The career planning needs of senior public secondary school learners in Gaborone, Botswana / Nnananyana K.E. Mekgwe
Mekgwe, Nnananyana Khutsafalo Erminah
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Career choice is one of the most daunting decisions one has to make, since it has implications that affect a variety of aspects in one’s life. For adolescents, career decision–making is even more challenging because it is done at a time when adolescents are going through a period of identity formation, and when their core personalities have not yet been fully formed. It is therefore essential to provide systematic career guidance programmes that will assist adolescents in their career development in order to empower them to make realistic career choices. The school, as a place where adolescents spend most of their time, can be used as a vehicle to promote meaningful career development amongst adolescent learners. However, the contribution by adolescents themselves in determining the appropriate content and career guidance services/activities that will best address their needs is vital. Senior secondary school learners, in particular, are in a position to articulate their career planning needs and to identify the deficits in existing career guidance programmes. The situation in Botswana where career guidance forms only a quarter of the public secondary school guidance and counselling programme, which, with all its four components, is allocated only one 40 minute–period per week deserves special attention. Hence, this study set out to determine: * the career planning needs of Senior Public Secondary School Learners in Gaborone, Botswana as articulated by the learners themselves; * the extent to which the current career guidance programme in Senior Public Secondary Schools meets the needs of the learners. A mixed methods design, consisting of the use of a questionnaire to collect the quantitative data and a qualitative method in the form of focus–group interviews, was used to collect the data for the study. The findings of the study highlight several challenges which hamper the provision of a systematic career guidance programme to the learners, which include limited time, lack of trained personnel and less than optimal career service delivery practices. The lack of key career exploration activities in schools, such as the use of internet resource materials and career video/audio tapes, job–shadowing, career field–trips/excursions and, in some cases, career talks, results in learners experiencing unmet career needs. This situation affects the extent to which the curriculum in place addresses the career planning needs of the learners. No significant differences were noted in the needs of the learners according to gender. The study reveals that the Career Guidance Programme provides the relevant theoretical frame–work for providing the necessary assistance to learners to make informed career decisions. However, the actual implementation of the programme in the different schools leaves a lot to be desired, with several learning outcomes for the career guidance programme in both Form 4 and Form 5 not being achieved. The effectiveness of the annual career fair as a major method of disseminating career information to learners also came into question since most learners expressed having gained minimal benefit from it.
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