On the 4th week of our Basilwizi volunteer’s placement we decided to hold two career guidance workshops on the 23rd and 24th of October, in two newly built schools in the rural areas of Binga. The bumpy off road two hour journeys led us to Senga and Sinansengwe secondary schools. Upon arrival the one building schools were a first for our international eyes, we received a further shock when entering the buildings to be greeted by 150 plus students staring eagerly back at us. Looking down at our few questionnaires held in our hands we realised we were not well prepared for the numbers we were about to present to. Despite this initial shock our team were keen to deliver and we began our presentations, focusing on A-level subject combinations, career profiles, university applications, the importance of a good CV and interview tips. Having just finished A-levels myself and recently applied to university I was excited to be given the opportunity to inform students on their various options after school, having first-hand experience of just how vital the information can be!
As a group we really wanted to raise the awareness and importance of staying in full time education, especially to girls, whose education can be cut short due to early marriage and pregnancy. This area of focus became more evident when it was revealed that four girls had dropped out of school due to pregnancy in the last year at Sinansengwe. Our team spoke of the importance of staying in school in order to gain the standard requirements of five O-levels at C or above including the core subjects English, Maths and Science. Having these requirements enable you to then decide what A-levels or diploma you would like to take, it’s important to choose those correct for your career as it will also help to improve your job prospects, along with the aid of a professional CV. Through stressing this information we hope it will act as a deterrent for early marriage and will encourage girls to stay in school to complete their education.
Our talk about career profiles further highlighted the necessity of having passes at C or better in the core O-levels with jobs like teacher, nurse, lawyer, journalist, architect and others that were mentioned all needing a C or higher in maths O-level. Staying in school to re-sit necessary exams was a point mentioned that was highly appreciated by the staff at Sinansengwe, the deputy head informed us that only 2 students who scored below a C were re-sitting their maths O-level, the other students hadn’t bothered.
At Senga secondary a sample of 32 questionnaires were handed out, twelve female and twenty male, fourteen of which said they wanted to carry on to complete their A-levels, five said they then wanted to proceed to university or college, five wanted to be teachers and one wanted to be a doctor. The positive feedbacks uplifted the group and although sporting worn out faces, we all left in high spirits after what was an energetic and productive day! We adapted to our limitations of time and space and in return students actively participated and constantly asked questions! After the successes of these workshops our team have high hopes for the two more career guidance workshops yet to deliver to other rural areas of Binga.
By Ailsa Sharrock