The Guidance and Counselling Unit of the Oforikrom Municipal Education Directorate in the Ashanti Region has cautioned parents, teachers, and other influencers against imposing courses on students against their wishes.

The issue became topical when thousands of final year Junior High School Students benefitted from a four-day Career Guidance and Counselling Conference held for all circuits of the Oforikrom Municipality.

The event organized with sponsorship from the MasterCard Foundation was timely as the students would soon be required to choose their various courses for future placements in Senior High Schools.

Speaker after speaker, students were guided to assess their innate interests; choose courses that aligned with their abilities, and set goals toward fruitful career paths.

Oforikrom Municipal Guidance and Counselling Coordinator Bridgetta Theresa Akordor enlightened the young brains about the courses they were likely to encounter in both the Grammar Schools and other Technical and Vocational Senior High Schools, and the careers each course could advance them towards.

Bridgetta Theresa Akordor was concerned several students had ended up struggling with further studies with some truncating their education because they were wrongfully influenced by friends and overbearing parents, to choose courses that did not reflect their capabilities.

She observed, “It’s been a problem for some time now and I think that parents should not be sole dictators for their wards.  Instead, they should rather guide them and advise them,”

In the end, the parents will not be the ones to study the courses the children don’t enjoy. Neither will they perform the work their children have never liked. This has driven some students to suicide,” she cautioned.

Reiterating the call; Oforikrom Municipal Education Director, Dorothy Opare Baidoo commended the Bomso MA JHS for a sketch that depicted how a student who wanted to go into acting was left frustrated and jobless after he was forced by parents to study medicine.

She underscored how crucial a career choice was, in determining the future prospects, livelihood, wellbeing, and fulfillment of each child.

Advising the students, Mrs. Opare Baidoo explained, “Before you choose, your interest should be there. You need to know the environment you are coming from and see what you can do best.”

She told reporter Ivan Heathcote–Fumador, “We are educating them to understand these things before they choose their Senior High School courses and subsequently the courses they will desire to offer in the University.

STEM Education:

A professor with the Department of Molecular Medicine of the KNUST School of Medicine and Dentistry; Prof. Linda Ahenkorah Fondjor, inspired the students especially females towards choosing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Giving practical representations of STEM in usual daily activities, she defused the entrenched notion that such subjects were abstract, difficult to attain and far removed from the real world.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines, Prof. Linda Ahenkorah Fondjo disclosed that even though some successes had been chalked in getting the girl child to opt for STEM courses, there remained a wide gap in females taking up the Physical Sciences.

“Most of the women will still tilt towards the softer fields like the biological sciences, medicine, and pharmacy. We need more women in the physical sciences like engineering, physics, and mathematics.

Career Detractors

Girl Child Coordinator for the Municipal Education Directorate Millicent Annorbah – Sarpei expressed concern several students in their tender ages were engaging in unhealthy sexual relations; smoking, skin bleaching and other vices that had the potential of derailing career aspirations.

She was worried several parents were absent from homes, working long hours and leaving the training of their children to social media influencers

“Some parents leave home as early as 3:00 AM and return when the children are asleep. They have no idea whatever the children are doing within the day.”

When we educate the kids alone, it’s not enough. We will wish that as we do this career guidance and counseling, the parents will play an integral role,” she admonished.

MasterCard Sponsorship

Deputy programs coordinator for the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program Samuel Nash indicated that a neglect of career guidance and counseling particularly in basic schools had left several students stranded and unable to correct their wrong choices in pursuing higher education.

He observed, “There is a lot of studies that show that in our part of the world, career Guidance is something that is missing particularly at the lower level. Meanwhile, if someone reading Business realizes he or she is cut out to be a medical doctor, it is impossible in the Ghanaian context.

He said the foundation took a strategic decision to support the Oforikrom Municipality to organize the event in line with MasterCard’s passion for raising leaders to transform societies by giving people the opportunity to learn and prosper.

Participating Students

The students who shared transformative testimonies about the conference were grateful to organizers and exam coordinators who spent some time taking them through healthy ways to study towards passing their pending Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

Several students left with a clearer sense of purpose and resolve for making more confident career choices and avoiding vices that could cost them their future.

Source: Ghana/ Heathcote–Fumador