Let them choose careers - Experts

Kwambala shared the keynote address
Kwambala shared the keynote address

FRANCISTOWN: Many times, stories of how children are said to succumb to parental and/or guardian pressure to choose courses they end up studying at the tertiary level are thrown about.

It is said parents and/or guardians may be influenced by many factors to exert control over or coerce prospective university students to study courses of parental choice. Locally, factors like prestige are cited when choosing a course.

For example, although it is a matter of debate, a law graduate or medical doctor from the same locality usually attracts attention and respect more than a graduate school teacher. The subject cropped up during the career and guidance open day that was organised by the Gaborone University College (GUC) at Galo Mall on Friday. GUC used the fair to provide career information, advice and guidance service to help young people and adults make informed choices about their future career paths.

The councillor for Itekeng ward (Area W), Lesego Kwambala, a University of Botswana (UB) graduate in Sociology, gave the keynote address during the GUC ceremony and acknowledged that it is true that some students are not getting career guidance before embarking on the professions that they now find themselves in. Kwambala was echoing the words that were said by GUC academics. These kinds of people, Kwambala explained, find themselves doing jobs that they do not enjoy or find rewarding as they had wished.

“Some of us were pressured by parents and family members to choose professions that they felt were good for us and we are not enjoying the jobs we are doing everyday. The best profession is one that is chosen out of one’s interest and desire,” Kwambala said. According to research, educationalists, teachers and psychologists say that trying to decide children’s career paths can be damaging to their development and confidence.

Research shows that parents are more involved in their children’s university course choices now than they used to be. “Such involvement, however, isn’t necessarily always positive: parents could be accused of coercing their children to select degree courses based on their own wishes, imagining they can attend interviews with them, even phoning or pretending to be their children. Experts agree that trying to manipulate children in their decisions about life after school can be fraught with conflict.

This subject can be a bone of contention, as not every child, on becoming an adult, is happy with the pressure felt as a consequence of such expectations,” added the research.

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