Career Choices : That Crucial Counselling Moment

Students in Cameroon are currently writing end-of-course examinations that should logically open higher education doors for those who would make it. This will also be the start of a career path for them depending on the fields they choose thereafter. The country’s higher education may not be fully professionalised, but at least once youngsters toe certain lines, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for them to make U-turns tomorrow or afterwards.  
Those who registered for Baccalaureate are deep into it meanwhile their counterparts of the English subsystem of education are full drawn with practicals for the General Certificate of Education (GCE) in prelude to the written part later this month. It is therefore a busy period for the candidates and the education family and a decisive phase for those who will succeed.   Statistics from the Ministry of Secondary Education indicate that some 618,987 candidates are involved in the 2022 examinations organised by the Baccalaureate Board (BAC) and the Cameroon General Certificate of Education Board (CGCE). While 180,288 candidates are taking the CGCE, some 438, 699 are sitting the BAC. 
To say the least, the exams and their results are crucial for the thousands of young Cameroonians who should logically be dreaming already of life after high school. It is then a critical period which shapes their future as what they become tomorrow depends on choices either already made or still to be made. While some may readily tell you where they intend to go and what they hope to do once they pocket their BAC or GCE A/L, it is not excluded that some might still be undecided or even confused as to what they want to become subsequently. 
This is where orientation or better still; counselling, absolutely needs to step in to safe the situation. There is nothing as disturbing as having a youth who doesn’t know what he/she wants to do or one who simply does anything that comes his/her way sometimes to realise at term that it is not fitting. Proper counselling, it’s known, helps to shape a student's behaviour and also instils enough discipline in them. Well guided and counselled students know what to do and how to do things in the best way. This is what they need to achieve their goals. 
The GCE or BAC certificates that they are all vying for at moment are just pieces of papers that can open doors for the youth, but they need better orientation on what fields to embrace; based on their capabilities, to become what they desire to be tomorrow. Normally, every child who gets into high school should already know what he/she wants to become. It is on the basis of this that he/she chooses this or that series or subjects and not the other. However, experience shows that some still find themselves wandering after high school on what to do. Curious then how some of them rush to university to read one thing and back out a year or two after to embrace another. There are even others who jump into certain fields out of peer pressure just to realise midway or after training that they were not meant for that.  This clearly shows lack or inadequate orientation which confuses many and even jeopardises the career development of those who fall into the trap. Career counselling is thus indispensable!
According to a study, “Career Pathway Orientation Courses and Their Influences on Student Career Decision Making” by Daniel Weidner, the complex demands that the 21st century economy and society place on today’s high school graduates are challenging enough to still behave like in the past and hope to succeed. Obviously, the exigencies of the time would have obliged schools to ensure that their students graduate from college, career and life-ready. To achieve this, schools must focus on creating opportunities for students notably skills and decision-making development that support their transition to careers and opportunities linked to their new environments. Regrettably; the country’s schools are still sending out graduates who are unsure of what to do and where to go; most of whom settle on certain fields just to put food on the table, even when the love for the job is absolutely absent.  Individual students’ abilities can be detected and groomed to accelerate their success, and the examination and valuation of their passion can be used to ensure that schools support students embrace the right opportun...



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