It is very important for schools to employ competent career advice staff. Many school curricula do not deal with career choices as a subject. This may lead to lost generations and wasted opportunities.
Lower Primary Career Advice
It is possible to identify career traits in children as they play. An observant parent or teacher should start to nature this trait when they note it in a child. Some children are leaders or influences and it shows as they play.
This assessment doesn’t however happen in our Kenyan schools given the high student teacher ratio.In most public schools despite there being assigned career and guidance teachers,the huge enrollment into lower primary has not made this any easier.
This prevailing situation makes it difficult for teachers to focus more effort in encouraging children to pursue subjects that are in line with what they would like to pursue in future.
Parents on the other hand rarely find time to advice their children in matters career,since most of them did not even have a say in the career they are pursuing now as they also went through the same education system as their children
As such we have many children graduating from lower primary into the upper primary without any career options in mind.
Upper primary or middle school career advice
Ideally,it is expected that by the time children are in middle school, they must get career advice and talents should be identified. For many children this does not happen in time. The children take their exams and join high schools and later universities without any ideas of what they want to do.
Some children join high school, and discover that they cannot do what they feel they are talented in because the schools they have joined may not offer the courses they need for that career. For example, a child who wants to be an interior designer joins a school that does not have art, which is usually a requirement for interior design.
The current education system does not nurture talent,as teachers are more focused on following laid down curricular whist students on the other hand are more concerned with moving from one grade to the next without giving due consideration to what they aspire to do in the future.
We have thus seen both students and teachers focus more on the grades attained during national examinations.Lack of career advice sessions in high schools has seen many students choose course they would wish to pursue in college based on what their parents or teachers consider to be “good”It is not clear what determines whether a certain course is “good” or not.
College career advice
When students get into college, there are some who still do not have clarity on their career path. Despite some of them excelling in exams and get enrolled in courses they had selected in whilst in high school,some decide what they want after they have completed two years in college, and so find it hard to change to their career choice.
This scenario does not just end there,as we have seen and heard of individuals who make career changes several years after graduating from college.Whilst some may consider this move necessary as part of career growth,in my view,i do regard this exploitation of both financial and academic resources.
This is so because our higher learning institutions do not have adequate space to enroll many qualified students,it is thus disappointing to have students who qualified and got trained in a certain field not utilize knowledge gained due to lack of interest and passion for the same upon graduating into the workplace.
Remedial action is urgently required….
We need to have career advisers from elementary school to college and even to the work place. Most people are in misplaced careers and are working hard to adapt to this careers. If career advice is taken early, students and workers will be less stressed.