Pune: Aptitude tests and professional career guidance was sought only by students from urban areas until recently. Now, students from rural areas are also taking the tests to explore and determine their career choices. However, lack of exposure and knowledge still restricts their career choices to a few conventional ones.
Also Read: Career Counselling Part 1: Arts gaining popularity among students
Rural students drawn to conventional choices
“While we see engineering to be still the most dominating career choice among students, students from rural areas particularly choose engineering. Not only students from rural areas, but those coming to Pune for career guidance from smaller cities and towns such as Jalgaon, Nashik, Akola, Solapur, etc, too seem to be fixated more on engineering than other career choices. Parents from these areas still find a career in engineering to be the safest option as far as jobs are concerned. They don’t allow their children to do anything else, even if they want to,” said Simantinee Gokhale, a career counsellor at Thombre’s Institute of Holistic Healing India.
She said that despite colleges offering an array of courses in their own cities, students still prefer to study in engineering colleges in Pune and Mumbai.
Gokhale added, “There is a certain section of rural students who also show interest in arts because they feel this is the best stream to choose if they want to pursue competitive examinations like UPSC and MPSC. Also, many parents from backward areas insist on their daughters learning arts, as they feel that it is the best stream that will help them get education and then get married without any hindrance.”
As far as competitive exams are concerned, many rural students are drawn to these jobs, said Sheetal Bapat, Executive Director and Counsellor at the Shyamchi Aai Foundation. “However, the aptitude tests that are conducted by the Maharashtra State Board are bringing about a change at the ground level. Right from Std IX onwards, the students are given lessons in career planning. The aptitude tests are certainly giving them better insights and helping them make an informed choice,” she said.
She said admissions to vocational courses and IITs are increasing since the tests began three years ago. Students are now realising that not just marks, but interest in a particular subject too is important before finalising a career.
“Taking up arts will not lead to their daughter’s marriage in a good family is another myth nurtured by urban parents,” said Gokhale.
“In urban areas, we usually see students with average intelligence, specially those belonging to middle and upper middle class families. They are the ones who willingly go for unconventional career choices. There are so many who now take up arts, commerce, pure sciences and carve out different career paths,” she added.
Career counsellor Sanjay Kulkarni said, “Youngsters are today fascinated by the Internet so much that they have found several means of employment or income there. We have so many choices to earn through social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, etc. Further, certain careers that were earlier not looked upon highly including DJ, photography, filmmaking, etc are now gaining popularity, as the youths in cities see how lucrative and enjoyable these are. However, students must look back twice and see if they have the required potential before venturing into these careers,” he said.
Bapat said, “There was a controversy over how can many students in Mumbai be interested in the broad sector of agriculture in the board’s aptitude tests. What they fail to understand is that agriculture isn’t just farming, but also includes horticulture, research, biosciences, academics, etc, which the students may be interested in. Also, when we say fine arts, all parents can think of is painting, music, theatre. However, they don’t realise that highly lucrative and popular fields like architecture, interior designing, fashion designing,
graphic art, etc are a part of fine arts.”