Table of Contents

  • One reason why many developing countries show great readiness to spend a large proportion of their annual budget on education is that they hope educational expansion will eventually lead to a greater supply of manpower for national development. Over the years, many developing countries have experienced disappointment in the outcome of their educational programmes. In no field is this disappointment more acutely felt than in the field of technical education.

  • The indispensable role and importance of technicians to a developing country cannot be over-emphasized. They are the middle-level manpower who exploit scientific and technical discovery; the people whose training and skill in industrial processes enable the material wealth of a nation to be built up. Their availability in the right numbers, at the right time, in the right place, and with the right balance of technical knowledge and practical skills, determines the pace and direction of industrial innovation and economic and social development.

  • Manpower planning is an attempt to predict the role of the labour force in the achievement of the objectives of a national development plan. These objectives are matters of government policy, and reflect the kind of society that a country's rulers wish to create, establish and maintain. Though the priorities are a consequence of the political, economic, and social philosophy of the government, the main priorities are likely to be the provision of higher standards of living and an improved quality of life – particularly for the very poor, the undernourished, the badly housed, the socially ill-adjusted, the under-educated and the under-trained.

  • Planning for the education and training of an adequate supply of the right kind of technician manpower is an essential part of national economic development planning. The government decides the order of priority of national economic objectives, and the proportion of the national income to be invested in each area. Executive decisions are then made about how national resources are to be used to achieve the objectives, and a forecast is made of the total manpower required and of the mix of specialists within it.

  • In selecting students for technician courses, the main aims are to guide each individual into the type of job in which his abilities, aptitudes and interests, academic performance, intellectual and practical strengths, personal qualities and potential are most suited, and to place him in the course in which he is most likely to succeed.

  • Technical education is an integral part of a country's general education system and it is therefore right that in most circumstances the initial training of technical teachers should not be isolated from that of other teachers. Segregation can reinforce belief in lines of division whereas, in fact, the training of specialist technician teachers has much in common with the training for teachers of the 15 to 19 age-group in secondary schools, particularly with those who will teach mathematics, science, technology and practical subjects. Some of the instruction in the basic initial training course could be shared.

  • A technical college is essentially an institution designed to teach students the applications of existing technological knowledge to the processes of industry. Its work involves not only teaching technician students the skills and principles underlying the production and manufacturing processes, but also those supervisory and management techniques and attitudes that are required in the industries served by the college. In the early stages of a country's industrialization a college may have to provide special courses for technologists and craftsmen as well as for the technicians required by local industry.

  • The aims and objectives of a country's educational system determine such matters as priorities and emphases in technician education as a whole and in the curriculum in particular, the education, conditions of service, qualifications and status of teachers, and the examinations taken by students. Different political interpretations of authority, democracy, discipline, and freedom affect the roles of the governing bodies of technical colleges and of academic boards, staff associations, students' unions, principals, heads of departments, and teachers.