Secondary schools are defined as schools for students who have completed primary school usually attended by children under ages 10-16 years. Secondary schools play a great and crucial role in the lives and academics of teenagers across the country. This is because, among other things, it is the place where a solid foundation is laid for teenagers in making crucial decisions about their future careers, dreams, and aspirations. Many high profile individuals in our society, due to the level of exposure they had in their secondary school days have gone ahead in life to become important change agents within society. Examples of such abound within our country of great men and women such as Pastor Adeboye, Dr. D.k Olukoya, Professor Wole Soyinka, Dr. Christopher Kolade, Ashiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Mrs. Folunrosho Alakija, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, Babatunde Fashola, Chief Mike Adenuga, Mr. Tony Elumelu, Prof. Mrs. Dora Akunyili, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Olu Jacobs & Joke Silva, Sam Adeyemi, Fela Durotoye, Prof. Grace Anele-Williams, etc. who by virtue of the quality of the education and counsels they received while in their various secondary schools, went on to pursue their God-given dreams, and today, their families, alma mater and the society at large are proud of them.
However, with the level of the decadence of values in our country today, our secondary schools are directly or indirectly affected negatively. It is on record that some schools help their students with certain malpractices like bribing invigilators during external examinations so their students can cheat during external examinations. Some of our secondary schools across the country today are dreaded centers because of the students’ involvement in occultism, hooliganism, clubbing, etc.
The number of secondary schools has increased tremendously as populations had grown over the years at a geometric rate thereby putting serious pressures on facilities and standards of education generally in the country. Lagos, for instance, has more than 650 public secondary schools as of the year 2017. This has led to a decline in the performance of students in external examinations. Experts have identified the causes of this low performance to be lack of proper teaching facilities, insufficient qualified teaching staff, lack of budget for relevant training for teachers, poverty within the society, and laziness on the part of students to mention a few. It is also on records that many public and private secondary schools in Nigeria don’t have or make provision for career counselors and programs which are important to the educational and general development of every student. I have met brilliant students who are totally lost when it comes to making a career choice. I even have a friend who had to register for GCE (General Certificate Examination) after his secondary school to get new subjects that are relevant to his choice of career despite his outstanding WASSCE (West African Senior School Certificate Examination) results. He had wanted to become an accountant only to change his mind to Electrical Electronic Engineering after secondary school. He had to abandon the ‘distinctions-filled’ O’ level results obtained in his secondary school… Thank God, he’s an engineer today but that cannot be said for other thousands of students who missed their ways.
This article seeks to guide authorities in our secondary schools on the role they need to play in assisting their students to make a fulfilling career choice.
- Make provision for Career seminars within the school calendar. School owners and authorities should inculcate career and academic excellence seminars for their students regularly and especially in their annual school calendar. This will go a long way in addressing the challenges the students might be facing. There are people and organizations that can render this service to your school at an affordable rate. I run an organization that organizes career, academic success/excellence, and leadership seminars for schools and other youth-based organizations. You can contact me or check my services here. These seminars have the potential of boosting the self-esteem of students, impacting them with success principles that ultimately challenge them to be the best in their academics and other endeavors and improves their academic grades both in internal and external examinations.
- Engage the services of a Career Coach. Engaging the services of a career coach or counselor for students is also very important. There are many trained and certified coaches or counselors who specialized in addressing any career challenges that might be facing students. School owners and government authorities would do well by hiring these experts either on a part/full–time basis. Teenagers are faced with all manners of problems and distractions in modern times and of which making a sound career choice is one of them. A career coach would address such issues either on a one-on-one or group basis which will help the students in becoming better for it. You can contact me for one-on-one career and life coaching.
In conclusion, the role of secondary schools in helping students to make meaningful career choices cannot be overemphasized as this goes a long way in improving the quality of education the students will receive and the quality of lives and roles such will live and play within the society in future. A properly guided student or youth through career, academic excellence, or leadership seminars will achieve success faster and easier than the one without any mentorship program. The school will benefit from such students and programs as their overall image will be greatly enhanced when their students become change agents within the society and making positive references to their Alma mater.
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Author, speaker, and youth development coach.