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North India Area Information

North India Representative
Mr. Arun Mittal
National Program on Career Awareness (NPOCA)

November 2021 North India Report

Covid-19 Update

  1. Significant drop in the number of infections; despite the festive season, the numbers have been progressively decreasing.
  2. Students are returning to their respective educational institutions, as most states have given permission for classroom teaching.
  3. Covaxin receives WHO approval - It is the second big vaccine developed domestically. This would aid in the vaccination of various countries in Asia and Africa, particularly the underdeveloped ones.
  4. We anticipate that this would improve attendance at our annual conference in Singapore.

Labour Market Information

  1.  The current unemployment rate in India is 7.5 percent as of October 2021, with about equal percentages in urban and rural areas. 2. The November 2019 unemployment rate was also 7.52 percent. This points to a strong recovery from late 2020 to early 2021, when unemployment was in the double digits.
  2. The economy is rapidly recovering, and conditions are likely to improve further in the first quarter of 2022.
  3. According to the Economic Outlook Survey conducted by industry association FICCI, the yearly median GDP growth prediction for 2021-22 is 9.1 percent.
  4. The growth of Ed. Tech, provides a lot of scope for global career guidance organisations to explore India as a market.

Education Ecosystem


  1. Most of the state governments have reopened schools across the country.
  2. The pandemic has severely stressed the education infrastructure in especially the private unaided schools, some of whom have closed operations for financial unviability
  3. 25% of the Indian schools are managed by Private institutions with no government aid.
  4. Access to career guidance services at schools is still a challenge. India would need to train close to a million educators to manage the career guidance needs of its Youth.
  5. As per a research conducted in 2020, less than 15% of the students have access to career counselors.

Graduate/Post Graduate

  1. Higher education institutions would need to make additional efforts to bridge the industry perception of passing out batch of 2021
  2. Placements in technical colleges has been better, primarily driven by IT companies.

Vocational Education

  1. Pandemic slowed the vocation education efforts in the country; it is expected to improve with covid restrictions being relaxed.
  2. Given India's large population and high school dropout rate, vocational education is a national priority.

Market Research by NPOCA

This report provides insights on the existing career practices and the scope of career guidance in India. The study was conducted to understand the perspective (point of view) of Ed. Leaders for career guidance, it’s adoption, acceptability, value being attached and challenges in implementing such a program at school. 

The study was conducted by NPOCA a social initiative focused on integrating career education in the schools curriculum.

Access report here.

National Program on Career Awareness (NPOCA)

The initiative completed its 1 year operations, serving over 700 schools and 35000 students. Several senior members from APCDA have volunteered their time for the initiative.

Over 75 online sessions were conducted for students, parents and educators. Access these sessions on YouTube

Outreach Plan for India

In an attempt to promote the work being done by APCDA and increase its members in India, an outreach plan is being rolled out. The immediate focus for the year 2022 will be on K-12 schools.

Historical and Cultural Sights in Northern India

by Chavi Sharma

There are many historical and cultural places in the area around the 2020 conference in Faridabad, India. Some include fabulous food and shopping, too. Many of these fascinating sites are in Delhi, but others are in Agra, Jaipur and Amritsar. One popular tour visits the Golden Triangle: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

Here are some of the top tourist sites in Delhi:

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

The golden-domed Gurudwara is the most important temple for Sikhs in Delhi. It has intricate carving and a healing pool with fish. The Gurudwara distributes sanctified water to devotees seeking its healing properties. Non-Sikhs are welcome. Visitors can listen to hymns from Granth Sahaib or take prasad, the Sikh equivalent to Communion. You also can visit the cooking area of the temple's free community kitchen. Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is near Connaught Place (see below).

Qutub Minar

Its base is India's first Mosque, Quwwat ul-Islam Masjid. Its soaring 240 foot (73 meter) high tower of victory is made of sandstone. Building began in 1193, immediately after the defeat of the last Hindu kingdom in Delhi by the Mughals.

Humayun's Tomb

Is a 16th century garden tomb that inspired the design of the Taj Mahal, 100 years later. Humayun's Tomb is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage and the first garden tomb in the Indian subcontinent. The red sandstone and marble structure sits within a symmetrical square garden divided into four parts.

Swaminarayan Akshardham

Is a complex of Hindu and Indian culture, spirituality and architecture. There are a lot of things you can do in the complex. There is a great theme show, diorama and Imax presentation. The buildings are surrounded by a large garden for relaxation and enjoyment.

India Gate

Built in 1931 and designed by British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, India Gate is a 138-foot (42 meter), war memorial in the heart of New Delhi. It is reminiscent of Paris' Arc de Triomphe.

Lotus Temple

Is one of the most attractive temples in India and received several architectural awards. Inspired by the lotus, the national flower of India, it took 6 years to construct this temple.

Mughal Garden

Is the soul of the Presidential Palace. Sir Edwin Lutyens, the designer of gardens, finalized the design in 1917 but plantings were not begun until 1928. The gardens combine two different horticulture traditions: the Mughal style and the English flower garden.

Red Fort

Is named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone. It was built as the palace of the first Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Its planning and design was the culmination of architectural development initiated in 1526 and refined by Shah Jahan with a fusion of four traditions namely: Persian, Timurid, Hindu and Islamic. The architectural style of the building and the design of the garden influenced the buildings and garden in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra, and the surrounding area.

Connaught Place

Is the largest commercial center of the region. Built in the early 20th century in Georgian-styled architecture, it was named after the Duke of Connaught and Stratheam. The center houses famous restaurants and bars, food chains and international brand stores.

Leaving Delhi and traveling to nearby cities, there are many other famous sights including:

Taj Mahal

Is one of World Heritage's most admired masterpieces. It is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, India that was built between 1631 and 1648 in memory of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's favorite wife, who bore him 16 children. Those who are in a hurry can visit the Taj Mahal in an afternoon from our conference venue and see the Taj Mahal lit by the setting sun.

Fatehpur Sikri

Is an abandoned city that was built in the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar. It served as the capital of Mughal Empire for some ten years. Fatehpur Sikri is a complex of monuments and temples including the largest in India, Jama Masjid. Apparently, it was abandoned a few years after it was built due to lack of water.

Hawa Mahal - Palace of Wind

This stunning palace is made of red and pink sandstone with marble trim. The sandstone is carved into a lacy pattern that allowed the women of the palace to see the world outside without being seen.

Amer Fort

Is a majestic fort in Amer, Rajasthan, the ancient capital of the Kachhawaha Rajputs. It stands on a mountain next to Maota Lake and contains a mix of Hindu and Muslim architecture. Much of Amer's current buildings were started or expanded during the reign of Raja Man Singh in the 1600s.

Jantar Mantar

Is an observatory constructed by Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur. It has 13 architectural astronomy instruments. The observatory helps predict the time and movements of the sun, moon and planets.

Amritsar Golden Temple

The Golden Temple in Amritsar opens its doors to millions of devotees irrespective of caste, creed, community, race, gender or ethnicity. It is a mesh of sublime peace, utter religious tolerance, outstanding natural beauty and enormous faith and belief in God. It was founded by the fourth guru Ram Das in the year 1577. Elegant marble work with flower and animal motifs incorporate Hindu and Islamic architecture. The shimmering second level of the gurudwara is encapsulated in gold panels with a gold dome at the top. Guru Granth Sahib, the holiest text of the Sikh religion is kept inside its main hall. The water of the Sarovar surrounding the Gurudwara is not only clean and pristine, but also sacred and filled with healing powers.

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Exploring India – APCDA’s 2020 Conference, March 10 – 15

by Rahul Nair, South India Representative

There is a lot to experience in India while you are visiting in March for APCDA’s upcoming 2020 Conference. Consider including some days before and after the conference to explore. The country not only is one of the most diverse lands found anywhere in the world, it is the 3rd largest Asian nation, covering an area of over 3.2 million square km (1.269 million square miles). Currently, it has 29 states, each with their own unique languages, traditions and religions. ‘A sethu Himachalam’ denotes that India stretches from the southern tip of Kanyakumari to the northern Himalayas. From Kashmir in the North to the Indian Ocean on the South, the Sub-continent is about 2,000 miles long. Additionally, India has a population of more than 1.324 billion individuals, making it the second most populated country in the world. The country makes up the vast majority of the Indian Peninsula and has coastlines along the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean. Inland, it is home to a variety of habitats, including the Thar Desert in the west, the Himalayan mountain range in the north, and the Indo-Gangetic watershed region in the north and east.

Beyond its geographic diversity, it can be said that there are many Indias within India. This statement is from the standpoint of the nation’s diverse cultural, lingual, geographical and economic perspectives. India is among the most miscellaneous societies with a plurality and diversity of cultures which marks it out as perhaps the largest multicultural society in the world. People from all the major religions in the world—Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians (Parsis) constitute its vast population. Although Hindus constitute the majority of the population, India is home to the second-largest population of Muslims in the world. The diversity is coupled with enormous cultural variations from one state to another, including different languages, cultures and traditions. Religion plays an important role
According to the 1991 census, there are 114 spoken languages in this country; of these, 22 were spoken by more than one million people.

Taj Mahal

India's rich heritage is embodied in its architecture as well. The Taj Mahal, Jain caves at Khandagiri and Udayagiri, Bhubaneswar, Sun Temple Konarak, Jagannath Temple, City of Puri, Lingaraja Temple, Bhubaneswar, Red Fort of Agra, Delhi‘s Qutub Minar, Mysore Palace, Jain Temple of Dilwara (Rajasthan) Nizamuddin Aulia‘s Dargah, Golden Temple of Amritsar, Gurudwara Sisganj of Delhi, Sanchi Stupa, Christian Church in Goa, India Gate etc., are all important places that have been passed down to the present ages to denote how varied the people and customs in this land have been.

Besides the architectural creations, monuments and material artefacts, the intellectual achievements, philosophy, treasures of knowledge, scientific inventions and discoveries are also the part of Indian heritage. In Indian context the contributions of Baudhayana, Aryabhatta, Bhaskaracharya in the field of Mathematics, Astronomy and Astrology; Varahmihir in the field of Physics; Nagarjuna in the field of Chemistry; Susruta and Charak in the field of Medicines; and Patanjali in the field of Yoga; are profound treasures of Indian Cultural heritage. Indian culture is one of the most ancient cultures of the world. The ancient cultures of Egypt, Greece, Rome, etc. were destroyed with time and only their remnants are left. But Indian culture is alive till today. Its fundamental principles are the same, as were in the ancient time.


Indian literature and scriptures namely Vedas, Upanishads Gita and Yoga System etc. have contributed a lot by way of providing right knowledge, right action, behavior and practices as complementary to the development of civilization. One can see village panchayats, caste systems and joint family system. The teachings of Buddha, Mahavira, and Lord Krishna are alive till today also and are source of inspiration. Indian society accepted and respected Shaka, Huna, Shithiyan, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist cultures. The feeling of tolerance towards all religions is a wonderful characteristic of Indian society.

Vasudaiva Kutumbakam

Vasudaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family) is the soul of Indian culture. Indian culture has always answered and activated itself by receiving and adjusting to the elements of foreign cultures. Indian culture has received the elements of Muslim cultures and has never hesitated in accepting useful things from foreign cultures. Therefore, its continuity, utility and activity are still there today. Spirituality is the soul of Indian culture. Here the existence of soul is accepted. Therefore, the ultimate aim of man is not physical comforts but is self-realization. The philosophy that Hinduism as a religion teaches and India as a nation preaches is that of tolerance and acceptance.

Geography seems to have played an important role in engendering Indian unity and the sense of Indianness. Shut off from the rest of Asia by the inaccessible barriers of the mighty Himalayas on the north, seas on both sides, to Cape Comorin on the south, India is clearly marked out to be a geographical entity. Thus, Indian geography has facilitated unity and continuity of her history as a country. Attempts either to divide the country or to expand it beyond its natural frontiers have mostly failed. The great variety in landscape, climate and conditions of life prepared in the mind a readiness to accept differences. Besides, the vast spaces offered room for slow infiltration by newcomers and allowed each locality unhampered scope of development along its own lines. A Cape Cormorin
permanent and characteristically Indian expression of unity is found in the network of shrines and sacred places spread throughout the country. The visit to holy places as an imperative religious duty has made travelling a habit for Indians.

Krishna River With all this diversity India is a unique place to visit and live in. The Indian subcontinent is separated into two by the Krishna River. The northern part of India is more explored and known and hence this article focusses on the southern part of India with its myriad fascinating stories and places. I, myself, hail from the southern part of Indian state, called Kerala. Kerala is known as God’s own country owing to the natural beauty and ecological diversity. Its enchanting beaches, backwaters and timeless tradition lulls both residents and visitors. Etymologically, the word, Kerala, could be interpreted in a number of different ways. Basically, ‘Kera’ means coconut tree and ‘alam’ means land or location. Coconut tree are abundant in Kerala and a main source of livelihood of the people from a very early age. While the mythological origin of the state revolves
around Parasurama, who was the sixth avatar of Mahavishnu, ‘the Preserver’, there are a number of variations of this legend. The difference among them being the identity of the main character. However, one basic fact on which all the stories share a common ground. After a weapon, an axe or a spear, was thrown into the sea, the land of Kerala emerged. Subsequent to its emergence, the land was ruled by King Mahabali ,whose benevolence resulted in the land being an embodiment of prosperity and happiness.

Kerala is most famous for its scrumptious food. Healthy and tasty, using spices to enhance flavor and tantalize the mouth, delights foodies all over the world. Kerala is also known for the Sadya, a traditional feast with rice, sambar, thoran, olan and varieties of pickles and coconut chutneys. If you get the opportunity, do sample the yummy Appam, Iddiappam, which is served as breakfast throughout the state. With so much to serve on one banana leaf, Kerala is sometimes referred to as “God’s own country”. Kerala is also known for some sports events. One of the most famous sports in Kerala is the Snake boat race.

South Indian cities differ from her North Indian sisters in a variety of ways. There are several states in South India region and all of them offer their own wonderful culture and attractions. The richness of South India culture beautifully reflects in its attractions like rituals and beliefs, temples, architectural masterpieces, art and craft, cuisine and monuments. Some major cities from South India stand out as prime tourist destinations. Cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad offers a bird’s eye view into the vastness of South India.

Bangalore (officially known as Bengaluru) is the capital of Karnataka and located on the Deccan plateau in the southeast part of Karnataka. Bangalore is the 5th largest city in India. It is witnessing a tremendous growth in industry, trade and commerce; leading to a rapid growth of the city and large-scale urbanization. It is a multi-cultural city; permeating class, religion and language. Even though it is a cosmopolitan city, Bangalore holds on to its traditional features. There are a lot of festivals & events hosted in Bangalore. The city is a fine mix of work and leisure. It is the hub of where you can witness the vibrant youth of the India. With several pubs and restaurants, architectural marvels and natural getaways, Bangalore can be a traveler's delight. It is India’s third most populous city after Mumbai and Delhi. Due to its crucial role as the country’s leading IT exporter, it is

Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Bengaluru

also called as the “Silicon Valley of India”. It is located over 3000 feet above sea level. Being a metropolitan city, Bangalore offers various entertainment opportunities to a busy city. The city virtually never sleeps; activities and functions continue until late at night. Bangalore enjoys a very good climate throughout the year. The city if full of huge lung spaces of trees which allow people a quiet getaway from the crowd. Relaxing in the lap of nature will surely rejuvenate any tired mind. The best food from both the south and north meets here. You can get any food according to your tastes. Bangalore is filled with ancient monuments and temples that are preserved and located right in the center of the city.

Tamil Nadu Temple Architecture

Chennai, formerly known as Madras City, is the capital of Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state of India. Tamil Nadu is known for its temple architeture and encompasses a large part of southeast India. Chennai and its suburbs have more than 600 temples. The oldest is the Parthasarathi temple built in the 8th century by Pallava Kings. The first British church in India, St Mary’s Church, is situated here. The city is also considered as the cultural hub of South India which is famous for its affluent heritage in classical dance, music, architecture, sculpture, crafts, etc.

Chennai keeps many of its riches in its kitchens, and the city is famous for its elaborate, spicy cuisine. With street-side sizzling, hot-plate griddling, frenzied lunchtime ‘messes’ (canteens), and a skyrocketing fine-dining scene, Chennai, the increasingly cosmopolitan capital of Tamil Nadu, continues to stake its claim as the capital of South Indian dining. Vegetarians are in for a treat because Tamil cooking is mostly meat-free and bursts with

the flavors of chilies, curry leaves and coconut. But Chennai also packs in enough top-notch non-vegetarian treats to keep even the most devoted carnivore happy. Breakfast brings out Chennai’s favorite foods, too. If you visit, consider starting with the humble idli – a steamed, spongey rice cake, dunked into tasty sambar (lentil broth) or coconut chutney. Also plan to sample Dosas, a savory South Indian breakfast crepes made with rice flour. Similar, but thicker, is the uttapam, chock-full of coriander, green chillies and tangy onion. And do try to include tasting some vadas, a deep fried, doughnut shaped lentil meant for snacking. Finally include some of the city’s famous brew, South Indian kapi - filter coffee made with milk, sugar and chicory. It is delicious, addictive and easily available at every street corner. Idli

Rameswaram Temple Rameswaram, an island containing a temple with one of the most venerated of all Hindu shrines, is one of the most popular destinations in Tamil Nadu. The great temple of Rameswaram was built in the 17th century on the traditional site said to be sanctified by the god Rama’s footprints when he crossed the island on his journey to rescue his wife, Sita, from the demon Ravana. The temple is built on rising ground above a small lake. The temple is perhaps the finest example of Dravidian architecture. Sacred to both Vaishnavas and Shaivas, it is the most holy place for Hindus in India after the holy city of Varanasi. Adorning the Bay of Bengal and Arabian sea, the island
provides the perfect getaway for a peaceful seaside saunter. One can't help but marvel at the surreal blue waters that meet the pristine sands of the coast of this and India’s nearby famous and exotic island cluster, the Lakshadweep Islands, nestled amongst the deep turquoise waters of the Arabian Sea.

My description of some major north and south Indian sites provides only a short version of what India has to offer. I look forward to tantalizing you with additional information about India in future Newsletter issues leading to our upcoming APCDA March 2020 Conference.

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Careers That Were Not on Our Radar a Decade Ago

by Dr. Vandana Gambhir Chopra

According to World Economic Forum: Human Capital Outlook Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Report (2016), 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don't yet exist. Many careers and occupations that we see in today's job market did not exist 10, or even five, years ago. This fast-pace shift is going to go further faster due to rapid advances in the fields of robotics, driverless transport, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, advanced materials and genomics.

From wealth managers to data analysts and artificial intelligence programmers, the following is a collection of upcoming future careers that are going to be in demand.

1. Data Scientists

Data scientists are big data wranglers. They take an enormous mass of messy data points (unstructured and structured) and use their formidable skills in math, statistics and programming to clean, massage and organize them. Then they apply all their analytic powers - industry knowledge, contextual understanding and skepticism of existing assumptions to uncover hidden solutions to business challenges. Today's companies are moving away from using simple statistical analysis and using artificial Intelligence and deep learning to predict and personalize recommendations at an individual level. It is one of the fastest growing fields in India.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Programmers

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans. Some of the activities computers with artificial intelligence are designed for include Speech recognition, Learning, Planning and Problem solving.

3. Wealth Managers

Wealth managers provide financial services, investment advice, tax and accounts services, retirement and other plans to their clients. Wealth managers are engaged to give client-centered advice that best suits their client's portfolio needs. Wealth management helps to enhance the financial situation of an individual or a company. A wealth manager develops a plan to maintain and increase wealth for a client by meeting on regular basis to discuss goals and performances as well as to re-balance financial portfolios.

4. Sustainability Experts

They are consultants who analyze the way an organization runs, the energy it consumes, and the waste it produces, and they find ways to bring the organization closer to sustainability. Many fashion companies are prioritizing sustainability and putting sustainable business models at the heart of their organizations. Their function is to ensure that the company is doing whatever they can to integrate sustainable sourcing and environmentally friendly practices.

5. Augmented & Virtual Reality Experts

Augmented reality works by providing a copied view of reality, which can then be altered and changed using computer-generated sensory input. From film and video games, to architecture and therapy, this technology allows designers to create new, immersive experiences that will transform the way things are built. Augmented Reality Architects play a big part in the creation of new products and structures.

6. Certified UAV Pilots

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones, could range from full-sized planes to something small enough to fit in one's hand. Drone pilot jobs are growing in demand at companies across the globe. Legacy giants and startups are scouting full-time drone pilots, often referred to as drone operators, as well as flight engineers. These innovative companies are staffing internal UAV and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) programs, as well as a vast array of emerging drone-based products and services.

7. Education specialists.

Educational specialists evaluate and provide recommendations to improve curriculum planning, individual lessons and teaching methods at one or more grade levels. They also help coordinate and communicate expectations and progress among students' parents/guardians, guidance counselors and teachers.

8. Nutrition and Health Specialists

Certified nutrition specialists counsel people on maintaining healthy diets and lifestyles. They also organize nutritional programs that focus on promoting health and controlling diseases. Many of the individuals in this career work in hospitals and nursing homes. However, some of these specialists are self-employed, which sometimes offers more flexibility in work hours but may also require working weekends and evenings in order to meet the needs of their clients' schedules.

9. Blockchain Specialists

Bitcoin is the world's first revolutionary cryptocurrency as well as a digital payment system invented by an unknown programmer, or a group of programmers, under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin today is widely used in many countries as a medium of payment and exchange. With bitcoin becoming the rage globally, industry experts expect this field to become a massive job creator. Blockchain is the technology that runs Bitcoin.

10. Mental Health Professionals

A mental health professional is a health care practitioner or community services provider who offers services for improving an individual's mental health or to treat mental disorders. The aim of a mental health professional is to co-create a relationship where both professional and client interact with each other to reach a mentally healthy state. Psychologists, therapists, clinical social workers and psychiatrists are all mental health professionals. These individuals were the forefront brigade to develop the community programs, which today may be referred to by names such as supported housing, psychiatric rehabilitation, supported or transitional employment, sheltered workshops, supported education, daily living skills, affirmative industries, dual diagnosis treatment, individual and family psychoeducation, adult day care, foster care, family services and mental health counseling.

The previous list is just a snapshot of some of the New-Gen careers. Many new occupations will likely emerge based on what explorers and fun-minded visionaries imagine as being part of humanity's best future.

(Acknowledgment: I would like to acknowledge my student, Ms. Somya Tondon, who helped me in compiling this list.)

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Revisiting Career Planning in India

by Dr. Itishree Misra

India is culturally rich and diverse. In its pursuit of being the skills capital of the world, it is important that the educationists and policy makers in India be able to understand the intricacies behind career planning and its linkages to academic performance and human development. A majority of Indian students follow an unusual approach to set their career goals. Many times, driven by parental aspirations, students mix their career plans with education attainment, having no clue of resulting career options. Some students utilize their time in school and the choice of subjects available to them based on their academic performance to derive career options. This approach often leads to limited options. Still other students start thinking about their career options when their interest is ignited by a high school counselor, teacher, or an individual, who is considered as a role model. This, too, means exposure to limited options.

There are several job possibilities with any chosen career but students are not well informed about these opportunities. For example, an engineering career may lead one to be a scientist, product manager, designer or an entrepreneur. The primary reason for this chaos is that students are being guided through their schooling to fit in an education system rather than to think critically and plan their career. When in school, students' aspirations may diverge. It may not be possible for them to pinpoint a particular career. Many students wish to cure cancer, combat hunger or reduce pollution; they dream of designing vehicles, studying the universe, starting a company of their own, and/or serving humanity. Each of these ambitions are legitimate, valuable, and flow logically from an education based on aptitude and personality type. Ironically, most of their aspirations get entangled with educational goals and end up with career paths which may not be the most appropriate. For example, to cure cancer one can do so by becoming an engineer, medical professional or member of a research team. One need not have all these degrees, but a specific career path based on aptitude and personality.

We all know that accomplishing a career goal becomes easier if one constructs a career plan with well-defined actions. I, additionally, have found that if students plan their career based on talent, then they tend to reach success on time, remain happy and adapt well to challenges in the world of work.

Let's make career planning a part of the school curriculum. An agenda, which is long overdue.

Dr. Itishree Misra is Founder of MapMyCareer Private Limited, a career guidance and advisory organization focused on individuals in the age group of 12-25 years and an Organizatinal Member of APCDA. She completed her Doctorate in Psychology and has more than two decades of experience in career guidance.

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National Program on Career Awareness in India

by Arun Mittal

Background: In 2022, India turns 75 and becomes the largest, youngest nation in the world. Sounds paradoxical! Yet, at 75 years young, India would be the largest country by population with the youngest potential workforce by age — a predicted national average just around 25 years. This has been a talking point for a long time, an opportunity to be the 'stream' engine of the future. Truly, a case of interdependence.

India is in the process of developing an appropriate ecosystem for Career Planning and Guidance. Given its size and diversity, this ecosystem development is daunting; addressing the huge chasm between global career and economic information, some of which is yet unknown, and helping youth make an informed career choice.

The National Program on Career Awareness (NPOCA) is an attempt to bridge this chasm and provide an opportunity to the youth to understand the World of Work 'up close' and hear it 'directly from the horse's mouth'.


NPOCA all started as an experiment to check the receptivity of schools for such a cause. Conceived as a week-long program, the push and encouragement helped this idea hatch. The whole world seemed to have conspired to make it happen. The main co-conspirators were Mrs. Manjula Raman, Sandeep Ghosh, Major General Jai Shanker Menon, Dr. Itishree Misra, Dr. Dharana, Nick Newman, Karen Taylor Brown, Dr. Brian Hutchison, Dr. Marilyn Maze, Kapil Nautiyal, Manish Gupta, Juhi Dwivedi, Shadab Faiz, and my friend Piyush. I would write seeking guidance, help and support, and they would all wave a big welcome and willingly share their expertise. I think the world loves to give gyan (read Preach, pun intended).>

The initial schedule for the week was put in place and a sample list of schools were invited. Some accepted, some suspected and many others called to check our hidden agenda. While disbelief and suspicion was understandable, given the way most of the organizations, abuse such platforms, the warmth of reception from principals, HoD's and educators was overwhelming. Delivering a session remotely (online) wasn't an easy concept, I remember calls from well-wishers strongly suggesting sessions be delivered directly, on-site at the schools.


Fifty days of persistent effort, saw 200+ schools coming on board as members. That's roughly works out to 4 a day! (Author's Note: Well done Akshat, Juhi and Shadab. It would not have been possible without you guys!) The encouragement, deep sense of gratitude and responsibility aided the decision to convert NPOCA to an ongoing program. The decision seemed almost spontaneous.

The NPOCA program currently offers expert advice from mentors across the world. The idea is to provide access to professionals who have been achievers in their own domain. By the time this article is published, educational posters, puzzles and career articles also will be available. The eventual goal is to have an online repository of all careers, education pathways and education financing; basically everything that a student needs!

Seeking Guidance

"Seeking Guidance" is still my favorite subject line for most of the emails I send regarding NPOCA. I'm almost tempted to replace it with the current tagline of NPOCA, "An attempt to make youth aware of tomorrow's careers."

Being able to create an ecosystem, where each participant is aware of the multitude of career options and chooses career "appropriately" . . . WOW! Currently our NPOCA team is chasing a goal of 1000 schools and a million students by end of this year. Then we hope to catch the attention of the policy makers and other change agents.

Collaboration is at the core of NPOCA, and the team will continue "Seeking Guidance" from the global fraternity. Student profiling, counselor training and assessments as well as further development of our career repository, digital library and platforms are some of the areas where we will be looking for partnerships. The program is an excellent opportunity for academic institutions and career guidance organizations from across the world to collaborate, with a long-term view on an opportunity called "India."

Let's Engage!

Arun Mittal is the Program Director of the National Program on Career Awareness and the CEO of MapMyCareer, a new online career planning program and an Organizational Member of APCDA. Previously, he built the distribution infrastructure for IndiaSkills, HR skill assessment and certification. Mr Mittal worked for IIHT, a pioneer in job-based IT training in India, to increase their market share and marketed training offered by Manipal Global, a professional and skills education business.

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A New Gen of Career and Education Counselling in India: Upsurge of Private Players in the Field of Career Guidance

by Dr. Vandana Gambhir

The new generation of India is intrigued by the idea of selecting educational courses and careers according to their aptitude and interest instead of past trends of selecting popular careers as suggested by parents and a few handfuls of significant people. The youngsters, these days, want to explore their true potential and passion before selecting the right career track. Sensing the need of the hour, many private players have stepped into the field of career guidance acting as a mediating bridge between career aspirants and their destination profession.

The private career practitioners are focusing on facilitating students' lives to manage their educational, personal, social and professional aspirations. They are doing so by judging their career concerns through psychometric testing and one-to-one counselling. A student is advised to undertake a psychological test to gauge their interest, ability and aptitude. Many practitioners are also focusing on tapping the ability of a student in a particular vocational sector. This is done through a survey questionnaire in which an aspirant is given a range of questions related to the vocational sector of his ability. Mapping the career choice according to the results of a psychometric assessment or a survey questionnaire is just one aspect of orienting a candidate about the probable field of profession that he may choose. The additional resource of counselling and building on career readiness abilities through workshops and in-depth counselling sessions add on to a student's readiness for the profession. Students are also provided information regarding the academic courses, university college programs and complete career paths including future career growth and earnings that they can have in a particular profession. In short, they are given complete information about the latest trends in education and careers, as well as proper admission and application guidance.

This is turning out to be a revolutionizing change in the field of career development, giving a new direction to the youth which is promising and of their interest. They are now feeling capable of making decisions independently by establishing their own schedules. It has also opened the doors for private practitioners to "brand" and market their services specifically to career decision makers and career changers. A contemporary trend of establishing private counseling services has started in the country. It certainly is going to flourish in the near future.

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India 2015 Action Plan: The National Career Service

by Prof. N.K. Chadha & Dr. Vandana Gambhir Chopra

Good News! India is set to launch its first National Career Planning & Development Policy for its potential youth and workforce. The Central Government of India has decided to transform a network of over 950 Employment Exchanges in the country to Career Centres under its Mission Mode Project of National Career Service (NCS). The NCS is proposed to serve as a one-stop platform for all employment-related services like career counseling, vocational guidance, placement, skill aptitude testing, apprenticeship, internship etc. for potential candidates. The project that has been granted an outlay of Rs.150 Crores budget will be serving the youth of the country with wise career choices so that they can actively contribute to an efficient workforce.

The National Career Service is expected to be operational during 2015. Reaping the benefits of service, the unemployed candidates would be able to get free online career counseling and guidance through a single window NCS portal. Online information regarding various skill development courses, internships, and summer training workshops would also be made available for the potential job seekers and university students. Databases would be generated where students and job applicants will be able to enroll/register from anywhere using online forms without visiting career centres. The government aims to create a computerized system that will not just help in electronic processing of applications and online reports, but also speeds up the communication process among various stakeholders. "The project envisions a network of career centres for providing a variety of employment related services and development of a national portal to facilitate registration of job-seekers, job providers, intermediaries etc. and provide job matching services in a transparent manner," the proposal said.

The Career Centres will be in direct communication with industries and employers for vacancy notifications and available job positions updating. A continuous interaction with training institutes is also proposed for consolidating training schedules and preparing a database of skilled workers. A link to connect the portal with educational institutes like schools, colleges, vocational institutes etc. will be provided for preparing a database of candidates for employers. The NCS will work under direct supervision of Central Ministries and State Governments who will be developing resources for Career Guidance and Counselling and will be responsible for connecting interlinkages among prime stakeholders. The plan to provide value-added services like SMS alerts, updates, notifications, IVRS, emails is also suggested to help candidates through various channels. Around 100 Model Career Centres are proposed to be established in collaboration with State Governments, Universities and Institutions during the 12th Five Year Plan of the country.

In short, through its first National Career Policy, the government wishes to create an education-employment-industry interface through one channel and connect employable talent and workers with job opportunity information and employers.

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Holistic Career Development System for India

by Prof. N.K. Chadha & Dr. Vandana Chopra

India: Workforce Demographic Profile
Changing demographic profiles in India indicate that the country is standing at a historical juncture expecting to reap rich economic benefits in the coming few decades. The country's working age population is expected to increase from approximately 761 million to 869 million during 2011-2020. Consequently, until 2020, India will be experiencing a period of "demographic dividend," where the growth rate of the working age population would exceed that of the total population. India is poised to become the world's youngest country by 2020, with an average age of 29 years, and account for 28% of the world's workforce. With an estimate of around 12 million people to join workforce every year over the next decade, India is expected to have the largest workforce in the world by 2025. Clearly, the country faces a major challenge of imparting employable skills and career paths to its growing workforce over the next few decades. Fundamental to the future of country is a Holistic Career Development System that emphasizes on skill development and enhanced career awareness and preparation for youth and adults.

Initiatives Taken By Government of India

To reap the benefits of demographic dividend, Government of India, in 2008, launched a comprehensive National Skill Development Mission (NSDM). The objective of NSDM is to develop a high-quality skilled workforce/entrepreneur relevant to current and emerging employment market needs. The mission is to create opportunities for all to acquire skills throughout life, especially for youth, women and disadvantaged groups. The aim is to enable the establishment of flexible delivery mechanisms that respond to the characteristics of a wide-range of needs of stakeholders. With National Skill Development Mission, India has set a target of skilling 500 million people by 2022.

Holistic Career Development System

The Skill Development Initiative taken by the government of India needs adoption of various innovative approaches to raise the capacity of the system over a limited period of time. One such approach is formulation of a Holistic Career Development System catering to the career/employment needs of the country. Presently, the career development practices in the country are at the infancy stage. There is an acute shortage of well qualified, trained career practitioners spanning all levels of education, colleges, universities, business, industry and workforce. India needs a large pool of career professionals to help people of all ages to investigate employment, work-related resources and training options. High quality guidance and counseling services are required to achieve the NSDM vision, to meet the needs of the national population and to support lifelong learning, career management and continuous professional development. The knowledge and technological skills of career counselors are needed to channelize candidates into jobs, apprenticeships and trainings. In addition, industry-exchange programs are required to ensure a dynamic pool of trainers with industry experience. Career professionals are also required within schools to inform students about various career options and facilitate a smooth transition from school to work. The country also realizes the need to forge partnerships between public and private, national and international organizations engaged in career development and enhancement practices to reap the benefits of its demographic bonus. In short, the country needs a holistic career development system comprised of wide mechanisms that link skills, demand and supply of workforce in industry with the help of trained and qualified career professionals.


A concerted effort by the government of India towards skill building and career planning needs to be exploited for better outcomes within a short span. The magnitude of the population currently in need of career guidance and counseling coupled with the growing demand for skilled workforce presents a challenge to the country. India requires a competent pool of career professionals to meet the growing need of the workforce and to meet its aforementioned vision of creating 500 million skilled people by 2022. The time is now to move precipitously to implement a holistic career development system for India.

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Career Guidance in India

by N.K. Chadha

Each one of us has different identities within ourselves. It could be social or individual- One helps us in placing ourselves in society, whereas the other relates to our self worth. Occupational identity of a person constitutes of both social and individual importance. It is his occupation or career which builds on his standing in his own eyes and in eyes of society. This in itself justifies the importance career or career guidance plays in our lives. Career guidance starts from the very birth of a child, as his parents or grandparents continuously guides him towards what to choose or what not to choose. This pattern of guidance is very evident in our India culture. The influence parents plays on the minds of youngsters regarding choosing the right career is immense. This influence acts both in a negative and positive manner. Positive in the sense of giving a direction to the child and negative in restricting the mental boundaries of the kid. It’s not only the family but also the socio- economic backgrounds and environment which affect their career selection and even career development. Social and economic contexts provide the condition that shapes individual self- concepts or identity, the content and nature of the occupational structure, the form and freedom of access to work and who is likely to obtain what types of work. This has been the habitual ways of thinking for most Indian young people and their families. They have an amalgamation of attitude, opinions and notions which creates their idea of a career itself. For e.g.- which subjects a girl child should opt, what is best suited for a boy, what role a particular culture person should opt for, etc.

With the changing time, there has been a conscious attempt from the side of parents and children to look for diverse careers, get an understanding of them and then choose the right one. This trend is prevalent in urban areas. In rural areas the major chunk of students still don’t have any idea about the different professional courses or even the competitive exams for different careers. This discrepancy is vast in India. Technology has enhanced this difference. The access of internet and computers is easy in urban areas whereas as it is missing in the rural ones. Due to these technological changes on one side there is information overload and on the other side, a lack of proper information- both leads to difficulty in choosing the right path in life.

A trend which has recently been noticed in Indian society is the building of educational hubs. There are places which have the best facilities and infrastructure for educating kids. To become the best, students comes to these places, live without their parents and social support around, which in itself is mentally taxing for them. Most of the times, just to follow the rat race a kid comes over to another city or state for studying. It’s the lack of proper information and direction which leads them towards a wrong way. It is very important to open spheres for children, let them understand their capabilities and then accordingly, let them choose a career for themselves.

In the process of selecting what is right for them, it’s necessary that the support and guidance of parents, teachers, schools and colleges should always be there. It’s not only important for the children to have career counseling but it’s important for the parents and teachers to have full understanding of career options, so that they can suggest a good and fruitful path to the kids. The India Career Development Association is involved in educating the families as well as the school teachers and counselors to guide the school and college students to pick the right career path.

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