94% of the students feel that the decision of higher education is significantly-moderately important in their lives, and it is not surprising to note as most children grow up answering this question- 'What do you want to become when you grow up?' As adults, we have also emphasized this question and decision for the young ones around us. We ask the question casually, frequently, in jest and sometimes in all seriousness, however, completely without realizing or thinking about how we are preparing or supporting these children to ponder this important question and their future choices.
Amrita Ghulati, Director - Academics, IC3 Institute says, “Considering the importance of this choice and yet the lack of a curriculum/readily available framework to arrive at this decision, starting early is the only way to create and build on conversations with students and their families. Like a healthy body, early childhood nutrition forms a solid foundation.”
She further added, “The choice of higher education needs to be informed and judicious, considering multiple factors of the student, family, sociocultural and economic factors. Exploration of each level/ layer requires time, expertise by a counselor, readiness on the part of the student and building of trust along with familiarity from both sides. Students identified that they need the support of the counselors in gathering information about courses, colleges and curriculums, understanding personal strengths and weaknesses, and mentorship and guidance. This clearly shows that counselors are not just sources of information but also mentors and coaches to build self-understanding and form the foundation of higher education and career decisions.”
The 2022 IC3 Institute Student Quest report gauged that students with counseling support in schools felt more motivated and confident and less anxious in making post-school choices compared to those who did not have access. Additionally, students with regular counseling in schools were better aware and prepared for the transition from school to university.
Bhakti Shah, Director-Outreach, Krea University says, “With the plethora of educational and career opportunities available to students, counselors and students need adequate time to fully explore and understand these for informed decision-making. It is akin to tasting multiple ice cream flavours before choosing which one is your favorite. Although tasting ice cream flavors may take only a few minutes, exploring courses, personal strengths, family aspirations, colleges, and financial budgets take much longer. Through a graded counseling curriculum and a trained counselor's expertise, all these puzzle pieces can be brought together in time.”
There is a dearth of trained counselors in schools, with only 47% of the students reporting the availability of a full-time counselor in their schools in the 2022 IC3 Institute Student Quest report. Even in schools with counselors, only 65% of the students have access by reporting that they had met the counselors at least once. Surprisingly, 26% of the students were not even aware if they had a career counselor in their school. These statistics are alarming and need immediate action.
The shortage of Counselors in schools means that many students are not receiving critical guidance to make important decisions about their future. Teachers can play a crucial role in filling this counseling void. Career counseling is essential to the future of our country. However, providing access to guidance in a country our size is difficult. The responsibility for scaling this access lies not only with Schools but also in other Institutions of Higher Education, including Universities and Colleges. Career guidance can play a vital role in ensuring that a nation's youth can meet future challenges. By helping students to navigate the ever-changing landscape of careers, we can help students find their purpose and be responsible and contributing citizens. In turn, this will help to build a stronger and more prosperous nation.
Disclaimer : The above is a sponsored article and the views expressed are those of the sponsor/author and do not represent the stand and views of The Tribune editorial in any manner.
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