Dr.V.S.Ravindran is a renowned Counseling Psychologist, Career Counsellor and Counsellor- Trainer. In an in depth interview he told so many things about career counselling. He has been involved in counseling, counsellor training and teacher education over two decades. He is the man behind starting counseling programs for many reputed schools and other educational institutions in the country. Presently he holds many important positions in the field of counseling as well as education. He is Director of Institute of Counselor Training, Research and Consultancy (ICTRC). He is also the Chief Mentor of Eduexcel and Chief Consultant of The Helping Hand. Apart from this Dr.Ravindran is also associated with N.C.E.R.T., CBSE, Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navodayas, UGC Academic Staff College A.M.U., Delhi Police Foundation for De-addiction, National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science, Government of J&K and many more. Dr.Ravindran’s contributions are not limited to students and educational institutions. He is also associated with corporate houses like NTPC, Indian Oil Corporation, Maruti, and Hero Honda etc as a trainer. Dr.Ravindran has committed his life for a single mission that is to bring the benefits of counseling and guidance to every student in the country.
He spoke to S.S.Dogra ( Mg. Editor , Dwarka Parichay ) about career counselling concept in India. Excerpts:
Q. What is the concept of Career Counseling in India?
Ans: In India Career counseling is still limited to providing career information. In the real sense Career Counseling is helping the student in understanding himself, his abilities, aptitudes, interests and personality and guiding him to choose a career in accordance with his strengths and limitations.
Q. Whether the parents are aware of it? Compare the ratio of rural as well as urban segment.
Ans.Only a very small segment of parents are aware of the concept of career counseling even in the urban areas. In the rural areas it is almost negligible.
Q. Who are the much worried parents- Business class or service class or self-employed?
Ans: Mainly the service class parents are most worried or concerned about the career of their children. Self-employed professionals are also much concerned. However, the Business class parents are not seriously anxious, but want their children to have some qualifications and training which will enable them to expand the family business.
Q. Who should seek career counseling, ie. At what standard, after 10th or 12th?
Ans.The students should get career counseling at least in class 10th because after that they have to choose their subjects in class 11th. Otherwise the students will choose subjects depending on the opinions of friends and relatives etc. which may not be scientific. They will need career counseling again in class 12th to narrow down their options and make a final decision.
Q. What are the qualities of a good career counselor?
Ans: There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding on this topic. Now what is happening is, some one who has read a few books on careers start calling himself a Career Counselor and begins to give advice to students and parents as to what to do and what not to do. This is absolutely wrong. A Career Counselor must have professional qualifications and training and experience. A Post Graduation (MA) in Psychology and a Professional Diploma in student counseling is the best combination. However, a PG in a related area like M.Ed., M.Sc. Child Development, M.S.W. plus a professional diploma in student counseling will do. As regards the qualities of good counselor, there are many. He should be a patient listener, empathetic, warm, well informed, impartial, and trustworthy and so on.
Q. What is the expectation of parents from the career counselor?
Ans This is a very general question. The expectations of parents vary depending on their level of awareness. Some parents simply want the counselor to convince their children to select a career that the parents think is the best for them. However, a small percentage of parents want the counselor to help them to choose a career in accordance with their strengths and limitations.
Q. When a parent should take guidance from career counselor?
Ans: When the child is in class 9th or even 8th parents should start reading about careers and talk to career counselors. This will make them well informed. At the time of subject selection after class 10th it is desirable both parents and child visit a career counselor. Again when the child is in class 12th one more visit to the counselor will be helpful. Moreover, whenever there is a conflict between the parents and child about career choice the role of the career counselor is invaluable.
Q. What are the fees/charges of a career counselor?
Ans: The consultation charges of a career counselor vary depending on the qualifications, training, experience and popularity of the career counselor. It will also depend on whether any psychological tests are conducted or not. The charges may range from Rs.300/- to Rs.3000/-
Q. Name a few career counselors/ institutes who can guide the students.
Ans: This I cannot or will not do because I am not supposed to promote a particular individual or institution.
Q.What is future of career counseling in India? What are the employment opportunities for a career counselor?
Ans: Career Counseling has great future in this country. Job opportunities and self-employment opportunities are unlimited for a professionally trained Career Counselor. There is a big shortage of professionally trained Career Counselors in India. Unfortunately, the facilities for training are very limited. The Govt. is doing what is possible. But it is like a drop in the ocean. The Organization that I am heading now, ICTRC (Institute of Counselor Training, Research and Consultancy) was founded in the year 1992 to fill the vacuum that existed in counselor training in this country. We are trying to equip the untrained counselors as well as train new ones. We are also training teachers as counselors.
Q. Whether an Education/ Career Fair can shape / guide students for better career?
Ans: Majority of the Education/ Career Fairs are marketing gimmicks. Therefore, the information displayed there are not impartial. However, students may visit these fares because it will widen their career information horizon. But students should take their decisions only after proper thought. They should not be carried away by the sales talk of the representatives of the institutions.
Q.What is the response of students about career counseling?
Ans: The response of students to career counseling is overwhelming. As a result of overload of complicated information and lack of proper guidance students are baffled and confused. They need the help of an impartial professional career counselor.
Q. How long have you been in this profession? What is your experience?
Ans: I have been involved counseling and counselor-training for more than two decades. My feeling is that a lot more has to be done. There is a great need for creating awareness among students, parents, teachers, administrators and authorities about the need and importance of Career Counseling.
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