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imposing career choice on children a serious problem!

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BY AZKA AMEER

Unfortunately, at the time of birth of a child, parents decide that their child would either become a doctor or an engineer because stereotypically these two professions are considered most respectful in the society. Without even knowing their child’s mental capabilities, they impose a burden on the shoulders from a very early stage and then expect the rest of the life that they will fulfil their dreams and never ponder to ask what is their aim. Being a parent is a great job to have at the best of times, but it can also be challenging.

Especially when we are faced with a bombardment of news headlines every day telling us that, as a country, we are not prepared for 2020 when we will have expertise shortage of thousands of people to fill roles for the fast and ever-changing technology.

If a child has utterly no interest in working in a science or technical area then why do parents push him/her to these fields? Just because industry experts tell? Because that’s where the biggest salaries will be? We all need to stop and think about what our children really want to do with their lives, what makes them joyful, what are their areas of interest.

If they don’t know then we need to start introducing them to as many different careers and jobs as possible so that it may help them out to choose the best for their life.

It’s been a common practice from past. People used to consider that son of a farmer would become a farmer and son of doctor would follow the footsteps of his father. Similar was the case with girls. Although, women at that time were mostly housewives but if a lady worked as a domestic worker, she expected her daughter to do the same. This trend has decreased but still in practice and killing dreams of youth.

The majority of students say their parents play a major role in their career decisions, according to a study. More than half (54%) of the students, who were surveyed, said their parents tried to exert influence over their choice of career, while 69% said their parents tried to influence their choice of university.

The study was carried out by GTI Media, the parent company of targetjobs.co.uk, along with the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services and professional services firm EY. Only 27% of the students who took part in the survey said their parents had discussed alternatives to university with them, while 76% of parents said they did not know where to find online information about alternatives to university. By way of contrast, 70% of parents said they encouraged their children to go university and of those, 43% felt a degree would improve their children’s long-term career prospects more than an apprenticeship, school leaver programme or joining the job market after college or the sixth form.

Students did not object to parents’ attempts to influence them, 66% thought this was the right thing for parents to do, while only 7% thought it was wrong. More than 3,000 students took part in the survey, along with just over 800 parents.

My cousin got distinguished marks in medical entry test this year and secured admission in KE but when I congratulated her, I was shocked by her response and asked further questions about her career plans. I enquired her why isn’t she happy at this wonderful achievement. She replied: “My parents always wanted me to become a doctor without even considering what I want from my life. If my parents are doctors, why is it a compulsion that I should also become a doctor?

They just forced me to study biology, which I didn’t have any interest. I always wanted to be an artist but my dreams are crushed”. I further asked her that if she had no interest, how come she achieved success? “It’s just because I have a sharp mind and good memory. I am a quick learner and don’t forget the things,” she replied.

When asked why didn’t she fight for her dreams, she said with shining tearful eyes, “I cannot disobey them and neither can I hurt them, it was their dream so I’m fulfilling it, irrespective of the fact that paintings and sculpture bring colors to my life.

After this revealing point of view of my cousin, I went to my uncle and asked him what does he thinks about her daughter’s success and career. He responded: “All praise to Allah Almighty. I’m very proud of my talented daughter. We are blessed to have our daughter who is fulfilling dream of her parents. After listening his remarks I argued: “but uncle her dream is to become an artist.” “Oh no girl, being an artist is not a respectful and acknowledged profession. What would she earn by those useless paintings? I want to see her stand on her feet. I questioned him: “Don’t you think you are killing her dreams? And the answer was: “Not at all, she’s our daughter and only parents know the best for their children”. After few days I went to her college. I sought permission to talk to her teacher and then the conversation started as. “Is Hina good at her studies?” “She’s an excellent and extraordinary student but sometimes she doesn’t pay attention to her work and prioritize other co-curricular activities especially when something is related to arts.

All the boards which you can see in the corridor and the charts are decorated by her. She’s a fabulous artist as well. In fact she like arts more than biology and sometimes. I feel like she doesn’t want to be at this place but in another world. “What would you say about career counselling or forced career?” It’s very important for a student as all her future depends on this choice.

This is story of one Hina but there are examples of hundreds of thousands boys and girls who are victim of forced career adoption. Parents need to understand that such an orthodox thinking must end now so that youngsters can enrich their talent and come forward for a better society.

The writer is a student at University of the Punjab, Institute of Communication Studies and she can be reached at: azkameer@outlook.com

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