Most of the 2008 Primary Leaving Examinations â€œstarsâ€ who appeared in the press said they wanted to be doctors and engineers, although at least two said they wanted to be a priest and nun respectively.
The latter must have been impressed by people in those vocations, to pursue a similar path.
The idea of pupils stating at primary school level what profession they want to be is recent. Few pupils in my time (1970) had clear ideas of the profession they wanted to pursue.
Some had aspirations of becoming air hostesses for girls, or pilots for boys. As far as I know, none of them ever became any of these things, although I know someone who said she wanted to become a doctor and did so a decade later.
Having aspirations is normal and healthy for children. But as parents and teachers encourage children to have aspirations for careers, they should also help them to widen their dreams.
It might be a good idea when they are in secondary school, for instance, to encourage them to visit some of the places where the professionals in question work and see them in action.
Alternatively, professionals could be invited to the school to speak to the pupils.
A pupil may want to become several things. When you read about childrenâ€™s aspirations, you notice how narrow their knowledge about professions is.
For instance, â€˜doctorâ€™, â€˜engineerâ€™ and â€˜lawyerâ€™ are popular professions. However, Uganda is also in acute need of dentists, opticians, radiographers and pharmacists.
We also need forensic scientists especially in the fight against crime. Children are not going to like science unless the subject is made interesting. They must be able to see science at work.
Too much emphasis on professions can get in the way and purpose of education. There is a lot of talk about producing job-makers instead of job-seekers. Job-makers in any society are always few; the majority are job-seekers.
Sometimes we spend time being employed in an organisation before we strike off on our own. Isnâ€™t this the case for instance with teachers that start their own schools?
Entrepreneurship and creativity are a combination of personality, skill and creativity.
The writer is
a chaplain at
the University of Leicseter, Uk
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