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Pakistan Country Information

Pakistan Country Director:

Raza Abbas
Chief Executive Officer
Pathway Global Career Institute
Pakistan@AsiaPacificCDA.org


Advocating for Career Counseling, Career Education and Career Guidance by Raza Abbas

Brief explanations for Career Counseling, Career Education, Career Guidance, and Advocacy follow to build a strong discussion foundation for Career Counseling, Career Education and Career Guidance Advocacy Enhancements.

Career Counseling is a process that will help you to know and understand yourself and the world of work in order to make career, educational, and life decisions. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), http://www.oecd.org/about/, definition for Career Guidance clearly links it to individual and group activities, online and onsite activities and education, counseling, world of work experiences and system development. "Career Guidance refers to services and activities intended to assist individuals, of any age and at any point throughout their lives, to make educational, training and occupational choices and to manage their careers. The activities may take place on an individual or group basis, and may be face-to-face or at a distance (including help lines and web-based services)". Career Education helps a person develop the knowledge and skills they need to choose and pursue a career path. Career Education often refers to vocational training for a specific job field. Instead of focusing on academic subjects, a student learns the tools of an occupation through hands-on training.

Merrium-Webster defines Advocacy as "the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal." As professionals of the service industry, we are collectively executing amazing and meaningful social development career projects in our respective regions and countries so that humanity blossoms and leads to peace and harmony in our societies. Pause for a moment and think about how frequently we advocate for career counseling, career guidance and career education work within our local, regional, national, and global institutions. We should consider pro-actively amplifying our advocacy efforts. Some valuable advocacy strategies follow that should strengthen and enhance your efforts.

Initially select the advocacy strategy from the list mentioned below that you with your institution currently pursue as part of the institution's career counseling, career education and career guidance advocacy strategies. Then decide what else you can do to enhance your advocacy efforts.

Communicate
Does your institution implement career counseling, career education and career guidance media campaigns: Social Media, TV, and/or Radio to raise general awareness in the society?

Publish
Does your institution publish career counseling, career education and career guidance research relevant to the institution"s mission?

Advise
As career professionals at your institution, do you all collectively advise communities, government, and other NGO"s on career counseling, career education and career guidance?

Organize
As an institution leader or practicing career professional, do you develop capacity for career educator communities to advocate for themselves?

Demonstrate
As an institution, do you participate in and /or organize public awareness sessions for parents, youth, teachers and/or community stakeholders on career guidance, career counseling and career education? How frequently does your institution facilitate career guidance, career counseling and career education awareness workshops, seminars, and conferences?

Lobby
If career counseling, career guidance and career education is relatively new in your country, has your institution lobbied effectively with policy making institutions in your country and law makers in order to influence career education, career counseling and career guidance legislation in your region?

Legislate
Does your institution work to help draft and propose new legislation on career guidance, career counseling and career education? As an institution, have you developed a holistic youth or career policy in your country and advocated career counseling, career education and career guidance as a civic right for youth in your respective country?

Technology
As an institution have you developed career counseling, career guidance, career education websites and career resources for the society at large in the local language? Does your organization have customized career guidance software for students and teachers? Does your institution promote career guidance through innovative means i.e. mobile phones and providing career guidance through telephone help lines?

Speak
Do institutional representatives pursue speaking engagements to raise awareness and share knowledge of career counseling, career guidance, career education at schools, NGO's and vocational institutes? If so, are the engagements local, national and/or global? How frequently does your institution organize and plan national and international conferences in career counseling, career guidance and career education? Are the engagements virtual like video webinars or YouTube offerings?

Capacity Building
As an institution, how regularly does your team train teachers, practitioners and the society at large to become Career Counselors/ Career Practitioners, Career guidance counselors/Career guidance Practitioners and Career Educators/ Career Educator Practitioners during the semester and holidays?

I hope that this article enabled you to strategically identify additional techniques to strengthen and enhance your advocacy efforts. If you would like to further discuss one or more advocacy strategies kindly email at ra@pathwayglobal.org.

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Interventions of Hope in Pakistan by Raza Abbas

By having the willingness to learn and un-learn, young people not only become more hopeful themselves - they can also enhance hope in their communities, which is the need of the hour. I facilitate hope-centered workshops for students in Karachi, Pakistan. To thrive in the 21st century, hope is the new pre-requisite and way of life. It is a healthy practice to appreciate and enjoy the countless blessings that we currently possess.

While we have the largest population of youth in Pakistan's history, we are presented with the challenge of tapping the potential of young people for the country's socio and economic development. This aspiration cannot be achieved without understanding the fundamental problems young people experience today and pondering over solutions to these problems. Some of the challenges towards youth development include high anxiety levels, unemployment, and inadequate career counseling and career guidance.

The Hope-Centered Workshop is an integrative, evidenced-based approach to conceptualizing, assessing and building hope that can be used across cultures and spiritual belief systems. It is based on the work of Dr. Anthony Scioli. The workshops are a "whole-brain" approach, combining cognitive-behavioural exercises with philosophical reflections and meditative-hypnotic exercises. Five modules are included in this intervention: two attachment modules, and one each for mastery, survival, and spiritual hope. A comprehensive self-report hope scale is administered before and after the workshop.

Positive mindset

In our pilot research in Pakistan, hope scores increased significantly, with an effect size of 1.07. The qualitative feedback was equally encouraging. An exit interview was conducted after the intervention with all participants. Themes of empowerment (mastery), greater openness (attachment), hope for improved self-regulation and coping (survival), and heightened awareness to spiritual needs were commonly reported.

"I started off the workshop with a very demoralizing mindset. Currently my mindset is really very different and positive than what I initiated with. I will give credit to hope workshops for diverting me towards positivity," says student Anushay Hussain. "The workshops are an extremely inspiring effort for those who want to save themselves from the darkness of hopelessness," adds student Verda Butt. "The idea of carrying out a research on such a rare studied topic in Pakistan was not only unique but zealous at the same time. It has been a great learning experience. I feel more hopeful towards my life and profession now. I hope there are more alike researches carried out in future in Pakistan and the region," says Senior Lecturer Ifrah Shah.

Torch bearers

The pilot of the research was to strengthen the supply side of youth character building and employability by facilitating hope centered institutionalized teacher and youth training at educational institutions. To improve the demand side by instilling hope in students at all levels in making educated and informed career decisions. The implication of the study is a source for socio- economic think tank to re-strategize educational policy.

Based on the pilot study program, hope should be introduced as an elective in the university's and school curriculum nationally and globally in order to make a sustainable impact leading to optimistic graduates prepared to face the challenges of work in the 21st century. Imparting hope in youth leads to social justice for a safer global world. Establishment of a hope centered foundation is the need of the hour that inspires humanity, irrespective of race, gender, age, religion and disability.

People from all walks of life should be optimistic and should strive for growth and an agile mindset. They should have self-confidence and belief in themselves and the future, especially at times of adversity. Therefore they should collaborate with professionals that are hope torch-bearers around the globe. The knowledge is available, let's use it.

The keys:

  • The Hope-Centered Workshop is an integrative, evidenced-based approach to conceptualizing, assessing and building hope that can be used across cultures and spiritual belief systems.
  • Establishment of a hope centered foundation is the need of the hour that inspires humanity, irrespective of race, gender, age, religion and disability.
  • People should have self-confidence and belief in themselves and the future, especially at times of adversity.

Extracted from The World Book of Hope


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Raza Abbas is the founder of professional career counseling and career guidance in Pakistan. He earned his dual degrees from The University of Arizona. Amongst speaking at numerous premier international and national forums, he is honored to have presented his research at the Inaugural UNESCO Chair on Lifelong Guidance and Counseling Conference at the University of Wroclaw, Poland. He focuses on hope-centered interventions, teacher training, career guidance, youth capacity building, and social entrepreneurship.

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