What are the main challenges faced by counselors in India different from abroad while guiding students in their first year of college?
Though career counseling is a necessity and not a luxury, there is a complete lack of understanding of this critical function. Career and college counseling is as important a function in schools and colleges as teaching math or science. Often, institutions have a teacher or an administrator filling in as a part time counselors and the biggest challenge for them is “giving time” to counseling. Most institutions in the west would have a dedicated career and college counselor and therefore the likely hood of students receiving guidance is greater.
Schools in India that are fortunate to have a career counseling department are often bogged down with the lack of robust research or professional development opportunities related specifically to counseling.
Do you think that there is a dearth of human resources/counselors providing proper counseling to students?
Indeed, there aren’t enough people trained in India to take on this responsibility.
This is one aspect that the IC3 Institute aims to tackle by training over 100000 counselors over the next 15 years. In particular, this program will be piloted this year with a one-year certificate program offered online and in collaboration with premiere Indian Universities like Ashoka University, OP Jindal Global University and Ahmedabad University among others.
How is this programme different from others counseling courses covered by other institutions in India?
The IC3 Institute’s certificate program is designed for full-time high school counselors and teachers. The year-long certificate program is structured to be delivered in four distinct one-week modules that will be delivered in-person at designated locations, supplemented with self-study, online materials, and video conference sessions. The unique aspect about this program is that the curriculum will focus on delivering planned and tailor-made lectures including university faculty, industry faculty, interactive class discussions, case studies, project work in collaboration with fellow counselor attendees and networking to build a global network with educators from around the world.
Most importantly, this course is available completely freely for full-time high school counselors and teachers.
How open do you think the officials of institutions are when suggested counseling in order to guide their students towards a successful future?
The reality is that most schools haven’t yet accepted the fact that career and college counseling is critical. This has led to their not accepting the help that is available from different sources.
Universities, Industry experts and companies are more than happy to guide students but in order for them to engage with the student community, they need an apt platform. This is where the role of school counselors comes into play, as they help connect these companies with the students and facilitate a meaningful engagement. In 2017, when the IC3 Team conducted a survey, we found that 33 percent of the companies are happy to groom the students through internships and short sessions on careers. 76 percent of professionals are even willing to speak at events/seminars that guide students and give them a complete know-how of different career options.
It is important to note though that most Universities and companies still see the high school as primarily responsible to provide career and college counseling.
What kind of skills do you think this programme will inculcate in people who will be a part of it?
The curriculum of the “IC3 Certificate in Career College Counseling” will equip the counselor to address the three distinct areas of “What to Study”, “Where to Study” and “How To Go About It.” This will delve further into counseling pedagogies, study area preferences, global mobility statistics, technology tools for advising and application processes for different countries. Apart from the above focal areas, the program will also help counselors engage with their peers, education leaders and global industry experts.