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Expert links poor student career choices to indecisiveness…as St Ignatius holds Careers’ Day (PICTURES)

INDECISION among students is a major challenge hindering students from making correct career choices, St. Ignatius College career guidance teacher Loyce Kasanga.

Ms Kasanga said this in an interview following her institution’s Careers’ Day, held last Saturday at St Ignatius College School in Lusaka’s Ibex area.

The Careers’ Day was held with a specific aim of providing the learners at the institution with the relevant careers information, advice and guidance.

“As a guidance teacher, I have identified a number of challenges students face in making career choices and the common one is indecision. It renders them to make wrong career choices and pathways. It is therefore our duty as teachers and parents, to guide them into making correct choices and decisions,” said Ms Kasanga.

She said the Careers Day, involving the participation of students, learning institutions and parents, was one avenue schools must use to help learners make informed decisions.

She said this was possible because such a day brought together experts in different fields closer to students.

“Our Careers’ Day was themed ‘Tell your story’ and we brought a number of experts in different fields. This is because we believe everyone has a story to tell, everyone can provide some piece of worthwhile and authentic information; this will help open the student’s mind to a wealth of possibilities,” said Ms Kasanga.

“Having access to a network of people is an invaluable asset in the 21st century job market. It’s all about who we meet. It’s often said that ‘You can’t be what you can’t see,’ said Ms Kasanga.

She encouraged parents to take an active role in offering career support and guidance to their children.

“Parents serve as a major influence in their children’s career development and career decision-making. Parents want their children to find happiness and success in life and one factor which influences happiness and success is career choice,” she said.

“Research also indicates that when students feel supported and loved by their parents, they have more confidence in their own ability to research on careers and to choose an interesting and exciting career,” said Ms Kasanga.

And invited guests and professionals, in their statements, presented their perspectives about careers. Students were given exclusive guidance in fields like accountancy, law, insurance and business, to name but a few. Universities, local and international, also held interesting career talks with students as they were given chance to exhibit at the event.

Guest of honor Dr. Patrick Nkoma, an academician and director of Dalp Consultancy, urged parents to invest in rewarding careers abroad.

Dr Nkoma said his organization was working on organizing a huge education expo to be held in Livingstone next month. He said the event would help the learners interact with various international learning institutions from different countries.

“For the first time, we are going to be in Livingstone on August 28th for an education gathering. This is an international education expo where we would bring in eight to ten universities from across the world,” said Dr Nkoma who has for the last 20 years been actively involved in arranging studies and scholarships for Zambian students abroad.

Dr Nkoma, who is also an aircraft engineer, said most Zambian students willing to study abroad always wanted courses related to business. He said his organization has now widened its scope and was now helping students venture into various professions like health, engineering and others which were not initially common.

He urged students to always dream of venturing into studies at an early stage.

“I for one got my first degree at 38. I would encourage the learners not to look at the situation where they are now. Where they are now is but just a stepping stone. I personally continued to study to reach where I am,” he said.

Meanwhile, St Ignatius College-School President, Father Kelly Michelo, said Careers Day had always been used as an avenue to expose the students to what is on the market in terms of professions and places to study from.

“This particular day continues to help the students to answer the question of ‘what do I want to do with my life?’ ‘What exactly do I want to be? And this becomes like a lifeline question for them,” he said.

“I would like to thank a number of people and our sponsors who came through and ensured that we had a successful day,” he said.

Father Kelly emphasized that his school would continue to offer the necessary guidance to promote personal and career development.

And a Grade 11 student at the school, Taonga Singogo, commended her school for organizing the event noting that students were faced with challenges which are ably-addressed on Careers Day.

She advises her fellow students to be self-motivated and identify what they need to do as a starting point to having a successful career.

“Young people should be self-motivated, be confident with what you want and always focus on your goal. At St. Ignatius, we are always pushed to do more. We never settle for less and that encourages us to work harder,” Taonga said.

“Personally I feel each and every student should first know what they want to do before they start to pursue it. This must be in line with things that determine what we want to do. These are things that determine what we want to be, our interest and passion.”

Taonga who is also St Ignatius College-School Chaplaincy Captain, pointed out lack of motivation from parents as one of the major drawbacks to making career choices.

“Lack of motivation, sometimes you find that your parents don’t believe in you or your teachers. I feel that with support, encouragement and inspiration, we can do better,” said Taonga.

Her aspiration is to become a medical doctor.

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