A rebellion is rising in the school auditoriums

By Ainie Rizvi

The IC3 Movement is a long discourse unfolding in auditoriums. The discourse is directed towards establishing a robust career counselling department in high schools. It is a global educational crusade aimed at unlocking a child’s true potential via early career guidance. In effect, it’s revolutionising the whole education ecosystem by making us wonder: “Why is career counselling critical?” In a research conducted in 2017, a resounding majority of universities responded that higher education and career decisions are impacted by guidance or lack of it. Over 70% of students questioned, also shared that college counselling should be one of the functional guidance delivered in high schools. But when the high school landscape got assessed globally, the career and college counselling department was predominantly missing in most high schools.

Growing number of learners are leaving high schools like aircrafts without a navigation system. They are adept at applying knowledge and skills acquired at school. However, lack of mentorship and career guidance has led 93% of children in the age group of 14-21 to be aware of only 7% career opportunities. As appalling the figure is, it’s the jarring truth. Knowledge is power but what is more convincing is how one deals with it. Students graduate from colleges fully equipped with textbook lessons but have feeble or no sense of purpose to strive for. This in turn has given rise to career dissatisfaction and job mismatch leading to early burnouts and mid-career exhaustion.

IC3 Regional Forums are a direct consequence of the puny career counselling in high schools. Focused on bringing counselling in every school, the forums invite people from all walks of life to join the novel conversation. The tactics deployed are disruptive conversations, smashing barriers of networking and a fountainhead departure from the existing education norms. Addressed as the 2022 IC3 Regional Forum, this rebellion is a volunteer driven mission spearheaded by the IC3 Movement.

With an itinerary of 30 cities worldwide for 2022, the forums have immersed 15 cities ideologically marking a 50% feat. From the nooks of Nairobi to the mega buildings of Mumbai, from the corners of San Isidro to the lanes in Bhopal – infectious energies are witnessed at the forum’s stage. Began in 2017, the modus operandi of these forums is glazed with Gandhian philosophy. The educational nomads traverse city to city hosting inventive dialogues about the history, evolution and future of careers and colleges. Along with planned networking and dedicated help desks for career based queries, the forums offer food for all. As the procession marches forward, educators join the crusade and radicalise the collective effort. Attendees are empowered to narrate tales of success as well as the sacrifices involved.

Discourse sessions at the Regional Forum in Chennai
Juliet Arinaitwe at the 2022 IC3 Regional Forum in Nairobi

In one such incident, Ms. Juliet Arinaitwe, a dedicated teacher/counsellor from Uganda, embarked on a 15 hour bus journey to join the forum in Nairobi. She expresses gratitude and calls it her ‘act of change’ towards what IC3 stands for. Financial capital Mumbai, turned out to be the mother of all forums, with 200+ delegates joining from various universities like that of Essex, Tampa, King’s, Liverpool, etc. A symposium of students, teachers, university delegates and counsellors get aligned to mend regressive career guiding practices and pave the way for new age solutions. The highlight of these events are the diverse keynote speakers who share insights of the road less taken that shaped their noteworthy careers. Exposure to the ideas of renowned minds helps the students carve out different specialisations from existing talent and intelligence. Former captain of the Sri Lankan cricket team, Mr. Aravnida De Silva, graced the Colombo forum with a laughter riot. Chef Ranveer Brar opened the Mumbai forum with his offbeat career journey to normalise the confusion that follows before a career choice. At the Jaipure forum, Mr. Tarang Arora, the nationally accredited jewellery designer praised the concept of humanising education and not treating it as a commodity.

Mr. Aravnida De Silva gave the opening keynote address at the Regional Forum in Colombo

At the forefront is Ganesh Kohli, the founder of the IC3 Movement, welcoming the community with folded hands and bowed shoulders. His tall figure turns seemingly frail to make way for the might of teachers and counsellors who shape the lives of the upcoming generation. Passionate about teaching, his inspiration stems from a childhood teacher, Miss Molly Abraham. When young Ganesh was quizzed on his desired career, pat came a reply that he wants to be like Miss Molly. She happens to be an instrumental figure who shaped his mindset for teaching and transforming lives via career counselling. Carrying forward the software he acquired from Miss Molly, he shaped the IC3 Movement. It has become a global community present in 50+ countries with 759 changemakers who strive to nurture students’ careers. The movement is evolving by the trickle down effect of IC3 Regional Forums which are gradually melting into different cities of the world.

The forums flourish via conversations and fusion of ideas to bridge the gap between learners and their plausible career options. Learned members of the educational community come together to curate doctrinal sessions and speak of various counselling techniques. Topics such as “How to Explain Liberal Arts to Indian Parents?”, “Embracing Counselling as a Core Function in Schools”, “Recruitment Trends in Post-Pandemic Era”, etc. are crafted to address new age career solutions. Unravelling magic in schools has now found a methodology with the development of counselling laboratories. Various breakout sessions, jamming, and student performances engage the educator community with light hearted moments. A line up of panel discussions amongst a variety of speakers including student alumni establish a more holistic review of the school counselling department. Lastly, the proclivity towards constructive ideas and placing students at the centre of it is the purpose of this nomadic crusade.

It is the power of a thought that has turned this ambitious goal into reality. As the forum reaches new cities, more enthusiastic educators sign up to get skilled at counselling and establishing a fully functional career counselling cell. This poses a legitimate question to high schools who lag behind in this endeavor: “Do they not wish to activate a child’s full potential?” Provision of reflective knowledge to students, laying down various career paths and linking it to talents are the need of the hour. To prevent career accidents and save young minds from making wrong career choices, high schools must ponder upon this thought. Career satisfaction and professional contentment are a direct result of career guidance provided early in school. In case schools need guidance to achieve this, IC3 Movement invites them with folded hands to join the conversation and become a harbinger of change.

Ganesh Kohli, Founder, IC3 Movement

Ainie Rizvi is a Communications Specialist with IC3 Movement, Mumbai. She has completed her Masters in Mass Communication from Jamia Millia Islamia. She volunteers with IWWAGE to produce video stories on socio-economic development of women in India. Her areas of interest are women empowerment, children’s education and sustainable development. She is currently receiving her training in news journalism from London School of Journalism. She can be reached at ainie.rizvi@ic3movement.com


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