“I want to become an engineer or a doctor…”.
Majority of young students, when asked of their future career plans, reply in this classic way.
Every year a throng of students from Gilgit-Baltistan, after their Higher Secondary exams, descend to Rawalpindi-Islamabad and other cities to pursue their university education. Most of them aspire to become doctors or engineers. It is only after the failure to get admission to the Engineering and medical colleges that they turn their attention to other disciplines as career choices for future education.
Why are our students so limited to only a few professions and why they don’t choose careers according to their talent and interest? The reasons of this conventional approach with regard to career selection are many.
To begin with, our education system has decayed .It has failed to meet the changing trends and demands of the time. Consequently it is producing a lot of such students who, even after ten to twelve years of formal education at school and college fail to select their future career course according to their talent and aptitude.
Teachers, in this regard, also don’t play their due role in help identifying the true potential of the students at educational institutes. During the formative phase of schooling most of the students learn from teachers who lack in pedagogical skills and mostly ill-trained or un-fit for the profession. They develop, among their students, the habit of rote learning instead of critical thinking. The students, therefore, never dare think new ideas or explore new things. What they learn in the end is a traditional pattern of thinking bases on half-truths and stereotypes
Moreover, it is the parental and peer pressure which is greatly responsible for forcing the students to opt for limited professional choices. Parents in our society normally pre-define the destiny of their children. Most of the parents wish their children to be in few traditional professions like engineering or medical, contrary to the wishes of the children. The student thus sacrifice their dreams and career at alter of their parent’s undesirable whishes. This happened to one of my friend who wanted to become a journalist but was forced to opt for engineering because it was his father’s wish. Today he is drawing a handsome salary but he is not happy with his profession. Such cases are rampant here.
Similarly, peer pressure is a factor that often negatively impacts the career choice. This normally happen to those students hail from illiterate or semi-literate families. They, being deprived of the proper career counseling and guidance, look to their peers for the decision making in their professional pursuits. If Mr. is doing engineering so should I do it, or Mr. X’s son is quite successful in that particular profession therefore it will also suit me. This blind imitation proves to be catastrophic after students enter into the professional life, when they later find it against their interest and liking.
Likewise, societal stereotypes also determine the career of the students. In our society students are divided into the intelligent and non-intelligent strata. The intelligent are those who perform well in their exams and fetch better marks. Therefore, it is taken for granted that such student will perform good in science and technical fields and the other lot who are average, normally come from government schools, are supposed to be suitable for ‘lower level fields’ .i.e. literature, fine arts, philosophy etc. This concept has also been so deeply ingrained into the minds of the students that they think it below their ‘dignity’ to opt for disciplines other than science. Science has become an epitome of highest level of intellect in our society. The result is that today students fear to choose the subjects of humilities lest they should be considered as mediocre and un-intelligent.
Lastly, it is the commercial aspects of the education that chiefly compels the students to choose such fields that are generally considered well-paid and materially rewarding. Although it is a good to carefully consider the material aspects of a profession, yet making it the sole reason of choice is terrible. Because it leads to limited choices and one often overlooks his/her interest for the sake of the material gains. In the long run it is the student who suffers for taking such a myopic decision.
What are the ways out then?
The fist step is the complete overhaul of the rotten and exhausted education system. This system is producing people who are devoid of vision, character, knowledge and good qualities of a human being… Our educated young lot is narrow in attitude, extreme in disposition, corrupt in dealing; superficial in knowledge and understanding, and poor in thinking. A titanic force is required to correct this archaic system and it can not be done overnight. One can only be optimistic about the future in this regard.
Secondly the teachers and parents must play their role in helping students choosing right paths commiserate with their interest and attitude. Teachers must help identify the hidden talent of the students in their formative age. Similarly, parents must not to impose their will on the children. One must be free to choose the career which suits one’s interest and behavior. Engineering, medical or business are not the right choices for all.
Thirdly, one must not imitate in choosing a career. Choosing a particular discipline needs meticulous care and planning. As there is no proper means of career counseling available therefore, students generally succumb to the peer-parental pressure or societal stereotypes in choosing their future course thus sacrificing their own dreams. This is a wrong way .One must choose a career course according to one’s interests and strengths and not because one has advised to follow that particular path. Students must understand that every profession has its own worth and is equally important as any other profession therefore, they must not narrow their choices to a few traditional careers.
Lastly the students should also realize this fact that the purpose of education is not to become materially successful only. It is meant to discover ones’ real talent and hidden potentials and take it to the excellence. Everyone has been endowed with a peculiar talent by the creator and it is one’s duty to strive hard to find that hidden talent and polish it. Once that is discovered life becomes blissful materially as well as spiritually.