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If you’re stupid, you’re going to vocational school

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A bricklayer who works for us sometimes is a Ukrainian and is by training a gynecologist. At least that’s what he claims, and after seeing him work, I believe him. He might uncover a pipe in the wall that no one knows about. He doesn’t become unsure of himself. He taps it with his hammer, places his ear to the radiator and diagnoses the pipe to be connected to the radiator. It’s classical doctor’s methodology.

This bricklayer, like others on my (secret) list of good bricklayers, has very little time and lots of work. My hairdresser must also search for a very long time in her calendar to find an open slot because she has many customers. According to her, an important skill if you’re a hairdresser is to have a large vocabulary. “If you cannot agree with your client, I try to describe it in as many ways as possible until her eyes light up, and she finally understands.” The point is, you can’t just do something on someone’s hair. There are other elements to the work, including understanding.

But everyone has stories like this about workers. It’s a favourite genre. In some the worker is a superman, in others a thief. The question is what separates such a bricklayer, hairdresser and other superheros from the villains. The answer: The capable workers were not educated in vocational schools. Hairdresser Eva went to art high school, and bricklayer Josef, as has already been said, has university education. They are educated and speak foreign languages, they have a large vocabulary, they use the internet, they know about new developments in their fields, and they know how to sell their products.

In Prague 8,300 children are now finishing elementary schools. There are 11,000 places waiting at high schools and vocational schools. More than 2,000 of them are vocational schools, so if you do the math, you see that no one needs to go to vocational schools if they don’t want to.

Only those students who were rejected everywhere else will go there, feeling as though learning a vocation is a punishment. There has been talk about stopping this trend, but so far nothing has been done about it.

A good worker is the superhero of today. He is welcome everywhere, well paid and has no lack of work. Various regions are doing all they can to explain this to people. But a vocational school is no place for superheroes.

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