Parents Encouraged To Support Children's Career Choices

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Spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education, Elijah Mhlanga, has called on parents to provide unconditional support to their children when it comes to their career choices, especially in the changing education landscape.


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Department of Basic Education (DBE) Spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, is encouraging parents to communicate, listen and support their children when it comes to making a career choice. 

Mhlanga received a message from a Grade 12 learner attending a school he spoke at last year, who was seeking advice and motivation; in the message, the learner describes how unsupported she feels due to her family's disapproval of her chosen career path. 

The learner, now a first-year student at Nelson Mandela University, chose to pursue a qualification and career in Media Communication and Culture. 

"As a Communications student, my family [is] not happy with the course I am doing," reads Mhlanga. "They say I won't get a job; and other students as well are saying that I am wasting my time. But I applied for it because I'm passionate about it, and I also want to be successful, just like you [Mhlanga]." 

He goes on to reflect on his own schooling days, particularly when he was about to exit high school and enter into tertiary education. According to Mhlanga, his family wanted him to pursue teaching, which he refused. 

Instead, before the DBE Spokesperson became the DBE Spokesperson, he chose to study Journalism, and went on to work in various fields of media, ranging from radio and television, to the print industry. 

It is not uncommon for parents and learners to butt heads over a future career path. Some parents may envision their child pursuing a career where job stability is guaranteed or the job is considered to be noble and high-ranking, but the child has a completely different vision for themselves. 

Mhlanga says that these disagreements are bound to take place, but once the child has made up their mind, the parents should guide and support their decisions. 

"As a parent, as a guardian, your duty is to support and guide your learner; but there comes a point when your children will also come with their proposals that [they] believe will work for them, particularly when it comes to careers. Some of us know exactly what we want to do, and once we have made a choice, please support it," advises Mhlanga. 

The DBE has introduced a number of new subjects into the school curriculum which open doors to new career paths that parents might be unfamiliar with. 

The education landscape and the job market is rapidly changing, and children need advice when it comes to figuring out their career opportunities. Parents are in a unique position of influence in their child's life, yet many parents don't know how to effectively guide their children. 

Mhlanga says the intention of the Department is to expand the curriculum offering, so that children can have more options that keep up with the changing world of work.

"There's something called the Three Streams Model, where the Department is trying to say to young people and their parents that there's: the academic stream, the technical stream and the vocational stream; which means now there are three pathways you can follow as a young person," he explained.

Each stream has its own set of subjects, continues Mhlanga, so there is a possibility that a child can go home and say to their parents that they would like to do Aviation Studies, Marine Sciences or even Upholstery; subjects which parents weren't introduced to when they were in school. 

Discussions over where the child might be heading, career wise, should start around Grade 9, concluded Mhlanga, so that learners can have a clear idea on which subjects they should choose for Grade 10 -12. 

 

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