The frenetic admission season commences with the announcement of Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) examination results. Meanwhile, those who cleared the higher secondary examinations are keen to lap up seats in higher education institutions in India and abroad.
The upcoming challenge for students shortly after the results are announced is choosing the best professional path. But instead of panicking, now is the time to deliberate carefully and patiently. Speaking to Onmanorama, education expert Jaleel M S offers some advice to parents and teachers on how to assist children in selecting a course that matches their skills and interests.
An array of courses
There are many alternatives available to students nowadays when it comes to higher education, but this can also lead to confusion. "If you polled 10 people about a course, each one would have a different opinion on it. This not only confounds the child but will also create anxiety. Students' prime focus must be on selecting a core subject that they are interested in or able to grasp well and eventually deciding on the branch they can specialise in," said Jaleel.
He also added that one must choose a course only after having a talk with experts or professionals in that particular sector. This will help them understand the duties, responsibilities, and challenges of the job. “A backward career plan, which begins with your goals and develops a strategy for achieving them by selecting the appropriate course combinations, is always successful,” he said.
Family, social, or peer pressure
In most cases, children tend to choose career options or courses due to pressure from their parents, family, or friends, leading them to either hate the subject more or end up dropping out of the course. "Recently, parents brought a child to me saying that the latter scored a low mark in the NEET, despite getting a high score of 98% in Class 12 and repeating a year at an entrance coaching centre. After having a word with the child, I got to know that the teen was least interested in opting for MBBS and instead wanted to pursue a career in physiotherapy. However, the parents believed that the physiotherapy has less scope and wanted to send the child abroad for MBBS if the latter did not get a seat in Kerala or elsewhere in India," said Jaleel.
He emphasised that this incident was one of the many he deals with on a daily basis due to the misconceptions of parents.
Parents' role in supporting their child
According to Jaleel, parents can help their children in a number of ways when it comes to making the right career choice. The foremost thing to do is to be a good listener to your child and talk to them openly.
• Parents must try to analyse the areas or subjects in which their child has been performing well for the past three to four years (ideally after Class 7).
• Scientific methods such as aptitude tests can also prove helpful to parents in identifying their child's areas of interest and skills.
• They must also check their child's performances in various subjects and analyse if they are enough to achieve his or her ambition.
• Try to understand the child's personality, inter- and intra-personal relationships, and social and emotional quotient.
Teachers know students better
A teacher can also identify the logical skills, interests, and abilities of a child easily. They can help students understand the various branches of each subject and their diverse job opportunities. For instance, a student opting for a graduation in pharmaceutical science can pursue higher education in biomedical, nanoscience, or biotechnology.
Job-oriented courses after Class 10
"Short-term or regular courses on plastic mould technology, food production (offered by Foodcraft Institutes in Kerala), graphic design, animation, digital marketing, automotive mechanics, and polytechnic offer a number of job opportunities to children who pass SSLC," said Jaleel.
(Jaleel M S is also the director of Career Guru, Kochi)