Vocational Technical Education is any kind of education which has the main purpose of preparing one for employment in recognized occupation. The foundation of vocational technical education is based on philosophy which was mainly established for self- employment and self-reliance of the individual(s) who partake in it. Viewing the philosophy and sociology of vocational technical education in the Nigerian school system, it is not a hidden fact that the impact of the philosophy is not felt in the society. By now, Nigeria ought to have been competing favourably with the developed nations of the world technologically. Today, it is unfortunate to mention that the country cannot boast of manufacturing a single pin by themselves. How could they have achieved this task when the philosophy of vocational education is not judiciously followed and implemented. The sociological influence of the society on vocational education has made the matter worse. Vocational technological education has remained a subordinate discipline in terms of societal recognition, adequate funding and parental/children choice. It is in view of this fact that the paper made a critique of the various aspects of the philosophy of vocational technical education and analysed the influence of the society on this profession and also made recommendations on how vocational education in Nigeria can move forward.
Key words: Philosophy, Sociological, Psychological, Vocational Education and Policy.
Vocational technical education is defined by different authors in different ways. Okoro (1999) defined vocational education as all those experiences whereby an individual learns to carry on successfully, any useful occupation. These experiences may be organized and institutionalized or unorganized and haphazard. Simply put, vocational education may be looked at as a series of controlled and organized experiences arranged to prepare a person for socially useful employment. The statement explains that all education is vocational as far as the individual may serve happily on the job and prepares for satisfactory living.
In the views of Thompson (2002), vocational education aims at the development of human abilities in terms of knowledge, skills and understanding so efficiently in carrying on the activities in the vocational pursuits of his choice. Winer (2000) in his contribution opined that vocational education is designed to develop skills, abilities, understanding, attitudes, work habits and appreciation encompassing knowledge and information needed by workers to enter and make progress in employment on a useful and productive basis. It is an integral part of the total education programme and contributes towards the development of good citizens by developing their physical, social, civic, cultural and economic competencies.
For vocational education to be self-reliant and productive, it needs not be operated in a vacuum. It has to be hooked unto factors that will help learners and all stakeholders in vocational technical education to be practical and not only theoretical in their approach to making vocational technical education meaningful and life-long. These factors according to Ezekiel and Usoroh (2009) are:
i) appreciation of dignity to work;
ii) utility and culture in vocational education;
iii) democracy in vocational education;
iv) plights of school dropouts;
v) economics of vocational education;
vi) needs of youths and adults;
vii) needs of the society; and
viii) basic rights of the citizenry.
Philosophical Concepts of Vocational Technical Education
Hornby (2000) defines philosophy as "a particular set or system of beliefs resulting from the search for knowledge about life and the universe". The major philosophy of vocational technical education from National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004) is to give training and impart the necessary skills to individual who shall be self-reliant economically. …