UNICEF India has initiated several programmes to address the needs of adolescents in their transition from childhood to adulthood. One such initiative is the Career Portal that enables adolescents to choose a career path matching with their aspirations, interests, and inclination and also to have the information on the colleges/ vocational centres and also scholarships required to pursue their choice.
Having recognized the need for such a resource to improve the transition from school to higher education and workforce, the School Education & Sports Department of Maharashtra, has partnered with UNICEF to bring this portal to its 66 lakh grade 9-12 students. The Career Portal was launched by the Minister of School Education, Ms. Varsha Gaikwad via a Webinar organized on 22 May 2020. The Webinar was attended by over 5000 officials from the education department, including the district and sub-district career counsellors.
The portal has been developed by UNICEF in partnership with iDreamCareer, an organization based out of New Delhi. It has been adapted to Maharashtra’s context in collaboration with the Maharashtra State Council for Educational Research & Training (MSCERT) and is available in Marathi and English. It features over 500 careers, which are regularly updated and also include non-traditional career areas such as agriculture & food sciences, hospitality & tourism, virology, animation & graphics and sports & fitness. It is organized to allow a learner to look up a career domain and understand the eligibility, educational requirements, colleges in different countries and states that offer the required courses, scholarships and fellowships, different entry-points to the field and various growth options in that career domain. This is one platform that links students, teachers and system to better improve support and use of career guidance information and opportunities.
As a part of the initiative, the teachers will be capacitated virtually on the structure and content of the career guidance for students. Students will also receive an orientation to create their own unique profiles and navigate the portal to discover the different career domains, through career workshops organized by the MSCERT in collaboration with UNICEF and iDreamCareer.
“The Career Portal will empower our students to explore various career options, even those that they may otherwise not be exposed to. The Portal will also serve as an important tool for the state counsellors to support students in making an informed choice about their future. This is especially important for empowering our young girls,” said Ms. Varsha Gaikwad, Minister, Department of School Education & Sports.
“What makes this portal different is that students will, in one place, have access to not only career choices but also have access to the colleges that offer courses to pursue a career, the scholarships available to support them in preparing to apply for such courses and also the scope of the chosen careers. During a time of such pandemics, when there is always a fear that older students may drop out of the education system, this portal will help students to ensure that they continue with their education,” said Ms. Rajeshwari Chandrasekar, Chief, UNICEF Maharashtra.
“The Career Portal will soon be made available at www.mahacareerportal.com; the teacher and student orientations will also be initiated shortly under the leadership of Mr. Dinkar Patil, Director MSCERT. The logins for all students will be created by 27th May to use the website,” said Mr. Dinkar Patil, Director MSCERT.