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Strengthening Career Guidance in Schools

The need to sensitize learners about careers is an integral formative stage in life if the needs of tomorrow are to be addressed early.

Photo of Joseph Joram
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The idea here is to promote a better understanding of careers among learners through strengthening  the capacity of career guidance services in schools. The biggest problem in society is that most people including governments suffer from attitude issues as far as careers are concerned, sometimes  leading to prejudices that overlook important contributions made by people representing various careers. Career choice and decisions can be a complicated process. Some careers are perceived to be better than others, creating serious issues that contribute to career choice. the assumption here is that most people do not perceive careers in terms of their respective contribution to society but more so in terms of how they stand to benefit from their chosen career complicating the process of career choice. A poor perception of one's career contributes to low self esteem, low motivation, negative attitude, poor work ethics, lack of innovation and lack of productivity. On the other hand a positive perception to a chosen career leads to high self esteem, self motivation, positive attitude, good work ethics, innovation and productivity.  Learners need to be informed about their career decisions and choices at an early stage before plunging themselves into careers that only cause them more harm than good. By strengthening career guidance services in schools, learners will be better placed to not only receive supportive information but also develop better insights on the contribution of various careers in society, enabling them overcome the prejudices that surround people when choosing careers and giving people the opportunity to make informed career decisions. The idea not only seeks to produce career based resource materials for use by career guidance teachers and providers but also create career based forums for learning and discussions among students, teachers and parents including stakeholders in the education sector.  

Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine higher education to support the needs of tomorrow?

The idea is designed for teachers involved in career guidance. It aims to strengthen their capacity to become more effective in offering real time career guidance and education in schools. This entails developing career-based activities in schools, increasing the involvement of stakeholders in career based activities, addressing challenges and opportunities facing career guidance in schools and filling gaps. This will entail organizing career forums that are focused on supporting future needs.

This idea emerged from:

  • An individual

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

How they perceive career guidance services, whether they have and how they have benefited from career guidance, their experience in choosing careers, their prejudices and how this has affected their choice of career, their fears and how this has contributed to their choice of career, their thoughts and how this can support my idea become feasible in schools. It would also be useful to hear from career advisory teams, students, curriculum developers and career development practitioners.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

I intend to mobilize head teachers in both basic and high schools to see how best career guidance services can be strengthened or initiated effectively in their respective schools. This involves contacting school heads in a meeting, sharing with them thoughts on career guidance in relation to shaping the future of higher education and their views on career guidance in schools. It is anticipated that the forums will form the basis for exploring possibilities of short and long term engagement.

Tell us about your work experience:

As a Social Worker, I have been involved in career guidance among the refugees in Kenya while working at the Kenya Catholic Secretariat, years ago. I have also researched on 20 diverse careers and initiated a career guide series, leading to the publication of "Career in Nursing" a book that offers insights on historical, educational and career perspectives in Nursing. I have also written manuscripts on 16 other careers. My first research thesis was on "Skill Labor Unemployment in Nakuru, Kenya."


Join the conversation:

Photo of Andrea Zelenak

Hello Joseph!

For me, I would have never known I'd be a designer if I didn't take an art class my senior year of high school. In addition, I didn't even know my major was a possible career path.

A lot of my friends are in college and recent college graduates. Also, a lot of them were lost in finding what to do with the rest of their life.

For my friend, it wasn't until she went into a hospital (HER LAST YEAR OF COLLEGE) until she realized she absolutely loved it. It wasn't until my friend did a year of teaching that she realized she didn't want to do it for the rest of her life.

It seems so simple but programs like Test it for a day! by Hiro can actually have a huge impact on deciding careers!

Photo of Andrea Zelenak

or Try it out while you're still in school! 

Photo of Joseph Joram

Hi Andrea,
Thanks for your post. I have just seen Hiro's "Test it for a day!" and cannot agree more. The whole process is more useful when it starts at an early age when one is in school. I see the formation of career clubs with support from mentors as a good start where students identify with given career clubs, let's call it Social Work Club, learn about it through discussions and information sharing, participate in work place experiences and mentoring. It takes some kind of creativity on the side of the career guidance providers. The challenge is getting employers involved in accepting students in their work place as most employers are too busy and more concerned about their organization's goals which have little to do with mentoring students. The best possible way is to collaborate with professional associations which may most likely offer support.

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