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Making the right choice

June 10, 2013

KARACHI has many types of schools including government, private and community institutions. One feels it is the basic responsibility of every school not only to prepare students to face the future challenges of life, but also to make them able to compete in the job market. There is, therefore, a dire need for schools to identify different careers for students and prepare them to find jobs of their choice.

Presently, most schools do not have any such vision or interest to develop career counselling. They just prepare their students to pass examinations with good grades. Most students are stuck when it comes to choosing a profession for themselves. They see different paths leading to different directions, not knowing which path is the best to take. Most students pick subjects simply because their friends are studying those or their parents wish them to study those. Career planning helps an individual make the correct choice at the correct time.

There is a misconception about career planning; many students feel that the need for career planning arises when they are about to step into university. Yet it is at school where they make their first choice by choosing the subjects between sciences, commerce and arts. That is in grade nine or O-Levels. Therefore, the correct time to start planning for your career is grade eight.

As time goes by many new professions are coming into existence. Three decades ago very few people had any idea about mobile phones, but today countless people are engaged in professions related to mobile phones. As a society we have little knowledge about future professions, hence there is also a need to research future career trends.

To better prepare their students to choose the right career and develop a brighter future perhaps schools should focus on the following few areas where career planning is concerned:

Self-review: This is an important element many students fail to realise — identifying their strengths and weaknesses. It is all about knowing yourself, your interests, abilities and talents. For instance, someone who cannot handle the sight of blood should not opt for medical sciences while a person who is uncomfortable while speaking before a group should perhaps not choose a teaching career, or else overcome his or her fears.

Searching for career opportunities: Schools should have career counselling departments which could arrange events throughout the year. Presently, most schools do not have such facilities. Students should research which type of careers are in demand. There are some educational institutions that organise events, workshops and sessions on career development. These sessions inform students about the area of work, nature of work, working conditions, education and skill requirements, and the job market.

Identification of academic institutions: The next step is to identify the institution which fits your necessities. First look for the institutions which offer the respective discipline you want to be in. Note down all the institutions and then mark your options.

Financial planning: A common problem which people face while planning for higher education in good institutions is arranging the financial support. Students should try and secure higher results so they can explore scholarship options, credits, and other ways of funding.Ultimately, students should set clear goals for themselves while school authorities need to reflect on the key issue of career counselling and implement such programmes in their respective institutions.—Farhan Jumani