Students now get proper career guidance

A 2009 study by the Ministry of Education (MOE) found that close to half of the young people here chose their courses or careers without "sufficient exploration". Many relied on general suggestions from friends and family rather than researching and making choices based on their interests and skills.

Going by recommendations might have worked for people in the past, but students now face a rapidly evolving world with a plethora of options.

It can be overwhelming for students, parents and even teachers to navigate the diverse education and career pathways available today and in the future.

Career guidance can make an impact in young people's lives, through providing them with reliable industry information and helping them relate schooling to potential career pathways.

All schools now have education and career guidance (ECG) counsellors to help students make better choices about their future.

As of the second half of the year, MOE has deployed 97 such counsellors to secondary schools, junior colleges and post-secondary education institutions. This builds on ECG lessons that have been part of the school curriculum in recent years.

All three Institute of Technical Education colleges and the five polytechnics now have six ECG counsellors each, while the counsellors for MOE schools are each attached to four secondary schools or pre-university schools on a roving arrangement.

These counsellors - many of whom were industry professionals - undergo training in career facilitation and counselling skills, and are meant to help students make sense of the ever-changing job and education landscape. The counsellors organise workshops and talks and connect industry partners to schools. Their work will go a long way towards making students think further beyond their classroom studies, and enlightening parents in the process. With more professional guidance, parents and students can be made to understand that there are multiple routes to realising aspirations for different individuals.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2017, with the headline 'Students now get proper guidance'. Print Edition | Subscribe