Career guidance in Zimbabwe

By: Edmore Munedzimwe

During my secondary school years, I used to be amazed at the lack of career information available to us students. If you didn’t know someone who was in a certain career line that interested you, then you were doomed to ignorance! All people knew were doctors, lawyers, journalists, nurses, teachers, a scientific job here and there; but in general students were walking in the dark. To the parents the formula was simple, just study hard and you will find something to do.

What we often don’t realise in life is that a goal is a big motivator for doing the things required to achieve that goal. Without a vision you will likely get tired and your efforts will perish. Most students are bored by studies because they don’t know where they are supposed to apply what they learnt. If someone has good career guidance they are bound to perform better as they focus on their ultimate goal.

The common career decision making among students is as follows:

  • Student passes O levels'
  • Student scans A level combinations that suit his/her O level passes
  • Student passes A level
  • Student looks at degree or other programs that suit his/ her A level combinations
  • Student graduates and looks for a job, this job will probably be boring and the employee will become a mediocre performer

This process is a classic example of bad decision making! Why do I say so? It’s sauntering through life taking whatever is thrown at you. Yet, very often students do not have a choice, where would they get information to decide what they want to do in life? Worse still, if you find an area of interest how do you know where you can find an institution where you can develop your career interest?

Here is the process a student should be taking:

  • Student constantly reads up on job descriptions on internet and other information sources
  • Student isolates areas of interest, then researches on degree or other academic qualifications required for such a job
  • Student identifies relevant A level qualifications needed for those degree programmes
  • Student studies O level subjects required for those A level combinations and focuses on them. Ultimately the student has generated interest in studying by doing this research

If you were looking closely, you probably noticed that the above decision making processes are exactly the opposite of each other! Every good decision begins with a goal, without a career vision a student goes through life, perhaps even passing exams, yet not learning much. As you do your career research, you will become adept at identifying and developing the skills that will be useful to you later in life. So take action now! If you are a parent or teacher then take time to give your child/ student career research assignments. If you are a student then keep a career journal, read up and record your interests and discoveries, make sure you short list institutions that offer your required study programmes.

If you have any career issues that you wish to be followed up email me at: