We have to evolve some method of helping students understand themselves and helping teachers understand the students.
There has to be a basic and fundamental change in our entire system of education, change which recognises that no matter how well a human being is educated in chemistry, physics, economics, history or literature, he remains a barbarian unless he knows something about himself.
Self-knowledge in depth which has been the forgotten factor in our educational system must become its primary focus—and this is what can be done through a programme of guidance and counselling.
Total development of the students necessitates that individual differences among students are expected, accepted, understood and planned for and all types of experiences in an institution are so organised as to contribute to the total development of the student.
All that a student needs in an educational institution is good teaching, is an exploded myth. Something much more and beyond this is needed to produce competent, mature and well-rounded citizens.
2. To help in the proper choice of courses:
Everyone knows that so far our educational system has grown up in a higgledy-piggledy fashion. The subjects which are the least wanted—humanities and the liberal arts—have been those most frequently offered and taken, both in the colleges and the universities because they were the oldest and relatively inexpensive areas of knowledge, taken because they require no specified intellectual equipment.
The problem is grave in another way also. In an article on ‘Unrest on Campus’, Piloo Modi, M.P. wrote, “Our student population reaches the university level, having made up their mind broadly about the courses that they may have a decision, which in almost all cases, is taken by unthinking and unsympathetic parents and relatives with an eye on a more lucrative profession.
It is a great tragedy when a potential poet becomes a chemical engineer… Many a mute inglorious Milton is languishing in the dark engineering world”.
This entire process of herding our youths into educational disciplines unconnected with their aptitudes needs to be checked through a scientific process of guidance and counselling for the best development of individuals and growth of society.
3. To help in the proper choice of careers:
We are living in a highly complex and rapidly changing world of work. There are changing requirements in industrial jobs, altered market conditions for professional manpower, the development of para-professional occupations and many other labour market trends which make occupational selection more difficult than ever.
The young students in colleges and universities need to be informed about various jobs and openings available to them and the requirements, responsibilities and the nature of work involved in them so that they could measure themselves upto them and develop and crystallise their occupational goals.
They need to be helped in making meaningful occupational selection and preparation for an entry into them to have a fulfilling and rewarding career.
The need for helping the students in the choice of a proper career is further enhanced due to the fact that majority of our students in colleges and universities are the first generation learners. In their family, they have no one with an experience of college or university education background to guide them in the choice of a career.
With a right to the best education available, and a wide range of jobs open to them, these students need mature help in making a judicious occupational choice. Hence the need of adequate guidance and counselling arrangement in our colleges and universities.
4. To help the students in vocational development:
The process of vocational development covers almost the entire span of life of an individual. It begins quite early in one’s life and continues till sometimes after retirement. In this process, the individual passes through various stages—growth, exploration, maintenance and decline.
Guidance services need to be provided to the colleges and universities to help the students in the process of vocational development—particularly the stages of growth and exploration, by making it possible for them to gain knowledge about themselves—their abilities, interests and needs on, the one hand and knowledge about the world of work on the other.
By providing them opportunities for self-exploration as well as exploration of the world of work while they are still in an educational institution, their transition from education to work can be facilitated.
5. To develop readiness for choices and changes to face need challenges:
In a paper entitled The Need for Counselling in Higher Education, presented at the Third International Round Table of Educational Counselling and Vocational Guidance, Miss Newsome, Counselling Officer at the University of Keels, North Strafford Shire, England, writes, “For the students of higher education the demands of life are likely to be great, in a most different way from the exacting demands of education itself.
On graduating he will be called upon to make use of the kind of person he has become as much if not more than what he has learnt in his course of study- not only to make an initial choice of what he is to do on graduating but will be called upon to change his occupation several times in a life time, Readiness for these chokes and changes is essential, not only to the student himself but to the society as a whole.
To the extent to which he is able to capitalise on his experience and face new challenges with a realistic expectation of success, to that extent he will benefit society.
If he is unable to meet the changing demands, not only of the working world but also of his other roles of life, to that extent he will be a liability and will fail to fulfil the expectations which society has for its most able people”.
Guidance services are needed to develop in the students the ability to cope with their new problems and concerns in such a way that they become more competent to meet the demands which will continue to be made upon them in the future.
6. To minimise the mismatching between education and employment and help in the efficient use of manpower:
The latest analysis (1981) done by Planning Commission reveals that the educated youth between 15 and 29 years of age constituted 11.5 per cent of the corresponding labour force but they accounted for 33.2 per cent of the total unemployment in the country.
According to the Planning Commission’s labour force projections, the total number of educated unemployed at the beginning of 1980 was estimated at 3.47 million.
If there is no further deterioration in the unemployment rate, this number was 4.66 million in 1985. And this is the challenging situation we have to face as now we have 10 million such youth.
It needs to be pointed out that the hiatus between education and employment has rarely been as wide and as disturbing as it is today.
Higher academic education, as very well pointed out by Mr. L.K. Jha, Chairman of the Economic Administration Reforms Commission, is far too general and diffused to be of practical value to the vast majority of young men and women.
Most of our young men and women have no clear objectives of career targets. They amble through university courses of learning without acquiring much knowledge of preparing themselves for an uncertain future.
Every year, our colleges and universities disgorge thousands of hopeful youngsters into the labour market who are virtually unemployable—despite their fancy degrees and diplomas.
In fact, employers often complain that of the hundreds of applications that come in response to a single vacancy, at least 80 per cent have no relevance to the job specifications whatsoever. Few students pursue their education with a clear idea as to what they would eventually like to become.
7. To motivate the youth for self-employment:
Considering the magnitude of educated job-seekers flowing into the job market in India every year, it is essential that a sizable fraction of enterprising youth is initiated into careers of self-employment.
Some arrangement needs to be instituted in the colleges and universities to identify the deserving cases fit to take up self- employment, educate them on how to proceed about the job of setting up a venture, help them through the cooperation of the concerned agencies in this sphere to prepare technically sound and economically viable projects; sponsor their cases to the banks for loan assistance and guide them to overcome the teething troubles through effective follow-up after the commencement of the venture.
8. To help fresher’s establish proper identity:
In our country the young men entering colleges and even universities are comparatively young in years.
Young adolescents as they are, they are passing through a stage between childhood and adulthood, between the morality learned as a child and the ethics to be developed by the adult. They find it extremely difficult to establish a satisfactory identity.
Such failure or delay leads to what can be called “role diffusion”. This crisis in role identity is perhaps very acute today.
The uncertainty of the future, the conflicts in languages, culture, regions, castes, etc., and the erosion of traditional values has rendered Indian youth rootless.
Guidance and counselling programme is needed to help students deal effectively with the normal developmental tasks of adolescence and face life situations boldly.
9. To identify and motivate the students from weaker sections of society:
Students from weaker sections have their own problems and needs. They experience difficulty in adjustment with the peers, teachers and the environment.
To communicate, make friends, utilise the time profitably, make the best use of lectures; make an effective use of library and other facilities available—all pose problems for them. Guidance facilities are urgently needed for such type of students to enable them to adjust and utilise the available facilities properly.
10. To help the students in their period of turmoil and confusion:
The students undergo a great deal of turmoil and searching to give meaning to their lives. They have their conflicts and anxieties.
They feel disillusioned regarding higher education. They find that colleges and universities, instead of imparting them education, just enable them to pass examinations—they feel sunk and cheated. When this education does not enable them to get immediate employment, they feel lost and bewildered.
Similarly, they have their personal conflicts and anxieties. They have the problems about their parents and family, their relations to boy and girl friends.
They have the problems of adjusting their personality to the world of people, of ethical ideas and of goals and situations.
For tackling all these situations successfully, they need someone to sort out the strands—they need some strong, tactile presence of a hand guiding the anxious and enabling them to develop realistic expectations.
11. To help in checking wastage and stagnation:
The average pass percentage at the graduate and post-graduate level is about 50 to 60. Thousands of our students, unfortunately, drop out, get pushed out, and fall out of the system. This problem is becoming more serious day by day.
There is another unfortunate side of this problem—majority of our students pass in second and third division, which is a low qualification for the world of work.
A study concludes that sizeable percentage of alumni obtaining professional qualifications have to work as clerks. The report also gives evidence of much aimless and unrealistic vocational choice.
Higher education is a very costly enterprise. Much of the money wasted on these poor and low achievers could be saved by a policy of prevention. Just as preventive medicine is sounder economically and more humane than remedial medicine, so too is preventive education more sound economically than remedial education.
There is thus a clear need for developing better professional services of a counselling kind—to check the huge wastage of student time and money and also huge state expenditure on education.
Miller, in this connection, said so well, “If one counsellor could prevent the wastage of only four student years each costing ?800 to ?1200, he would be earning his keep. Similar savings of graduate salaries foregone as a result of failure or delay would benefit student as well as the taxpayer”.
12. To identify and help students in need of special help:
There are such students as the gifted, the backward, and the handicapped who need special opportunities.
Some arrangement needs to be provided in our colleges and universities to identify them and provide them with help according to their requirements.
13. To ensure the proper utilisation of time spent outside the classrooms:
It is common knowledge that students in the colleges and universities spend two to three times as many hours outside classrooms as in them.
And the manner in which students spend their non-class hours clearly affects their success in achieving both academic competence and personal development of all types.
It is, therefore, essential that institutions of higher learning provide positive direction to students by influencing how they can use those non-class hours. The programme of guidance and counselling can meet this need.
14. To help in tackling problems arising out of student explosion:
Increased demand for higher education is outstripping the growth of facilities in the seats of higher learning.
Resultant unfortunate qualitative changes in the nature of entire educative experiences are creating innumerable problems.
The student’s population is highly heterogeneous students from a variety of sections—highly affluent and extremely poor, educated in convents and ordinary schools and colleges, rural and urban areas, students from our own country and different foreign countries are attending colleges and universities.
When students from a broad range of families and educational and social backgrounds meet in classes for instruction, in hostels for housing, in cafeterias and mess halls for eating, numerous problems crop up.
Guidance and counselling facilities need to be provided for helping them tackle these diverse and complex problems.
15. To check migration:
There is an unhealthy trend among the youth of migrating from rural to urban areas and from our own country to foreign countries.
Unless migration is checked by proper guidance and counselling, cities will continue to swallow the rural talent and foreign countries the national talent and thus render both unproductive.
16. To make up for the deficiencies of home:
A large number of students come to institutions or higher learning from homes which are not able to assist them adequately in dealing with their life problems.
Because of various factors such as rapid industrialisation, political and social changes in the occupational structure of the country and the growing complexity of life there are greater pressures and strains in the family.
The home is not able to provide the kind of support and help it did in earlier days. Also, there is a gap in the range of sympathetic adults who could be turned to in need, which formerly was filled by adult brothers and sisters, friendly aunts and grandparents when communities and families were more intimate.
Also our homes are not equipped to be the source of information concerning the qualifications required for different kinds of courses or careers.
Such information can come from agencies which make a full time job of supplying adequate and up-to-date materials. Similarly, home is not equipped for studying future labour shortages and the labour supply and demand situation.
Besides, many parents are not trained for helping their grown up children to develop sound study techniques, and obtain reliable information in matters of sex etc.
Seth (1962) collected a sample of students at Allahabad University. The parents were indicated as the most usual source of help. Forty per cent of student respondents said that they could not discuss their problems with their parents. There is strong evidence that professional help could be well-used.
17. To minimise the incidence of indiscipline:
Majority of our students lack a sense of direction, a sense of purpose and a sense of fulfilment. They indulge in destructive activities which lead to social damage and loss.
This educated proletariat, so to say, is a time bomb in the heart of the nation that can explode any time if immediate care is not taken to inactivate it.
Adequate guidance and counselling facilities is the only answer—to help and guide the youth to worthwhile channels and help them realise the goal of optimum academic, personal and social development.