Factors influencing advancement of technical education and vocational training and their impact on economic development in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is considered one of the fastest developing countries in the world today. The main problem facing its development programmes, is the severe shortage of national trained manpower, especially in industry. To overcome this problem, a huge number of expatriate workers have been imported to contribute in executing the massive projects undertaken under the series of five-year development plans, as well as the rapid growth in the activities of the private sector. The shortage of qualified manpower, such as technicians, skilled and semi-skilled workers, is largely attributable to the failure of technical education and vocational training to supply the country with its requirements of trained manpower in scope of industry, agriculture and construction. Only a very small number of Saudi youths enter this type of education, compared with the huge number who join academic education each year. Therefore, the major target of this study is to examine the factors preventing many Saudi male youths from entering technical education and vocational training programmes and their effect on the progress of education itself. ' Furthermore, it seeks to discover why some graduates from this kind of education do not practise vocational work after graduation. To obtain comprehensive information about this problem, three groups of students in three different types of education in Riyadh, were chosen randomly. These groups were: intermediate school, secondary industrial institute and vocational training centre students, with a total of 494 respondents. Data were analyzed using frequency analysis and cross-tabulation techniques.The findings of the study show that the major factors influencing students to join technical education and vocational training programmes or practising vocational work are: social, economical, policy, administrative, organization, technical, educational and personal factors, as well as the impact of lack of cooperation between the General Organization for Technical Education and Vocational Training (GOTEVT) and government agencies in general and the industrial sector in particular. These factors not only affect the attitudes of students, but have also strongly affected the efficiency and the advancement of Technical and Vocational Education. The study concludes with recommendations which it is believed would improve the attitudes of society in general and youths in particular toward this type of education. Some suggestions are also made for further research.