In a first-of-its-kind survey, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has found that around 9% of municipal school students are interested in agriculture as a profession, followed by defence and police services. The BMC is providing career counselling to its Class IX and X students and as part of this, it undertook a survey to gauge their career preferences. It has also put students in touch with counsellors directly for guidance.

The BMC runs primary, secondary and higher secondary schools in the city, catering to about four lakh students. Last year, it tied up with a non-governmental organisation called Antarang Foundation to provide career counselling and guidance to Class IX students. Since then, it has been providing counselling to 12,500 students who are now in Class X to help them decide on a career. As part of the sessions, they undertook a survey of all students to gauge their aptitude.

“We provided students information on nearly 60 fields, including mainstream ones like engineering. We gave them various questionnaires to assess their inclination. It is heartening to see that urban children have picked a somewhat rural profession. Many are driven towards national security as well,” said Mahesh Palkar, chief education officer, BMC. Mr. Palkar was referring to the survey results that showed 9.46% students wanted to become agriculturalists, followed by an interest in the armed forces, police services, paramedical services and accountancy.

The counselling involved three hour-long sessions with the students, five days a week. Students were divided into groups of 40 and counselled about their career choices. They were given relevant material about fields of their choice. In the second stage, parents were involved in the sessions, after which students were given a report of their aptitude.

When students go to Class X, two more sessions are held to gauge their aptitude and note changes. They are counselled for exam stress. The sessions end before the Class X final exams and a compiled report is presented to students. They are also given the counsellors’ contact details. The next batch will be surveyed from August 6 in 210 civic schools.

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