Big Boss calls our vocational institutes the 'jewel' of our education system. I wonder if the rest of our population would agree, and finally put to rest the stereotype that vocational study is where the Epsilon semi-morons of our society end up to train to do the necessary but menial jobs that no one else would want to do.
In my 2 years of vocational training, even as far back as '83-'85, the VI was certainly no dumping ground for cannot-make-it kids. Believe it or not, I was there to study Accountancy. The textbooks were thick and detailed, the tutorials no less gruelling than the ones we conduct in JC, and the fact that we all felt like bottom-of-the-barrel kids motivated us to study harder to prove that we weren't.
CCAs were free and easy, but they attracted quite a few talented students. I, unsurprisingly, got myself involved in Drama, and Debate, and was ed-in-chief of the institute's newsletter (omg, I just realized that in over 20 years, nothing's changed!).
These days, the institutes are pretty much equivalent to N American Community Colleges that offer diplomas and degrees in vocational skills. Both are run in Uni-like campuses, though I think only we have an image problem. Giving our institutes more recognition is a good move, and a timely one too.
Some other bits of personal trivia:
In the 2 years I spent in the institute, I was determined not to get involved with anyone so I could concentrate on studying and getting my Accounting qualification. Irony #1: I flunked the course and didn't get my cert after all. In 2 years, I simply couldn't learn to count, a fatal disability for a career in Accounting. Irony #2: a couple of years after I left, June arrived at the institute to study Secretarial duties. Despite my intention not to get involved with my classmates then, I married a fellow alumnus of the institute anyway.
Funny, the curveballs life throws at us.