I have talked about this issue albeit differently before but I now pose the question: can Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education Authority (Teveta) do something about music?
Like I have said time and time again, there has never been one single trade that has generated youthful interest in Malawi at any given time than music.
It all began with the advent of multiparty system of government around 1993.
It is a shame that government has not realised how to work something out this, institutions have come and gone all in the name of representing the interest of the youth in the country, including the establishment of the so called National Youth Council which has only succeeded in promoting promiscuity among the youth!
When our founding father Hastings Kamuzu Banda was structuring our education system, he created technical colleges which were supposed to offer vocational training. These now fall under the Teveta system.
In the wisdom of the time, students have been carved to become artisans in trades like Carpentry and Joinery, Brick Laying, Painting and Decoration, Plumbing, Motor Vehicle Mechanic, Auto-electrician, Electricians, General fitters etc.
If we look at these trades critically, we would realise that it was meant to build the country. Take for construction of a government office structure or workshop. First to be on the ground would be brick layers before technicians that had mastered carpentry and joinery, then plumbers and electricians would appear on the scene before those in painting and decoration.
What was also happening was that once these graduates have completed a course, they would be given a tool box with which they will use to start small-scale workshops or joined established institutions.
Just like a house, a song is also built with the involvement of different skills.
The technical colleges under Teveta have to start with the elementary lessons in music in the first year, while in the second year, learners can choose who they want to become.
Guitarists, drummers, saxophonists, trombonists, percussionists, keyboardists or pianists should be one group while the other group should concentrate on music production, the third on music engineering in terms of studio recording while the other group should dwell on marketing.
Imagine, if Teveta graduates in music were to be given start-up equipment after their courses, believe you me, we would not have been talking of mediocre music that dominates our market.
There is one major challenge that technical college students face which is the competition from ‘bush’ artisans.
There are bush mechanics, bush carpenters etc. These are people who are accomplished at doing their work in particular trades, when they have never been inside a classroom. The same challenge would still be faced even when music was to be introduced in the technical colleges.
Nonetheless, this is the best way to assist the youth; considering that even initiatives like Youth Enterprise Development Fund are borne out of political whims and, therefore, have no plan on how best to execute them.
Seriously, government has to make use of Bachelor of Arts graduates from constituent colleges of the University of Malawi who major in music but do not know what to do next with their acquired knowledge.
If government would invest in music, it would be surprised that many youth-related challenges would be reduced because the youth would have the chance to study something for which they have a passion and, like Jamaica, Malawi could start exporting music.
Teveta, please conduct a feasibility study to prove me wrong. I insist there is need for this trade in this country.