The newer concept of society is that of a group wherein no one should have rights or privileges that he has not earned or that are denied to any other worthy member of a world fellowship. The realisation of so broad a goal of world democracy cannot be achieved entirely through the efforts of world leaders. More and more, people—no matter how narrow and limited their sphere of experience—are beginning to recognise their personal responsibility for effecting desirable social changes. Unfortunately, however, some individuals still seem unable or unwilling to accept this responsibility. The climatic conditions growing-out of world unrest affect practically every phase of human experience.
Adjustment to or improvement of the many current challenging situations is in part an individual responsibility which can be met by some people with a minimum of outside assistance. For others, effective counselling services should be available to prevent their becoming the victims of social, economic, and political changes. But there are persons who advocate as follows: “What is the use of guidance and counselling—particularly educational and vocational—in an economy where labour is too abundant and jobs and opportunities are too few? What is the use of this service in a country which is groaning already under the weight of unemployment of the educated?” These are the oft-repeated questions asked when a case is built up for the introduction of guidance and counselling in our colleges and universities. The logic in these arguments against the introduction of guidance and counselling is too simple to be true. It needs to be remembered that guidance and counselling have a challenging role to play in every developing economy, much more so if it is labour intensive. Selection of a job from a multitude of alternatives, although a very important objective of guidance and counselling, is not the be-all and end-all of guidance and counselling. The core aim of these services, let us remember, is to help our job-seeking youth from realistic career notions, in conformity with their capacities, aptitudes and social settings, so that they do not, in their adult life, end up as career ‘failures’. The fact that wrong career decisions eventually make a big drain both on the emotional health of the individuals and the productivity of the society can hardly be disputed.
Therefore, helping the youth to build up a desirable self-concept to achieve an ever larger measure of self-appraisal and choose a proper career line is the need of the hour—and.provisions of guidance and counselling service is our immediate requirement. The guidance and counselling service worth its name should enlighten the job-seeking youth on “new” careers coming up on the job horizon. Whether the economy is labour intensive or the one characterised by over-all man-power dearth, so long as it continually organises developmental endeavours and strives for economic self-sufficiency, it will bring about inevitable, permeating and permanent changes in its occupational matrix. In a developing economy, such as ours, new explorations are constantly attempted, social values gradually change, scientific break-through eventually revolutionises consumption and productive patterns; new industries spring up, technological applications modify production process; consumer tastes are shaped and cultivated.
All these growth-induced changes in the society accelerate the demand for the hitherto ‘unheard’ of skills, at the same time eclipsing certain traditional occupations. It is very necessary that some arrangement is there in our educational institutions, particularly the institutions of higher education, which keeps track of these changing facets in the occupational matrix and educates the youth appropriately and adequately. Hence the need of guidance and counselling even in a surplus economy as ours! In colleges and universities, we deal with the development and growth of the nation’s greatest asset—its youth. Neither India nor any other country—big or small—can endure or prosper with inadequate and third rate out-dated educational experiences for its youth.
And we cannot, rather should not; rest with the place where we stand as far as the quality of products of our higher education is concerned. We have to make concerted all-round efforts to make our students fit enough to play the vital role in nation-building. The myth that our college and university students do not have any problems or “all that is needed to set everything right is good teaching” or that services as guidance and counselling are “frivolous additions” to higher education, stand exploded today. In fact, there is a great truth in the words of Conant that on the success or failure of our guidance and counselling programme hangs, in all probability, the success or failure of our system of education.
It is high time we realise this hard reality.