Ask any layman about schooling. They’ll readily tell you that schools prepare people for work or integration into the job market. But, how do schools do it? Is it by just guiding students through their curriculums? Or is it by involving students in extracurricular activities?
How do they fulfil their mandate to prepare talent ready for work? Well, in order to stay faithful to their mandate- which is ultimately career placement, some schools have introduced “career counselling and guidance” programs as part of their daily services.
‘If education is to realize this goal, then learners should have appropriate career information and undertake career exploration before making career choices. This aspect of learning can only be effectively handled under the context of guidance and counselling; to create career awareness and career planning that will then influence learners’ career decisions.’ – Owen Ngumi Ndung’u on The Role of Career Guidance and Counselling in Career Awareness and Planning Among Public Secondary School Students in Kenya
How exactly is this achieved? Undeniably, many schools do provide some aspects of this program. Thus, this isn’t an entirely foreign concept to many people. Yet now the real deal is, how can schools help students through this confusing exploration?
In the end, we don’t want schools that offer successfully irrelevant workers- people who’ve undergone much training but remain job market misfits.
Several researches have been undertaken in order to understand the significance of career counselling and guidance on career awareness. Evidence suggests that students who’ve had an exposure in this program integrated well in career paths. As opposed to students from other schools who showed poor career planning.
Since career awareness is important, it would appear that some amount of time should be vested in formulating them. Schools which already have this program need to be strengthened.
By way of helping students navigate education and training systems, schools can offer the following as part of their curriculum:
- The foundations of career management skills such as decision-making, self-awareness and the likes should be fostered at an early stage in schools. Since our world has changed, career guidance and education should be incorporated as early as primary schools.
- Young people need to make a smooth transition from primary school to the initial years of secondary education: the choices that they make at this point have major implications for later education and work options. Career guidance needs to be part of the process that helps them to make a smooth transition (OECD, 2004).
- The school curriculum should be tailored towards the career development needs of the students. Often career education has little connection to the wider school curriculum, which is why a career counselling program needs to be part and parcel of school environments.
- Schools should consider partnering with organizations or stakeholders in the job market. This is because their output responds to the demands in the job market. This will also help curb the skill mismatches that are already a commonplace.