Today, Christina and I had an interesting conversation with a young man who has just finished studying Computer Science for the past three years.
We were a bit surprised when he mentioned that, even though he is now a degree holder and is looking for a job, he does not want to work in IT. In fact, he told us that he does not like Computer Science a lot.
Naturally we asked him why he chose to study Computer Science given that he had other areas of interest and his answer was revealing: “No one helped me choose and I chose badly!”
A lack of guidance
The professional world is becoming more and more complex. New jobs and career possibilities are being created on a daily basis. Unfortunately, young people are not being advised properly:
- Some parents decide for their children without asking them what they are passionate about. I feel that some of the lawyers, doctors, accountants, and, now, finance people and computer scientists are not very happy in their profession. Of course, they might be getting a nice enough salary but nothing beats doing something which you like.
- The career guidance service, which exists in principle in secondary schools, is outdated. As I wrote above, new jobs and career possibilities are being created on a daily basis. It is difficult to keep abreast of those changes. I can imagine that some of the career guidance officers (who have mostly never worked in the private sector) are quite at a loss when having to explain to young people the career prospects in, for example, statistical analysis, digital marketing, game design or artificial intelligence.
Education can be confusing
Education comes from a Latin word which means “going outside” metaphorically, in the sense that education should be about discovering new and interesting things every day.
Unfortunately, in Mauritius, education mostly means staying inside and getting a degree. My point is that a lot of young people go through years and years of schooling without ever uncovering what they really like and/or what they are very good at. Of course, this becomes problematic when they have to choose subjects at Form IV, Form VI and at university.
Mauritius is a small country and we cannot afford to have unhappy and unproductive lawyers, doctors, accountants, finance people and computer scientists instead of happy and productive statistical analysts, digital marketers, game designers and AI specialists (for example).
This needs to change. What do you think?