The Guest of Honour, Ms Raja M Kausalya Devi Aparao, Former Honorary Consul for France in Chennai in her Address, at the Exhibition cum Orientation Program on Kanavu Mei Padum Paadhai on Monday, the 13th November 2017 to student delegates from class 8 to class 12 from schools in Chennai stated that in a nation that has traditionally viewed high school graduation as an opportunity for some, many parents and educators may view college and career readiness as political rhetoric. Its time for teachers, administrators, and school boards to begin having this conversation about what it means to be college and career ready. The changes will not come from speeches, new standards, new assessments, or hoping that more students will graduate from high school. Change will come when educators define college and career readiness and begin to ask, “What is my role?
Ms Valli Arun, President, Springboards stated in her Address that the meaningful poem by Mahakavi Bharathiyar with the verses Kanavu Mei Pada Vendum is the inspiration, for the Springboards Orientation Program for student learners. Expressing optimism, she stated that the immemorial poem, which is inspiring and alluring among current-generation, besides talking about the righteous way of life with a strong social message, was the backdrop for the Session and should have a strong influence on the modern day youth.
Stating that employers seek applicants who are perseverant problem solvers, communicators and team players in his Keynote Address Mr Lakshminarasimhan, Managing Director, Accenture added that these skills, sometimes referred to as “soft skills,” are needed by all high school graduates to ensure that they are college and career ready, regardless of whether they plan to complete an apprenticeship after high school or attend a two-year or four-year college.
Dr Tamizhachi Thangapandian, Poet & Writer in her Special Address at the Inaugural Session stated that while employers are seeking students with strong academic skills, they report having trouble finding applicants who can collaborate, create, think outside the box, and communicate. Furthermore, when educators focus on tested subjects at the expense of soft skills, students pay the price.
Mr R Ramamurthy, Vice Chairman, Springboards Council, said that the program will highlight both the challenges as well as the opportunities for student delegates present here, as they prepare for their future careers. The Exhibition coinciding with program is an effort to showcase the project demonstrations by students letting them to learn and use important science and reasoning steps, and the benefits of hands-on and active exploration compared to more passive modes of learning or rote memorization.
Mr P Murari, IAS, (Retd),Former Secretary to President of India and Chairman, Springboards Council in his theme address stated that in the 21st century, the pace of change in the job market has hugely accelerated and the concept of a job for life is passé. Many learners who are currently in school would end up working for jobs and roles that do not exist today. Many people are getting into entrepreneurial roles right after higher education, and many are getting into roles different from their fields of study. The economic scenario globally is ever-changing, leading to a transformation of the job market across the world.
Dr Nirmala Prasad, Convenor, Career Planning Task Force, in her Overarching Address highlighted the lead Springboards Council is taking as Careers Advisers and Careers Educators to provide careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) programmes to young people in schools and colleges and work in partnership, bringing together Careers Advisers’ specialist expertise with Careers Educators’ knowledge of the school context. Using this ‘partnership model’, Springboards will be able provide a CEIAG programme that is impartial, contemporary and focused on the abilities and interests of each individual student, she added.
In this special initiative of Springboards, eminent personalities from various realms have extended their support and time to share their thoughts through presentations and panel discussions. This exercise is expected to provide meaningful insights into a wide array of avenues and options to pursue a career but also facilitate the process of narrowing the options for selection.
Mr Dhamu, Master Trainer, Dr Abdul Kalam’s Lead India 2020 National Movement, Ms S Vijayashree, Consultant Psychologist & Career Counsellor, Mr T Rajagopalan, Education Correspondent, The Hindu, Dr Sundari Ramakrishnan, CFO, Madras Talkies, Dr Rosy Fernando, Founder & CEO, Startup Solutions, Ms Bhavani Bhaskar, Founding Partner, Bharathakshetra School of Dance Training and Prof V Kamakoti, Professor, CSE Deparment, IIT, Madras and Director, City Union Bank in their presentations briefly outlined on how school leavers will have three to five careers during their working life so there is no need to worry about making a wrong choice that one might have to live with forever. Students delegates were sensitized to the fact that a young person’s first choice will rarely be the last and setting aside a little time every month to explore relevant websites, visiting a career show or talking to a member of the student s personal network about their job.
Mr T R Swaminathan, Member, Career Planning Task Force in his Vote of Thanks and thanked IIT, Madras for supporting the Program as Joint Partners and other sponsors : Black Thunder, Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering, SRM University, GKM College of Engineering Technology and Vinayaga Caterers and thanked all the participating student delegates and schools and exhibitors for their support in this unique endeavour.
The bottom line of the Springboards Orientation Program is that the stakeholders really need to be going into younger grades and letting students know what it takes to get to college and to get to a career.