The role of parents in students’ career choices

Education experts believe that collaboration regarding career selection between a child and a parent should be done in a manner that transforms both ideologies into vivid productivity.

When it comes to students choosing career paths, John Nzayisenga, director of Kigali Harvest School, believes that although the best approaches should always be considered by teachers and students, parents have a role to play as well.


This, he says, is because choosing a career for the learner isn’t enough; planning for them effectively is also important.


He notes that career is defined as an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.


Aime Prince Lionel Murara, the deputy national coordinator in charge of operations and partnership in Education for Nations and Humanitarian Africa (ENHA), believes that many children grow with dreams of aiming high and being successful. 

While drawn towards a particular career, he advises that meditation and deep analysis should govern one’s thoughts before coming to a decision.

Helping students with career choices should start in the early stages. File.

“It is essential to brainstorm hard so that down the road, the individual is ready to face all the challenges that they may encounter in that career,” he says.

For a bigger yield, he personally believes that the teamwork between a parent and a child regarding career choices can form a powerful bond.

For instance, Murara says, a child can consider music as the path to his/her success while a parent might consider it a ‘wrong’ idea.

The involvement of both sides is very important, Murara says, because clear and tangible decisions are mainly observed to be the outcome.

“We can’t forget that in some cases parents consider a career as a do or die process. This implies that the child is obliged to implement parental ideas,” he says.

As such, Murara says, it becomes a hindrance to the child’s dreams and ambitions.

Role of parents

Isaac Ddumba, a teacher at La Colombier School in Kigali, says due to little or no experience, many children are not capable of making the right choice regarding career concepts. This is why the involvement of parents is of great essence.

He says due to superiority when it comes to experience, the first thing that parents have to do is to perfectly pave the early foundations of their children’s paths, so as to assist with selection of what is best for their future.

“In my opinion, learners are primarily responsible for their own career alignments, their early predictions are very essential in helping parents to also perfectly play their role,” he says.

If a child dreams of becoming a doctor, for example, Ddumba says a parent should play their role in helping the child find the right academic options and programmes.

Murara believes that parents’ role is to assist learners in their general career trail.

This assistance, he says, should involve school fees, systematic planning, and strategic analysis.

He adds that all these aspects should be thoughtfully covered for a career course to become effective.

What to take into consideration

Nzayisenga says some parents expect their children to proceed with career concepts based on their own preferences.

He notes that what they should know is that this is not advisable and in most cases, it never works out and the children are the ones who find themselves in a fix in the future.

“Personally, I have encountered cases where some individuals waste time studying a course that they were forced to do by their parents, and thereafter, have to engage in something else because they didn’t find interest in what they studied,” he observes.

He further explains that the impact here is that most of the time, there is the absence of awareness and passion, which consequently result out into a poor yield.

Jean Damascene Habimana, a university student at the University of Kigali, says parents shouldn’t always buy into the idea that they have more experience in life, therefore; they can make better decisions for their children when it comes to career paths.

“This is debatable because the experience they have is personal and every person has a different way when it comes to learning,” he says.

Habimana, an entrepreneur student, says just because some parents had a bad experience in learning a particular subject or in life, it does not mean that their children will go through the same thing.

He believes that every situation is handled differently by every person.

He, however, holds that parents cannot make the decision for their children’s field of study because of the age group gap that exists between them.

Moreover, in most cases, he says parents should and must be part of career choices, especially, when it comes to guidance, financial support and motivation on how best their children can pursue their dreams.

He goes on to add that, in some cases, parents still need to help their children when it comes to career paths because their support is necessary.

This, he says, is due to the fact that young people are not acquainted with the labour market.

“Awareness is essential; its lack is an issue that can negatively affect one’s career,” he notes.

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