"Change is the end
result of all true learning"
- Leo Buscaglia
Picture this: With the annual state board exams ending in March 2015, there will be over 6,000 children completing high school in two taluks of Karnataka - Gubbi in Tumkur district, and Magadi in Ramanagar district. Unfortunately, they will have little to no idea of what lies ahead of them in terms of career options. There are abundant career choices to pick from, but these rural children have no guidance to help them make the right choice. Most of them are the first ones in their family to go to school, and almost always do not have any support system to help them take that next step in their education.
Despite the presence of several career options that they may be interested in, these children are presented with two choices – Engineering or Medicine. And if their performance is average, then they are relegated to Arts! Rarely is there any assessment of whether the children are interested in these options, and if there is even a skillset match. They are brain washed into believing that these two careers are the only ones that can guarantee a comfortable livelihood.
But do rural children desire to do something else? Are they interested in painting what they see around them, do they like to tinker with tools etc.? The question is whether encouraging and arming these children with the right information help? At ILP, we know that the answer is a big YES! That’s where ILP Career Guidance Program comes in – a program that completely discards the one-size-fits-all approach.
Our Career Guidance program is divided into two parts – (a) pre-exam workshops and (b) post-results counseling.
The pre-exam workshops are initiated by agreeing to a schedule with the school principals. This workshop offers career guidance using tools such as a comprehensive career guidance information chart, interactive quizzes and game play, making it fun for the children and, more importantly, decide on what their choices are. These workshops provide detailed descriptions, minimum requirements, and external funding opportunities from the government, private institutions, trusts, and private businesses.
Each session lasts 90 minutes. The size of the class is limited to around 40 - 50 children to ensure active participation. In the academic year 2013-14, we conducted this workshop across 14 government and government-aided high schools. This year, we are doing the same in 107 schools.
The post-results counseling sessions are conducted to meet the children along with their parents after the school exam results are announced. This is to re-orient them on the different career choices available to them and encourage and motivate them to consider them based on their results, aptitude, interest and capability of the child. The counseling also facilitates exploring financial possibilities for the family. ILP provides information on various scholarship options - through government, or other NGOs.
And if required, ILP steps in with its own Scholarship, Mentoring and Counseling program. Over the years of interaction with many youngsters, we have realized while financial support helps, mentoring and counseling them for academic and emotional support makes an even bigger difference. The availability of a volunteer to reach out when in need is what makes the difference for these youngsters.