Education and Career Guidance (ECG) is about engaging, inspiring and challenging our children to develop aspirations and plan proactively for their future. Hope and positive thinking could motivate them to learn continuously and work for a better life.
As parents, we want the best for our children and this includes helping them discover their interests, develop their strengths and guiding them to make informed education and career choices to positively impact their future.
What Parents Can Do
Spend time to discover and understand our children’s strengths and interests through various activities to help them identify their preferences in working with people, things, information or ideas.
Find out what they like:
- Are they keen on sports, performing arts or music?
- Do they love working with people?
- Do they like to create objects with his or her hands?
- Are they problem- solvers?
- Do they like to take charge and lead others?
Show Concern and Support:
Show our children how much we care about their future and our willingness to support them.
There is wisdom in the quote - “I don’t care how much you know, until I know how much you care!” Demonstrate to our children that we would like to discuss their education plan and tentative career preferences with them. Avoid dictating or directing their plans without going through a process of careful discussions.
Engage in Discussions:
Talk to our children about their dreams for the future. Keep an open mind and allow them the freedom to dream and explore their educational goals.
Children who believe in themselves will be more engaged and proactive in finding out about their career interests and planning for their educational pathways, thereby promoting more favourable outcomes in life.
Some of the common concerns that children may have include:
- Not being sure if they should follow their dreams
- Worrying about making wrong choices
- A lack of knowledge about possible education or career paths that may be available
Some suggestions for career-specific information that could be discussed:
- Main job responsibilities
- Entry level requirements
- Education and training required
- Career prospects
- Personality traits associated with the jobs in the career sector
Introduce a variety of occupations to our children and help them discover more about the different occupations, and the corresponding educational pathways that lead to these occupations.
Where can I find this information? The print or online media? Resource persons in the school or within close relatives?
- A valuable resource is the MOE ECG portal, ‘www.ecareers.sg’
- Personal accounts will be given to pupils from Primary Five.
- Do navigate the portal together with your children. This experience will provide you and your child with a great opportunity for gaining a better understanding of his/her interests, abilities, future aspirations and an appreciation of both the educational and occupational landscapes.
- Avoid relying only on your own past experience or knowledge as education policies may have changed and new pathways may have been created. It is important to stay updated with the current changes in the landscape.
We can also consider the following when helping our children decide on what they would like to do in the future
Consider their interests. Be it sports, performing arts, music, technology or a specific subject, find out if the school offers activities or programmes that can help them develop these interests:
- Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs)
- Special programmes that the schools runs (Language Programmes, Art and Music Programmes etc)
2. School Environment
Find a school with an environment that will both motivate and provide opportunities to broaden their horizons. Some things to consider include:
- Ethos of the school
- Culture of the school
- Resources to cater for students with special needs (physical and sensory)
3. Career Aspirations and Abilities
Different occupations require different sets of skills that can be acquired through various educational pathways. Explore the options to help them prepare for that career. Some things to take note of when mapping out the educational plan include:
- Our children’s learning styles
- The strengths and focus of different schools and types of institutions
- Progression opportunities offered by the qualifications to be obtained along the way
Provide opportunities (like workplace visits and volunteer work) and resources (such as books and enrichment programmes) that can support their aspirations and broaden their horizons.
Work Closely with Schools:
Discuss our children’s education and career aspirations with their teachers. Teachers would be in a good position to offer perspectives on our children’s strengths and passion and to guide the educational planning process.
Decision-making and Action-planning:
Ask our children what they want to achieve and set some goals. Help our children come up with a plan on how they can attain these goals. Review these goals periodically to keep them motivated and on-track. Make adjustments along the way, with an open mind for Plan B.
Guiding our children in planning their education paths could potentially be a great opportunity for meaningful parent-child bonding. The decisions that could be made may:
- nurture our children’s passion for learning;
- influence the type of educational experience our children will have;
- prepare our children for the next stage of education and future career directions; and
- shape our children’s character and self-direction for future learning and training
When parents, communities and schools work together, they can successfully provide children with comprehensive information to explore the world of work and ultimately, make informed choices about their future.