Alka Kapur, Principal, Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi, India

An icon in the world of education, Ms. Alka Kapur, has marched Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi ahead in full stride. Thanks to her inspiring tutelage and leadership, Ms. Kapur is not only the chief steward of MPS but the soul of this wonderful institution. Her novel thoughts and deep insights brought enormous laurels to MPS at national as well as international level. She joined MPS on 1st July 1998 as a Primary teacher and was promoted within a span of 2 years. Under her regime as the Head of the School, MPS made commendable progress and achieved various pre-set goals.

When a student realizes her/his true potential and chooses the right path to exploit it in a productive way, success comes closer and closer with every new step. But, except for a few, most students usually face difficulties in discovering their own hidden talent unless they receive the guidance of a career counselor. Counseling plays an important role in various aspects of one’s life and especially in pursuing career goals.

There is a misconception in the society that the need for career counseling arises when completes his /her academic or professional qualifications. In today’s dynamic and pluralistic society where life is blessed with incredible options in almost every sphere of life, including education, counseling required right at the school level. For instance, after passing the Secondary School Certificate examination, many students face difficulties in choosing the right stream, and it is the counselor who empowered them with the right and futuristic decisions. But those who deprive of proper career counseling often struggle throughout life. A proper assessment of the student to unearth his strengths as well as weaknesses helps the career counselor to recommend solutions which may ensure long-term benefits to the student.

Several reports stated that in India there is around 85 percent of students who are unable to decide which subject they should opt for; students in class 12th securing 98 percent marks still have to compromise with the subjects and college. Presently, the majority of youths in India are facing the challenge of choosing a career of their own choice.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, every hour, one student commits suicide in India. In fact, India has witnessed one of the highest suicide rates among people of the age group of 15 to 29 years. Students from class 10 and 12 are the most vulnerable group, and the major reason for the suicide attempt is the pressure from board examination.

Unfortunately, depression in school and college students has become a grave issue, especially in metro cities. Moreover, it has become crucial for educational institutes to focus on academic stress seriously and provide remedial measures, including counseling for students who are facing stress and depression alone.

Amidst rising competition, the academic life of young talent has become very disturbed and stressful. They are deprived of emotional and moral support from family and teachers, and depression and drug addiction among students have become a new normal. In such adverse circumstances, some resort to end their lives.

Regular guidance and motivational programs need to be part and parcel of academic activities inside the school, and there should be qualified and experienced career counselors for students who may judge the caliber of every individual student and advise them accordingly. Career counseling is just like a light in a dark tunnel that helps them to get through the confused state of mind.

The ‘Happiness Curriculum’ launched by the Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, is adopted by many government schools in the Capital in 2018. After the implementation of the Happiness Class, it has been noticed that in schools, students have developed the relationship among peers which has marked the sense of helpfulness and cooperation. Following Happiness Class, student’s communication skills have improved significantly. Now, they talk freely and participate in class discussions very enthusiastically. With the main purpose of infusing emotional stability among students, the Happiness curriculum has increased its scope to manifolds inside the schools. This curriculum provides everything that improves the confidence level of children and helps them to take various challenges in life with undaunted courage, self-respect, and a positive mindset.

Apart from developing career counseling in schools, authorities should ensure that subject teachers are also making adequate efforts in resolving students’ queries and making them aware of various career opportunities if they select a particular subject in graduation and post-graduation courses. It is the responsibility of subject teachers to guide students about additional sources of knowledge acquisition for a particular field or subject in addition to the knowledge they receive in classrooms. In fact, all this support should not be limited to the classroom and school campus. The chemistry between teachers and students should be very harmonious, and a student should not be hesitant while taking any sort of counseling from the teacher.

An effective counseling session is one that is all-inclusive and encourages maximum participation of all the three entities, i.e., students, teachers, and parents. Career counselors have their own protocols along with different psychometric tests to identify the real potential of the students. Apart from evaluating the students through psychometric tests, they also investigate evidence in the form of facts and figures before reaching to any conclusion.

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