School education is evolving in tandem with the diversifying higher education, spawning industries and broadening career options, some conventional and some not very much so. There have been steady and studied developments in the curriculums and pedagogy but then there are also abrupt modifications and short-sighted imports. Amidst this constant influx of newness in the school education scenario in India, one positive factor is unmistakably sighted. All boards of education including CBSE, CISCE, and international boards, which are increasingly becoming popular in India, including Cambridge and International Baccalaureate have been concentrating upon the targeted development of the intrinsic capabilities of the students. The degree of emphasis varies with each board and as an observer of school education scenario we have to admit that child-centric education culture has been predominant in the international curricula in general and in IB schools in particular. National boards have tried to engrain the element of equal importance to all streams of studies and identification and development of the innate potential of a student but there is still a lot left to be desired.
In other words, the ideal that is getting unprecedented attention from the modern curriculums and school education practices is that of exploration of aptitude of a child and facilitation of individualized learning outcomes.
Now, the school promoters are aided and advised to follow pedagogical practices or incorporate elements from progressive educational philosophies like Theory of Multiple Intelligences in the curriculum regardless of the board of education or certification exam they subscribe to.
However, like technical and academic shifts social and cultural changes are far more difficult to come by. There is clear bias for certain professions hence subjects and streams that lead to those professions. What results is undue pressure during studies and mediocrity in the profession, not to mention the potential lost through forced diversion from the stream of interest to the stream of “security”.
With the advent of organizations that implement a blend of career counseling, psychometrics, and parental orientation, a viable opportunity has opened up for students who feel the need to explore possibilities their aptitude affords them and opportunities that this day and age presents them.
There are facets of such comprehensive consultations and the counselors explore the areas that need to be scrutinized and studied to analyze any given case, these include understanding both parents’ choice or child’s ability and exploring the compatibility between the two.
There are critical junctures in the course of school education namely 10th and 12th grades ,which have come to be so decisive that they give an impression that they are salient life events for a substantial section of the population. As soon as a student has crossed one such milestone, the second one comes following on its heels. There comes an unmistakable dilemma for any student as soon as he or she approaches 12th grade. It all boils down to making the all-important career choice. Career guidance assessments play a pivotal role in mentoring the students and parents while making crucial career decisions.
Most times the parents start pressurizing their children to take up a career of their choice instead of focusing on the ability and interest of the child. It becomes a case of a tug-of-war between the stereotypes and interests, the parents and the child.
The absence of career guidance can hamper the students' ability to be an achiever in his chosen field of career. Career counseling can be availed both at the school level i.e. while the student is doing his 12th and privately after passing out of the school.
It is left to the parents and the students to make the appropriate choice. In some cases, if the career counselor feels that the student's choice of subjects has not benefited him or her and their grades reflect basically an unstudied choice of subjects, they might suggest something more befitting, because after this point the student might not be able to make another change of subjects in the future.
Coming to the modality of the counseling, depending on the stream that the student has chosen he or she has to write the relevant aptitude tests.
Career Guidance Test: These kinds of psychometric tests are conducted to discern the mental ability, intellectual inclination and academic aptitude of the student. These tests are designed as per the chosen field of the student. Results of these tests give an insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the student. The determination of aptitude act as a deciding factor in the suggestion of a career choice for the student.
Parental Counseling: It is imperative to counsel the parents, sometimes even prior to the student. Most parents have pressing anxieties which need to be addressed at the earliest. These concerns range from
Finally, though the decision rests on the jointly on the parents and the student, it is the career counselors job to point out the best interests of the student.
Encourage students to think of Alternate career opportunities:
Career counselors, are adept at encouraging students to step out of their comfort zone and focus on a career which they might never have conceived of taking up. They counsel students to take up vocational training or learn a foreign language along with their studies, which would help them further their career. For example, learning a foreign language opens a hoard of opportunities like- interpretation, foreign correspondent, diplomatic services, tourism, just to name a few.
It is a general assumption that students passing out of established colleges are preferred for high remunerative jobs, but today the industry is changing, and most well-paid positions are held by people who can think differently. This mindset is what the counselors focus on changing.
It’s time for the student to be in the know of their receptiveness towards a given domain of academia and not just the receptiveness of the industry for a particular trade. The modern methods of assessment of cerebral potentialities have to be employed with the perfect handling of adolescent emotions to achieve a future that has been dreamt of.
Entrepreneurs have taken cognizance of the need to direct the intellectual potential as suitably as possible. However, this enterprise requires coordinated efforts of several professionals including psychologists, academicians, career counselors, adolescent counselors, psychometric tests assessors besides subject experts. Enterprises such as mydisha (https://www.mydisha.in/) have reportedly shown promise and commitment to the entrepreneurial goal.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.