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Creating leaders of tomorrow by adopting new approaches to career counselling

Posted on Monday, November 19, 2018

Educationist Ashok Pandey writes about new approaches required to achieve united worldview among children

Roots of global citizenship lie in our understanding of the ‘oneness’ of humanity. It is an ethical belief that we all must care about each other and the planet. This viewpoint is not new to the Indian philosophy. Hitopadesha, a collection of Sanskrit fables in prose and verse, instructs the young minds the way of life to help them grow into responsible adults. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’s emphasis is on inculcating the value of “World is one family”. Khalil Gibran, the Lebanese thinker, philosophied two centuries ago that, “Your children are not your children, they are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself, exhorting the parents to see all the children as their own and to accept that their kids have to play a more significant role in the world. It is a moral imperative. We ought to recognise the interdependence of the world and its repercussions, helping each other in the process to make our choices and commit actions. Building communities for achieving peace, harmony and prosperity at all the, local, national and international level, is a sustainable principle we all must embrace.

Promoting a united worldview helps us see the complexities holistically. The United Nations on September 25, 2015, adopted a set of 17 goals including ending poverty and hunger, ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. Each of these goals has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. These goals are rooted in the Indian way of life advocating “Surve Bhavantu Sukhinah", may all be happy- a profound invocation for the wellbeing of all, not just human beings.

Everyone needs to do their part, most certainly educators and schools, to achieve these goals. From early on the students must understand the global issues encompassing inclusion, expansion and quality in education. Our efforts must aim at preparing the young generation to take up the global challenges. The task of the school leaders, counsellors, mentors is very well cut out.

Building a successful career is arduous. At the school level, we have to develop a culture that serves as a model for high-value learning and creates college, career and life pathways. Proposed below is a 5-point standard that serves as a benchmark for an authentic and sustainable change in the career education in the schools;

1. Define a vision and inspiration: Here the emphasis is not just on the destination. A vision anchored in values and life skills is an important catalyst.

2. Assessment and diagnostic: A fair assessment of students’ potential, interest and learning attainments is mandatory for a dream-building. It is important that we ask students, what place looks magical to them? Where does their ‘mojo’ lie? Who are the people they will like to collaborate? What transformations will they want to drive their life?

3. Reality Check: The GROW model propounded by John Whitmore (Coaching for Performance: Growing People, Performance and Purpose) is helpful. It proposes a four-step exercise- Goal setting, reality check, options mapping and deciding which option to choose. This model creates a purpose behind goal-setting.

4. Professional Intervention: It is critical to select appropriate, committed, professionally trained mentor for a successful career education programme in a school. Continuous professional development and support extended by the top leadership is integral to the success. Students need the support and advice of the right people. Only a committed mentor can help students stretch their imagination and dreams.

5. Sustainability: Career sustainability does not mean sticking to one-job-for a lifetime. It is not happening any more. Sustainability refers to the difference one makes. Exceptional strength and attributes one develops along the learning curve. One's career and contribution to society have to spread, touch people. It must promote diversity, and it should be socially just. The mentor’s reward is in promoting these values.  They are always around to articulate the accomplishments of mentees and derive the greatest fulfilment.

(The author is a career and sustainability educator)

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