Career is looked upon as an integral part of an individual’s life. In a country like India, the profession of an individual determines their social status in the society. When meeting a new person, our judgment boils down to their profession and whether it fits into the conventionally ‘esteemed’ professions which guarantee ‘stability’ in life. We welcome these people into our circle with open arms.
However, what good are such conventional career options if they only guarantee security and stability in life? Important considerations like aptitude and interests of an individual are sidelined as well as ignored when making career decisions. One cannot help but notice the growing trend of students, encouraged by their parents, entering colleges or universities because of its brand name instead of the courses they offer
In India, out of nowhere, a 12th standard student is asked to make one of the most important decisions of their life – to select a course which they would follow rigidly to ultimately make a living out of it. The confused student, in their fragile state of mind, most of the time end up selecting a course in which they have either scored the most or something their family members had chosen. There is no room for self-interrogation or personal interests playing a role in the selection of courses. Lack of maturity, self-knowledge and insufficient intellectual growth results in wrong career decisions among teenagers, approved by their parents which, in turn, might cost them a lifetime of tedious, monotonous jobs, with little to no self-growth.
A way to counter this lack of knowledge among students and parents is to unfold the unconventional career options and courses available to students which might match their aptitude as well as suit their interests. Career options, to name a few like, Bachelor of rural studies, ethical hacking, food flavourist, museum studies, pet grooming, video-game tester, voiceover artist, vlogger, video-game designer, wine specialist, and so many more must get their dues instead of just sticking to professions like doctor, engineer, professors, lawyers and so on.
Students and their parents must do away with passivity and consider research as the king. In the age of the internet, we have everything at the tip of our fingers. Hence, they must consider it their responsibility to dig in deep till the time they find their perfect match.
Nevertheless, only students and their parents are not to be blamed when a wrong career decision is made. Educational institutions must be equally held responsible. These institutions, instead of giving wings to the aspirations of the students, make their flight to loving their jobs tough. Educational institutions today, particularly in India, have a rigid, orthodox system, which makes it not-so student-friendly. In India, once a course has been taken up by a student at the graduate level, they must go ahead with it and make a career out of it. Such rigidity while taking up a course must be done away with. Students studying abroad undergo a system where at every step, they get to decide what they want to do. They can take or drop any subject at any point of time and emphasis is given to interdisciplinary studies. Such a change should be brought into the Indian education system as well so that students get space to breathe.
Schools should make summer internships available to students of class 11 and 12 so that they get acquainted with the ground reality of a particular course or subject that they are planning to take up at the graduate level. Another trend among schools and colleges that needs to be done away with for quality education is to eliminate the didactic way of teaching. This way of teaching not only limits the horizons of thinking but also makes students dull. Critical thinking and logical reasoning must be introduced in schools and colleges as compulsory subjects so that they are given the space to think beyond the curriculum. Educational institutions should make student-friendly curricula and encourage remedial classes for students. As Rabindranath Tagore rightly mentioned, education cannot happen within the four walls of the classroom. It must and should go beyond the curriculum for the enhancement of the lives of the students as well as the nation as a whole.
Teachers and principals must take an active role in gauging the effectiveness of an educational institution. They must, in return, be given incentives for their extra effort for bringing about change in their way of teaching. Occasional rotation of high performing teachers to low performing schools can also reap positive results. State governments can step in and propose accountability measures so that educational institutions spur their performances for the students. These evaluations must make a note of not only assessing the contribution of higher education to the economic growth and employability of its students but also to the community and national development. Accountability of these institutions is thus very important because it ensures to the students as well as their parents that they are receiving high-quality education for the overall life enrichment of the students.
Students must be treated as the top-most priority, for they are the drivers of our nation’s future. Hence the role of education must be to grow seeds of inquisitiveness in the minds of the students instead of acting as stressors. If Indian educational institutions manage to build spaces where debates, discussions, rational thinking and free speech are encouraged and practised, students in India will not only rise but shine.