As the season of entrance tests and hectic admission routines begins, the expectation of getting in a well reputed university and the dream of a perfect future kicks in. There is an unseen pressure on an average household related to career choices, which has almost become like unspoken taboos of education in society. 

One of the issues faced by students in Pakistan is ‘the communication gap’. There is a gap between professional guiding counselors, students and parents. If we analyse the statistics and the common beliefs, we will be able to identify that there is a change in thinking. An article in a leading daily titled ‘Has Pakistan over educated its middle class?’ stated “ the unemployment among Pakistani youth appears to be under reported. The current officially stated unemployment rate rests at fewer than six percent”. Another report stated that a number of doctors (mostly males) have gone out of the country. This gives credence to the monetary and physical struggles that young men and women have put into getting that white coat. Thus, these professional degrees at the end of the day do not guarantee a secure future which every individual aspires to. 

On the other hand, the classism of careers has to led to common misinterpretations in our society as all study fields other than Engineering and Medicine, categorized as Arts, are considered as immoral and corrupted by the lower strata of the economy. Thus English Literature, Political Science, etc., all come under the umbrella of Arts and are thought to be pursued only by the privileged segment of our society. 

Another struggle for students is of availing a ‘gap year’ which is not an alien concept in the West. A gap year could always be utilized in a constructive manner. According to The Magazine of Psychology, “the gap year holds incredible potential for learning and growth because of the significant cognitive and social developments that occur during the period”. 

At the other end of the fiasco, is the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) and its policies. There should be maximum two entrance tests held by the HEC, sufficient to get into the any university. Only one standard curriculum, grade nine onwards should be adopted by all instructions, whether private or government. 

Furthermore, parents need to believe more in their children, their abilities and let go of the social perceptions. Thorough research should be done to explore possible career choices. Though the most important change of thought should be letting the student be the protagonist of their life story. 

AEMON JAWAID,  

Karachi, August 10.