Career guidance and counselling is a fundamental element in the social and intellectual growth of students, especially in their early years of education. Students begin to think about their potential careers and how to work towards them while in high school. The decisions they make at this level affect not just their higher education and careers but also social lives.
Commendably, the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) developed a career guidance handbook in 2015. It provides students with basic information on career planning and choices. The book focuses on subject combination and qualifications for various courses but the information is not sufficient for one to make an informed career decision.
Guidance should give students a realistic picture of professions—qualifications, responsibilities involved, working conditions and employment opportunities. The Ministry of Education has deployed a career teachers, to guide and counsel students on career matters, almost every high school. But discipline issues have become rampant in schools and counsellors now focus on psychological guidance to help students to adjust socially to the school system.
Lack adequate information
Unfortunately, learners still lack proper and adequate information regarding careers. The career teachers, though trained, lack enough time to play their role as they are still assigned full workload. Principals ought to adjust timetables to allocate time to career inquiries. The ministry should also regularly train career counsellors to equip them with updated knowledge, skills and competences.
Developing policies to address the challenges career teachers face and rewarding them occasionally to motivate them would be a great step towards quality guidance services in schools. The ministry could also partner with external counsellors to expose students to diverse career information.
Ms Jeremiah is a public relations and communications consultant. [email protected]