On a Monday morning in May saw us drive to the Nalbari district of Assam. The weather Gods were kind, providing a cloud cover and showering us with short spells of rain, a big relief from the scorching heat of north & east India. The Brahmaputra, a snow fed river was full and flowing magnificently. The only disconnect was the muddy color of the sky. Had the skies been clear & blue they would have reflected the hopeful minds of the young boys and girls we were slated to meet.
By the time we reached the Gramya Vikas Manch office, our minds were eagerly anticipating the daylong events planned at the venue. The ‘connect’ was at last happening live or in today’s technological- post pandemic terms “Offline”!
As we walked into the designated hall, there were knowing whispers and twitching smiles of recognition amongst the 65 odd students gathered there; after all these students had been watching our career guidance show, “Jiban Jatra” online all these months & we pretty much qualified as being familiar faces.
We broke the ice by playing a small game aptly titled- GOAL that led the children to think of their ambitions, abilities & their goals. We could literally read on their faces the thousands of questions that were racing through their minds. Questions related to which road they should take, reminded us all of the conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in the story of Alice In Wonderland. We sure hoped to help them answer the question on where they wanted to get to & also to encourage them to “walk long enough”.
A few quick surveys that followed, went a long way in ascertaining the impact the current education system was having on the students while understanding their idea of success as well as the career paths that they were inclined to follow. To say that the results were heartening, is an understatement. Let us look at some of the findings:
A whopping 86.8% students felt that they enjoyed the education being meted out to them. A lot of credit here needs to be given to the teachers who offer personalized attention & have close family like bond with students. If anything, this goes on to prove the difference that passionate teachers can make in the lives of their students.
While it was heartening to see that a large majority of students wanted to follow their dreams & passions in choosing their careers, a massive 86.8% of students were still being driven by chance as opposed to being able to map their abilities with the career options available.
On being asked what success meant to them, while having a job with a good salary was the response of many, this response was trumped by the definition of success as having a job that matches their ability. A promising trend, indeed.
Last but definitely not the least when asked which career options they would like to choose, there were as many as 37 different and widely diverse careers that stood out. In fact, the visit to Nalbari was a good assessment of the impact that “Jiban Jatra” , the career show that Rukmani Trust had put together, was having on young minds. Through its 16 episodes, it has exposed the students to many careers – conventional, non conventional as well as new age. It has also allowed students to interact with professionals from different domains, hear their life stories & be inspired by their journeys.
As we continue to handhold children in rural Assam to explore their potential, we invite you to participate & share your love with the future generations and see them rise up to their full potential- a gratifying sight indeed!