The other day I asked my neighbor's son - who is studying in 10th standard - about his future plans. He looked a bit concerned and said "I wanted to be a computer engineer, but now that there is no IT boom, I am thinking of studying M.B.B.S and become a doctor."
Most high school students and surprisingly even their parents know of only two career options, engineering and medicine. Students are not even aware of career opportunities in other fields like economics, journalism, science etc. They choose their career not based on their interest and aptitude, but on parental pressure and herd mentality. This has to stop if India has to fully utilize the potential of its human resources.
To start with, students have to be made aware of the career options in different fields. This can be done by changing the academic curriculum in such a way that it focuses more on the practical applications of the subject. The teachers also have to play an important role in making the students cognizant of the career options in their subjects.
Secondly, it must be mandatory for all schools to have a career counselor, who can work with the student to identify his/her strength and weaknesses and help in making an informed decision about their career choices. Though some schools do have career counselors, a majority of them don’t have one.
Thirdly and perhaps the most important of all; the parents should encourage the child to pursue a career of his own interest. Most parents either realize their dreams through their children or are just ignorant about the career opportunities in their child’s interested field. In the latter case, the counselor has to proactively interact with them to remove their any of their misconceptions.
Human resources are the most important asset any country can have; India is fortunate to have it in abundance, but their utilization leaves a lot to be desired.