First of all I take this opportunity of congratulating The News on completing its 25 years and celebrating its silver jubilee. I think the entire management and workforce deserves a huge appreciation for delivering unbiased local and international news to the doorsteps of millions of readers for the last 25 years.
I had the opportunity of joining the team of education journalists not too long ago when I started to contribute to the newspaper in the area of career counselling a phenomenon that has been non-existent in the early 1990’s.
The importance of career counselling cannot be ignored in the development and economic growth of any country. The world is changing at an incredible pace and will continue to do so. We are moving from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy and knowledge as such is ongoing evolution.
There are many factors that contribute to this change which include: globalization, demographics, social, lifestyle trends and technology. Each of these factors hugely affects our careers and our personal lives in different ways and will continue to impact us at different times of our lives.
THE DEFINITION OF CAREER COUNSELLING
Before we go any further and discuss the importance of career counselling let us clarify the real definition of what career counselling is all about “The interactive process characterized by a unique relationship between the counselor and client that leads to change in one or more of the following areas:
- Beliefs or emotional concerns relating to perceptions
- Level of emotional stress
Career counselling is a process that would help you to know and understand yourself and the world of work in order to make career, educational and life decisions. The goal of career counselling is not only to help you make these decisions but to give one the knowledge and skills that is needed to make future career and life long decisions through an intervention process’’.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CAREER COUNSELLING
While, career counselling has become an integral part of all educational institutions in the west and its being implemented in theory and practice particularly in secondary, higher secondary and university sectors. The importance of Counseling as a profession has now been widely recognized worldwide, trained and professional education counselors, career and advice centers are now part and parcel in all institutions in developed countries.
CAREER COUNSELLING IN PAKISTAN – PAST AND CURRENT TRENDS
Career Counselling In Pakistan it was non-existent during the early 1990’s both in the public and private sector and therefore, young children and youth had no access to career counselors or career counselling services in the entire education sector. This trend started to change in the early 2000 from the private sector especially with those institutions that were offering CIE qualifications and with the expansion transnational education in the country. The private schools started to develop career counselling units however; these were mostly related to providing information and guidance that was delivered through teachers or management staff. While, the public sector schools never had any career counselling facilities at secondary or higher secondary level and still there is no such facility in these schools.
EDUCATION COUNSELLING IN HIGHER EDUCATION
There were no provision of career counselling services in the higher education sector in Pakistan up to the early 2000 and even after the formation of higher Education Commission in 2002. These included both public or private sectors and students mostly interacted with private or freelance education counselors and consultants to seek career and future guidance which was mostly limited to study abroad opportunities.