Career Counselling: a mainstream experience in schools
When I had to address the Elementary school teachers my favourite topic always happened to be “Moulding the clay, the Right Mixture”.
The topic I fathomed was apt because in early years students usually pick up the direction in which they are driven by the teacher. However, once they enter higher grades in school the moulding must continue along with the chiselling. This perhaps can be described as, honing the skills and making every student love what he or she wants to do.
The next stage perhaps is more crucial as here another additional parameter come into a force called counselling and guidance. The world is full of opportunities and very few students are aware of this. There is a plethora of professions one can take up.
It is here that counselling and career guidance becomes very pertinent. Making it a part of classroom experience is very important.
Teachers are not entirely adept at career counselling as it is a totally different profession that requires certain skills and knowledge. Teachers are however catalysts and can guide students to decide the destination, help them make the right choices and identify where the students’ aptitude and interest lies. Counsellors, on the other hand, can work with students to actually get them there. The synergy of both working in tandem is critical to helping a student realize his potential.
I see the following advantages in making Career Counselling mainstream and an active department in all schools:
Career Counselling sessions in schools will provide clarity to both students and parents about the numerous career choices available today.
It will help parents identify the strength and weaknesses of their ward. This would help to channelize their ability in the right direction.
If further lowers the mental barrier that many parents may have towards non-academic and unconventional courses by making them aware of the potential of these courses.
Mapping the aptitude to the interest of the child can be done in a more in-depth manner, thereby providing a comprehensive list of plausible career choices for them.
The students can begin to work towards their specific goals having received appropriate feedback from the career counsellors.
Providing accurate information about various universities as well as the scholarships in a timely manner can be achieved.
Children with learning difficulties and other differences will be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses and opt for appropriate courses.
It becomes an additional asset to the school as it provides a more structured, comprehensive system of academics and personal growth.
It increases acceptance and lowers stress levels regarding non-academic courses like sports management, yoga, performing & fine arts and event management.
Ultimately, if the school provides in-house guidance, students can save their time and parents their resources. This is because nobody understands the student better than his or her teachers and counselors and unbiased guidance is guaranteed.
As school facilitators, we help students realise their potential by energizing and guiding them correctly. For this to be achieved, every school has to invest in identifying every student’s aptitude and counsel them to chart a path that is best suited to them.
This cannot be achieved without making Career Counselling one of the major components of the school & educational experience.
(Mrs. Kalyani Patnaik is the Head of Schools of Hiranadani Foundation School. With 33 years of experience in the Indian education system, she has implemented a few programs. Some of them include leadership development for teachers and students, outbound adventure, adventure programs and social service programs, speech and drama sessions as per the International curriculum.)