Importance of career counseling in India
The Indian education system is slowly taking shape into a behemoth, encompassing everything from primary education to higher studies and all that comes in between. Students in India normally start off their quest for knowledge from preparatory school. For the next ten years or so, they are initiated in a system that follows age old traditions and out dated syllabus. The situation further aggravates when they join secondary school and mimic what their seniors have been doing, choosing a pre career path that leads them to disinterest and disconnection from reality. Most of the students end up taking a degree or diploma course that is not accorded to their liking and aptitude, creating a vicious cycle that ultimately ends up with the students working in organizations that do not give any professional satisfaction expect financial stability. Students are the only victims of this entire process. By the time they realize their mistake, it is already too late to recover.
Changing this system is like trying to loosen the Gordian knot. It is not only difficult but has negative effects that show up through societal repercussions. Of course, exceptions are everywhere. Even Earth was a glorious exception in this lifeless universe, but those are just that, exceptions. From time to time, we experience brilliant students who turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the Indian economy, its wellbeing and a shot in the arm for our country in general. But for most of the Indian student population, getting a stable career is as hard as picking up one in the first place. There are many hurdles that stand in the way of dreams and aspirations of a young Indian who is about to start a journey of tumultuous twists and turns, of thoughts of picking a thousand career choices and dropping all of them and picking new ones, of rigid education system and of landing undesired jobs and much more. The key is to understand the root-cause that creates those hurdles and eliminating them to start afresh. Some of the reasons why students pick wrong career choices are elaborated below:
Aspirations of Parents: Parents are the primary career counselors in India, or they think they are. It is a false notion that parents know it all and will always create the perfect opportunities for their wards with their knowledge through experience. But this is not the case. They fail to understand that education systems, career choices and job scenarios change with every passing year. What once was a hot career choice is now forgotten like a dream. So it is important for parents to understand that the option of career for their children lie with the children alone, otherwise it is forced aspiration.
Peer pressure: Friends, siblings, distant relatives and youth of similar age are the biggest influencers for any student preparing to enter the education system. Teenage years are the times when young minds can be molded according to their environment. They compare their situation with others and decide to pick up streams without adding their own aptitude and ability in the mix. This often turns out to be a not so good decision and ends up in a long lasting and destabilized career. As an example, children who do not necessarily like biology are indirectly forced to apply for top private medical colleges in India, making their lives miserable and finally applying for government jobs which have no relation to their profession.
Static education system: If calling India’s education structure unproductive is a misnomer then using the terms apt and productive for the same system is also a misnomer. It is a rigid and uncompromising arrangement which was built on the foundation of the formerly British system. Even the British have adapted the way students study and make career choices according to the changing scenarios. But our way of doing things as far as education is concerned, has not flinched a bit. In fact, many of the key players in the management of education boards pride themselves to be the torch bearers of the continuity of this arrangement. This has an overall negative effect on how our students progress and build a robust career for themselves.
Career counseling is a new outlook on ways to alter the stringent mindset of parents, to carefully mould the delicate thoughts of young students and to create a level playing field for everyone involved in the career making process of a child. The reasons as to why career counseling is a must for students are depicted below:
Knowledge bank: It is one thing to make decisions when there are limited options and another when there are numerous. This is because the more the choices, the more specific they become and it is less complex for students and parents to decipher the path to a durable profession. Although absorbed by western thoughts and processes, career counseling is a novel and unique activity that can surely build upon the existent education system. Specific education paths will lead to specific careers, allowing students to create a niche which can be materialized in the form of monetary benefits and personal career satisfaction. E.g. students looking for top private engineering colleges in India can first become skilled through short vocational courses and then make up mind whether to pursue engineering further or not.
Stabilizing factor: Most students come out of secondary schools clueless. They are malleable and become influenced by their environment very easily. Choosing a path is a nerve racking process as parental advice, societal expectations and other factors come in between their own aspirations and likings. A career counseling session can turn out a boon in disguise in this impressionable age. It never forces any student to pick a career, rather lays down all options in front of them. Of course, honing in to 2-3 paths can still create a little confusion, but at least it is much closer to their aptitude and skills.
Competition assessment: It is hard to estimate what the future holds for any career path and people walking on it. But competition analysis can play a big role in getting closer to reality. Career counseling lets them statistically look at how competition has changed over the decades and what are the chances for the career choice to survive the test of time and how long it can sustain peak demand by employers. As a reality check, recruiters coming to top private arts colleges in India for placements demand some technical skills separate from the theoretical knowledge imparted through syllabus.
Opens self employability arena: It is a very old line of thought in India that self employment or business is a very tough path and should be tried after enough experience in the workplace. Although it is slightly true for some professions, but it is incorrect to correlate experience with self employability. Career counseling negates this thought process and opens new avenues which students can explore right after college or university. The startup culture in India is an example of openness by the Indian society to change views about employability in India and career counseling has played a big part in it.
Career counseling is an important tool for the self development of a student from a misinformed young being to a well aware professional who knows where his/her heart is and can develop a career around that knowledge. It is advised that anyone who is starting this exciting journey should consider trying this activity before anything else. As Nathaniel Branden famously stated, “The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”