Comprehensive Career Guidance Program for Grades 1-12 Schools: An International Application
By Mauli Mahajan
A comprehensive career guidance program is a significant guidance and counselling program that provides not only the structure for all related activities and services, but also for the planning and implementation that are required to serve students, teachers, parents, school administration and the community effectively (Lapan, Gysbers, Stanley and Pierce 2012). The program is developmental and inclusive, where all students are assisted as per their individual needs to make progress toward university admissions. It is developed through a systematic process of planning, designed according to the school curriculum and student needs, implemented with contribution from qualified and passionate personnel, followed by feedback through evaluation, resulting in further engineering on the basis of the analysis of the feedback (Gysbers, 2011).
Components of the Program
Keeping this in view, the career department at GEMS Modern Academy has rolled out a comprehensive career guidance program for grades 1 to 12. GEMS Modern Academy is affiliated with The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (Grade 1 to 12), and the International Baccalaureate Organization, Geneva, Switzerland (Grade 11 & 12). It has been rated an ‘Outstanding’ school, the highest ranking, by the Dubai School Inspection Bureau, Government of Dubai from 2010 to date.
There are four major components to the program: 1) Input through Curriculum, 2) Individual Planning, 3) Responsive Services and 4) Organizational Support (Gysbers, Stanley, Kosteck-Bunch, Magnuson & Starr 2011.). Associated activities are designed with the age, grade and need of the students in mind. Most of the activities were pilot tested before implementation. For example, activities such as psychometric test, individual counselling and university applications preparation were addressed separately and differently for students with special needs where more time and support were provided.
1. Input through Curriculum provides guidance and counselling in a systematic way with the purpose of creating student awareness, skill development, and application. It is built in the curriculum and is implemented by the teachers and the career team through activities and programs such as:
- Classroom presentations
- Self-awareness and exploration exercises
- Career awareness and exploration tool- (i.e. Paws in Jobland and Choices360).
2. Individual Planning assists individual students to systematically plan, monitor and manage their academic and career journey with the purpose of helping them draw and work through their individual career plan. Unlike the Input through Curriculum, this portion of the program is implemented by the school career team, parents, students, corporate and university representatives, school administration and professionals from the field. Activities may include:
- Subject selection orientation
- Accelerator program
- Profile building activity
- Psychometric testing
- Shadowing with a parent
- Internship program
- Entrance Examination Prep
- Career Fair
- Field and Expedition Trip
- University Tours
- University applications
- Career talks by professionals.
3. Responsive Services address the academic and career needs and concerns of students with the purpose of guiding, intervening, and showing them possible directions consistent with their unique individual profile. This portion of the comprehensive program is implemented by the career team with support from parents, students, teacher and school supervisors through activities and programs such as:
- Individual Counselling sessions
- Psychometric Testing
- Group sessions
- Curriculum orientation
- Subject selection
- University Tours.
4. Organizational Support includes activities and services for teachers, staff and school administration, with the purpose of providing support to the career guidance program to ensure its successful execution. It is implemented by the career team with support from all the stake holders through activities and programs such as:
- Professional development workshops
- Workshops for all stakeholders
- Networking activities
- Research and publications.
Benefits to Schools
The comprehensive career guidance program as implemented in India has many benefits. The program enhances students’ social, personal and career development by creating self-awareness and knowledge. It improves students’ sense of direction by providing assistance in planning, monitoring and managing their academic and career journey, It helps to develop individually unique plans, enhances students’ self-efficacy by providing exploration opportunities, encourages positive cooperative relations among school personnel through team effort, and puts career and guidance in the mainstream of the total education system by providing a clearly defined organization structure (Gysbers, et al., 2011).
All the activities associated with the comprehensive program were implemented at the academically appropriate level of the students. While the drive and development of this career guidance program may have been provided by the author, its implementation and further improvement depended significantly on the school team, including career counsellors, teachers and the principal. The collaboration involved is extremely essential for implementing the program. Parents and community professionals are part of this important resources, where many associated activities were developed and linked. We hope that student’s grow though the career guidance program towards achieving the career goals they have self-identified.
Gysbers, N. C., Stanley, J. B., Bunch, L. K., Magnuson, C. S., and Starr, M. F. (2011). Missouri comprehensive guidance and counseling program. Warrensburg, Missouri: Copyright of Missouri Center for Career Education, University of Central Missouri.
Lapan, R. T., Gysbers, N. C., Stanley, B. and Pierce, M. E. (2012). Missouri Professional School Counselors: Ratios Matter, Especially in High-Poverty Schools. Professional School Counseling, 16(2), 108-116.
Schaefer, M. B., Rivera, L. M. and Ophals E. (2010). Creating a Collaborative Career Development Program for Middle Grades Students. Middle School Journal, 42(2), 30-38.
Dr. Mauli Mahajan earned her master’s in school counselling from University of Scranton, PA and Ph.D. from M.S. University, India, with a specialization in Psychology. In her current role as a head of the career department at GEMS Modern Academy, India, she designed developed, and successfully implemented the comprehensive career guidance program for K-12. Dr. Mahajan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org