Strengthen career guidance in schools

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, greater and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be,” by Patajall.
Stephen Mugisha
Stephen Mugisha

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, greater and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be,” by Patajall.

At the beginning of last week, Monday 25 March, 2013 to be exact, I was driving from Cornerstone Leadership Academy in Rwamagana and it so happened that the old boys of this school were travelling to Kigali and I offered them a lift.

The two boys were former students of the school who were now enjoying their Senior Six long vacation. Along the way our conversation focused on career choices and their dream professions.

It’s from the conversation with these young men that made me reflect on my own life and my education experience that I realised that our education system does not offer enough career guidance to help and inspire learners to make informed choices about career choices and profession.

We grow up hardly knowing our potentials and talents and the benefits that would accrue from such talents if well groomed and supported. We are influenced by friends in career choice irrespective of our ability and interest; we just join careers as a matter of survival.

It’s no surprise that the majority of professionals hardly enjoy what they do in terms of career. The majority of people I talk to want to go private and start their own business because they lack interest in what they do on top of little pay- never mind that they never quit any way!

Lack of information on career is worsened by the fact that most of students come from humble families with peasantry background so they have no role models and not much information about different career choices and requirements.

As such, access to information and guidance about the career options available to young people should be emphasised as early as from primary education.

Access to such information is an important factor in ensuring learners is able to make the most of the career opportunities that are available in their education path.

School administrators, and all educators at large, have a vital role to play in supporting their learners to make well informed and realistic decisions by providing access to impartial and independent guidance about the range of education and training options that are most likely to help young people achieve their career ambitions.

Local authorities should work in partnership with education institutions to encourage, enable and assist young people access much information about different career opportunities through organising career seminars and other related education and training programmes.


In light of the above, it is important for schools and all learning institutions to consider a range of wider career activities such as engagement with local employers and work-based education and training providers to offer all young people insights into the world of work, and with local colleges and universities for first-hand experience of further and higher education.

Schools can work in partnership with local authorities to ensure they know what services are available, and how young people can be referred for support.

Local authorities will be required to assist the most vulnerable young people and those at risk of disengaging with education or work.

There should be symposiums and workshops to provide an invaluable opportunity to examine the steps being taken to bolster the role of career information and guidance in securing better outcomes for young people. Schools should work hand in hand with other education stakeholders to ensure that learners get much information about career choices.

All schools should have careers teachers, and events like careers day should be introduced in schools. It’s on such days that school administrators invite successful old students of the school to talk to students and inspire them.

Different professionals are also invited on such occasions and this helps learners to interface with different professionals first hand and make informed choices.

The writer is an educationist, author and publisher.

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