Career counsellors: Symposium kicks off at BNU

Saad Tariq, Nabiha Meher, Sidrah Iqbal conduct sessions on first day of the two-day event.

Aroosa Shaukat March 13, 2012


A two-day career counselling symposium started Tuesday at the Beaconhouse National University (BNU), Tarogil Campus, in collaboration with the Knowledge Factory and the British Council.

Eight parallel sessions were held on the first day of the two-day event.

Over 160 participants from across the country are attending the symposium.

According to Nadia Kamran, head of education at British Council, school and college teachers also attended the event that focused on what she described as an “often neglected area”.

Kamran said that all sessions had been planned after discussions with career counsellors.

The Knowledge Factory chief executive officer, Saad Tariq, stressed the need for more project-based learning as opposed to the prevailing ‘instructive’ learning. He, however, called for a balance between the two systems. Students need to be familiar with the ‘instructive’ system before project-based learning is incorporated into the system.

He said the idea of education as a business had adversely affected the students’ approach to learning.

Tariq welcomed the fact that many educational institutes have re-phrased the term ‘extra-curricular activities’ to ‘co-curricular activities’. Such activities, he said, help nurture young minds by encouraging students to be creative.

Nabiha Meher, also a The Knowledge Factory instructor, delivered a lecture on the importance of critical thinking. A discussion about how to ‘introduce’ critical thinking in the traditional educational system followed. In answer to a question, Meher said that it was possible to train teachers how to encourage critical thinking in students.

Fouzia Arshad from the International School of Choueifat lamented that education fairs were not common in Pakistan. While conducting a session on the admission processes in UK universities, Arshad advised counsellors to be critical of a student’s application, particularly the personal statements. Terming them as the most important part of the application, Arshad then explained the dos and don’ts of personal statements.

Sidra Iqbal, founder of the public relations company Status-pro, encouraged counsellors to fight plagiarism. “Curb [the students’] urge to [plagiarise],” said Iqbal while speaking about ‘Preparing students for tomorrow’s careers’. She urged counsellors to pay attention to the specific needs of each student.

Kamran told The Express Tribune that the British Council hoped to organise three similar symposiums across the country in 2013.

She added that the British Council was also working with the University of Warwick to develop a module for a diploma certification in career counselling.  She said that the course will be offered at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) from September.

There will be another eight sessions today (Wednesday). Fasi Zaka and Ayesha Tammy Haq are among those conducting the sessions.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2012.


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