Parents’ role in career guidance

Educational Journey with EPHAT MUDENDA
MAKING a decision about which university or college course to study, and where to pursue it from, is one of the most critical factors that an individual must take seriously to succeed in one’s educational journey.

Committed parents who take an interest in the education of their children from the elementary level, primary school, secondary, to college or university level, will surely do well to guide young people even when it comes to choosing a career.
Teachers in institutions of learning have their part to play in the learning process, but parents, guardians and other adult members in society are expected to be fully involved in the process of helping children choose a course, college, university or trades institution where they would like to undertake their studies from.
The work of guiding young ones in this process should not be left to careers masters and teachers alone. Moreover, the position of careers master in most of our schools is simply nominal. However, wherever their work is fully part of a school’s culture, careers masters must be supported by both the school community and other important stakeholders, including parents and guardians of the schoolchildren themselves.
And now that this year’s Grade 12 candidates are about to bid farewell to the senior secondary level and prepare themselves to take a step onto the tertiary platform, parents have an opportunity to sit down with the prospective university or college students and discuss subjects and courses that could possibly help them (young people) in their future careers.
Of course this should be done in view of a pupil’s already known strengths and weaknesses in regard to the individual subjects that he or she is currently studying at secondary school.
The first and most important question should be about which course your child wants to take. The knowledge of the subject that he or she feels passionate about is very important.
Engaging young people in discussions regarding their future careers gives parents and guardians insight into particular courses that immediately catch the children’s imagination and attention. This makes it very easy for parents to know which course or subject – at college or university – would perfectly give a student a sustainable source of stimulation and enjoyment for three, four, five or even seven years of study.
While certain courses are vocational in nature, i.e. they offer skills and knowledge that one needs to do a particular job, such as nursing, dentistry, computer programming etc, others equip an individual for different options of work in one area, such as linguistics, media, business or development studies.
Having wide knowledge about educational programmes that colleges, universities and trades training institutions offer is, indeed, very important. And as we engage in discussions with young ones, we should be able to listen to them, too. This will help us identify their passions, interests and ambitions.
Once we have helped them decide on a course which they want to pursue, the next step is to identify which colleges and universities offer that course. These could be within or outside the country, depending on the sponsorship plan. It is important that one finds out what different institutions have on offer, as programmes sometimes differ from one institution of higher learning to another.
Parents whose children are writing their final ordinary level (O level) examinations this year have a great opportunity to fully commit themselves to help the young people choose a programme and an institution that will give them a real opportunity to fully exploit their intellectual potential.
Meanwhile, we can only wish the examination candidates throughout the country all the best!

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