My cousin is a software engineer but he prefers to teach mathematics as a school teacher instead of
working specifically in his engineering field. He lost interest in engineering, somehow, and actually,
he says he was never really interested in that field. But he didn’t want to upset his parents so he
went along with their choice for a prestigious field. Also, in other countries, young students take
subjects they are not really interested in, but because parents want them to do it, because it is
prestigious, or because it is lucrative. Today, there are few skillful engineers who can invent new
things, or improve existing, older inventions. Our engineers work as technicians, and at junior levels
almost the same as labors.
Unfortunately, there is no tradition in our country to ask students about his or her interests,
what they want to study. Besides, the young students may not quite know what they are really
interested in, being used to listen to their parents and siblings. Yes, if one has become a doctor
another one should become an engineer or lawyer, and maybe a girl should become a dentist. Well,
this would all be in good middle-class families, because other families cannot afford such long
degrees for all their children.
In Pakistan, many people generally know about two professions or degrees, one is medicine
(MBBS) and the other is engineering. If you can’t make merit into MBBS, then you will definitely go to
the engineering profession. The problem is that after intermediate when students have to choose
their profession so everyone gives you their opinion about what to do, yes, even if they have little
education themselves, or even if they did, they may not know too much about what is needed in the
modern world and new professions which have a lot of scope in future. We should also know that the
degree course is just the beginning of a career since much of the actual skills and competence are
learnt on the job, indeed so in practical fields like engineering.
Often, when parents choose degrees for their children, they don’t really think about the
education and learning; they rather focus on the title and job opportunities. But we also know that
our education system is not very good, not at school and not at university, although t varies. Yet, the
education young people get includes little practical work and problem solving. Often, it is about
learning by heart and passing exams and tests, and also, filling the attendance sheet. I believe such
an education system is not really good for learning and for students becoming creative, imaginative
and both theoretical and practical in their minds.
So, we hardly listen to or see new inventions from our engineers. It should be a matter of
ambition and passion, as we all know Arfa Karim has said. She did not attend any university and
could not get a proper, formal degree. However, she invented new computer software because of
her passion. If she had had a formal degree, maybe she could have done even more – or maybe a
formal degree also stifles a person’s imagination and creativity?
It is a fact that there is little career counseling available. We don’t have many institutions
which provide career counseling and advice to young students. It should be the responsibility of
schools and colleges to guide their students about new professions according to their interests. After
matriculation, many students don’t know even about the subjects they could study, and professions
that are less known. For example, after the pre-medical courses, there are more than 50 professions
which you can choose according to your interest but most students don’t know other
is so hard that we often listen to news about the suicides of MBBS students. degrees than
MBBS. So in this way, they chose their field according to the suggestion of their parents, and maybe
even teachers, who don’t know about the modern world and the scope in new fields. (Email:….)
Albeit MBBS is such a good degree leading to a good profession, the study years are very
hard and even afterward, one has to upgrade knowledge constantly. Some students get very
frustrated during their study years and wish they never began pursuing such a degree. We even
hear about suicides among students.
At this time of year, students are applying to different universities to get admission so it is the
time for the parents to think about their children’s best, if they don’t want to lose their children, or
rather, if they want to see their children study something they enjoy and are good at. The young
students may not quite know either, as I mentioned earlier, and even if they change courses, that
should not be seen as a disaster either. Every larger institution ought to have counselling staff, and
ordinary secondary school and university teachers should have some knowledge about counselling
and career choices, too.
I believe that in future we will all be more imaginative when we choose careers, and also not
feel too much bound to what others tell us to do. But we should also realize that it is not always easy
to decide what to do either. Besides, most of us are not only good at one thing; we can be good at
many things. It is also a fact that during a working life of 30-40 years, most people do different things
even if they remain in their own profession.
I began my article referring to an engineer who had become a secondary school teacher
rather than staying in the field he had received his degree. I would like to mention that to be a school
teacher, at any level, is indeed a very important job. It is not paid well enough, but I believe that
teaching is indeed essential, but not very easy, but then it can also be very rewarding.
From Mandi Bahauddin