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Education: The issue of career counselling

Shabbir Sarwar
Shabbir Sarwar

One of the key issues of the Pakistani education system is the lack of formal career counselling institutions, which can properly guide the undergraduate and graduate students to choose an academic discipline – that best fit their life goals, interest, their psychology and meet requirements of their family and the country.
For selecting a career path, students usually consult their parents (if they are educated), guardians, teachers and others in their social circle. Students and their parents mostly take a decision keeping in view the market trends. Other factors include interest of a student, fee structure in a given academic program of their choice, distance of academic institutions from their residence, atmosphere of the institution, value of the degree in terms of job placement rate and their likes and dislikes of those who are providing this informal counselling to the future constructors of the country.
While making this lifetime key decision, the students have to mostly depend on the required counselling on these informal sources because of the lack of formal counselling institutions in their previous academic institutions, as well as in the provincial metropolis and the country.
Most students who got high grades in school and colleges, when come to universities their grades show a sudden and sharp decline due to selection of wrong career paths. After attending a few classes they come to know that they lack any interest in the chosen discipline.  This is because they don’t get proper counselling before taking admission. Most students say they got admission by chance. A survey study reveals that during the very first introductory class in the university more than 90 percent students are not clear headed about their life goals and study objectives. Girls are comparatively more confused than boys about their study objective and career planning.
Some students during the first semester or after the first semester all of a sudden vanish from the class, which clearly reflects they have selected the wrong academic discipline which does not match their interest and study objectives. Again this is an issue of career counselling.  Many students say they have selected the discipline due to some pressure from their parents or other in their social circle. The students and their parents must keep in mind that at graduate and postgraduate level the decision regarding life career should be made free from any kind of family and other social pressure, because this one mistake in going to be a lifelong mistake. They remain behind in the race on this career path. Therefore, it is necessary to take this decision very carefully; interest of a student must be focused.
Lack of proper information system and irregular admission policy is another major issue. Most of the students even miss their important entry test exams, which in many cases, are conducted even before their results are declared and resultantly their loss is irreparable.
Private colleges and universities usually try to keep their firm hold on the prospective students by using various techniques, like fee concession scholarships, early closure of admission to get fees from the applicants. It a need of the hour that all stakeholders make a comprehensive policy and meet every year for the advent of the admission season to streamline and regulate the admission policy.

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