities. Nowadays, women are becoming aware of their rights and the important role they can play in the society. They are therefore more willing to undertake vocational training and education in order to be able to do so. According to Preston, they are also ready to undertake skills in disciplines which in the past seemed to be a preserve for men (2005). Each and every country that desires accelerated development has come to acknowledge that involvement of women in economic activities is critical in achieving that accelerated growth and development. They therefore emphasize the need for training of women and girls. In Australia, the National Training Board has embarked on developing a policy that does not discriminate against women in training and employment opportunities. This is making the players in the education sector to change their policy and approach in teaching in order to encourage and motivate women and girls to learn.
This seems to be just the beginning and in the future, it is expected that more pressure will be mounted from external and internal forces to enhance access of training for women and girls. Therefore, programs should be formulated that favor women and girls with regard to their nature. It will be necessary to make vocational training more flexible for women in order to ensure that they can afford the time for training (Barton 2006). It should be considered that the basic role of taking care of the family is the responsibility of the woman in most societies which limits her time for training. Vocational and professional education training providers should also be prepared to encourage the female students to learn and venture into some disciplines which over the past have been left for men (Penney, 2002).
Another demand in the education sector that has come recently is the need to integrate training needs with the employment requirements (Preston, 2005). Countries are assuming a pull approach to production of man power. In this approach, a country seeks to understand full the skills required by employers in the market and then ensure that it produces man power with those requirements. This enhances efficiency by ensuring that there is no wastage, all the students and learners acquire the relevant skills and knowledge that will help them in their work environment. Teachers and providers of vocational and professional training should therefore try to understand well the job requirements in order to tailor their delivery methods and content to make the students suit the job market.
This has also called for the need to incorporate professionals in various fields in the teaching profession. These professionals help in development of curriculum for their specific professions and some are even involved in part time teaching. Also, training institutions are collaborating with companies and industries to conduct researches which can be used to enhance industrial or company performance as well as teaching of the discipline (Ehrenberg, 1994). In Australia, a system known as Competency Based Training has been developed to ensure that there is good linkage between Training and work so that the students are able to apply their skills in the work environment. The training programmes are taught through theory and industrial experience.
There is an increasing need to provide relevant skills and knowledge that does not seem to end in the near future. Companies will continue to demand all round graduates from training institutions who are capable of applying the knowledge they have learnt in real life situations and work. Vocational and professional trainers should therefore brace themselves to be able to satisfy the requirements of the employers (Ehrenberg, 1994). The curriculum should be reviewed to incorporate the requirements of the relevant industries. Trainers should take a more practical approach to teaching and help students know how the theory they have learnt is applicable in the work environment.
Another emerging trend is the international cooperation in the education sector among countries. Countries have recently started to embrace the need to liaise with their international counterpart in order to provide high quality education for global application. This has highly been contributed by the various bilateral and multilateral relationships between countries. Such countries therefore enter into partnerships to develop training programmes and collective research on some disciplines (Preston, 2005). The Australian government for instance, in involved in sharing of information with other countries through the Australian Commission for UNESCO.
International cooperation is a permanent change that should be expected to continue and strengthen with time. Countries will continue to hold things in common and their differences will be aligned in order to strengthen the multinational ties. The education profession will not be spared by this and it has to brace itself for more changes concerned with international cooperation (Booth, Nes & Stromstad, 2003). There will be need to harmonize education practices and curriculum of countries with those of others and the education policy makers should be aware of this fact. They should therefore understand the education standards and policies of their counterparts and consider them I developing their curriculum. Curriculum should also be developed jointly by concerned countries to ensure that the needs of all concerned countries are addressed and harmonized with those of others. Training should also take a global approach since with increased multinational integration, working in other countries will be greatly enhanced.
The adoption of the flexible and e-learning in most of the countries is a new trend in the vocational and professional teaching. Flexible learning and e-learning are the programs that allow people to acquire knowledge at their own convenient time and place. It is seen as a major breakthrough since it enables people to train as well as doing other things in their lives. One can now easily learn while at the same time working or taking fair of family. This is a new global order that is going to affect to a great extend how professionals in the teaching sector deliver (Adams 2006). In Australia, the government has shown its commitment to support the flexible and e-learning program in order to enhance integration of training and work to improve on the productivity of the country. Advancement in technology is also a major issue in that has made introduction of flexible and e-learning possible. E-learning and flexible learning is majorly brought by the need to balance work, learning and family.
In developing organizing and providing for education, the stakeholders must ensure that the flexibility of the students in terms of time and resources is considered to a very big extend. The curriculum should be developed in such a way to support the e-learning and flexible learning programmes. The stakeholders should also develop a flexible curriculum for this module and acquire the necessary communication and information technology required to facilitate economic development. According to Booth, Nes & Stromstad (2003) in training teachers, informational and communication training should be incorporated since it forms a basic for future teaching. Seemingly, in the future almost all teaching, voluntary or professional, will rely wholly on informational and communication technology. There is therefore need to develop a compatible structure for education.
In the global set up, there has been a need to increase productivity (Egan, 2010). There is a gradual reduction in the resources used in production and every company, country or industry nowadays wants to increase productivity in order to maximize on the few resources available. This development has necessitated the education system to see the need to provide a better trained work force that will aid companies in increasing productivity. The decrease in resources is fairly permanent thus in future, the need to produce trained man power will continue to increase. The professional and vocational teachers should be more prepared to produce more qualified personnel and this can only be done by revolutionalizing their teaching methods to ensure that what they teach will help students become efficient (Egan 2010). Due to the changing contexts of efficiency, the teachers should regularly attend conferences and interact with players in various industries for exchange programmes.
Overall, due to the above changes and their effect on the future of teaching profession, there is need to develop policies to maintain and develop the requirements for the profession. In developing and maintaining these requirements, various considerations have to be made to make the policies effective in dealing with the contemporary and future issues in the profession. When well formulated, education policies and procedures will serve to ensure that people who go through the education system are well trained and are able to apply the skills they have learnt in different contexts (Adams, 2006).
The first factor to consider is the growth of technology. When developing curriculum and making other policy issues for education, it is critical to keep in mind the technological trend and future prospects of technology in relation to education. This should serve to ensure that what the students learn at school is up to date in technological terms and this will enhance their competency. The policies formulated should also be flexible enough to enable allowance for technological changes.
Other considerations that will make the organization of education provision better to address the changes and maintain competency in people are the population issues. It is good for the country to understand well its population issues in order to formulate good education policies (Barton, 2006). This is because policies are highly affected by demographic issues such as age distribution, statistics on gender, population growth among others. This is because different policies are required for different age groups, gender and the population distribution will help to formulate policy issues like flexible training.
The resources available to the education sector should also be considered because the sector should act within its means. Therefore, a review of the resources needed for every policy should be made and a consideration on their availability made before implementing the policy. Resources include human capital, technology, reading materials as well as the physical infrastructure. Generally, all policy issues should be aimed at improving the delivery methods, processes and the content of education as this will serve to enhance competency of trainees.
Education is provision is very dynamic and requires adjustments from time to time to ensure that the skills acquired by learners are helpful in the society. Learning is a very important aspect of life and it touches on all aspects. Therefore, it is important to treat it with a lot of seriousness and ensure that the training is aligned with the market demands. To do this, the players must understand well the contemporary issues in education and the direction they are likely to take in the future.
Some of the contemporary issues that affect education are the increasing need for guidance and counseling which is expected to increase expectations of students from teachers, the increased participation of women and girls in nation building activities thus increasing need for their education, the need to match training with job requirements and the increased appreciation of international integration and its importance (Barton, 2006)).
In formulating education policies with a view of developing and maintaining competency among the students, factors such as technology, market requirements, population issues among others. The aim should be improving on the standards, material, processes and keeping up with technology.