Parents should stop dictating childrens’ careers - experts

Students Interact with one of the exhibitors during the IC3 Regional Forum at Aga Khan High School in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO | BUSEIN SAMILU

What you need to know:

  • Schools and parents have been tasked to help children understand that all courses can lead them to successful careers.

By Busein Samilu

Stakeholders in the education sector have called upon parents to stop forcing their children to pursue courses against their will.

Although it is the parents who always have the best interest of their children, the experts say dictatorial tendencies on career choices, especially in universities and tertiary institutions, have in return affected the children’s future.

This, for example, they said has resulted in poor and low output at workplaces, “since they are doing things against their interested ”.

The education stakeholders made the remarks during the International Career and College Counselling (IC3) Movement Regional Forum that was hosted by Aga Khan High School in Kampala yesterday.

Mr Fred Tukahirwa, the principal of Aga Khan High School in Kampala, said parents should stop the tendency of thinking that children can only succeed after studying particular courses.

“We have children who are forced to do certain courses by parents when it is not in their interest. We are already aware of some graduates who have pursued some courses forcefully, given the degrees to their parents and then returned to school to pursue their interests,” he said.

“That is not what we would like to see happening, we would like schools and parents to be purposeful and help our children to understand that if they are studying certain courses, those courses can lead them to certain [successful] careers,” he added.

Mr Jim McLaughlin, the assistant vice president of community development and partnerships at IC3 movement, said children have to be given a chance to choose their careers.

“Careers and jobs are important, but the purpose in life is more important. If they can reflect the meaning and the purpose in someone’s life, it will not only have an impact on them, but we will also have happy people in the world,” Mr McLaughlin said.

He said parents should be more accommodative in the way they look at careers. “It is very important to challenge how we think for our children’s happiness,” Mr McLaughlin added.

Ms Misco Mungai, the programme director of HALI Access Network, an umbrella body of 43 Civil Society Organisations across Africa, said focus should be put on equipping students with knowledge, skills, and information.

By doing this, she said some conflicting scenarios like the strength of the students and their passion will be resolved.

“For parents, it is advisable to take a step back and be curious about what children are good at, their gifts, where they are likely to thrive,” she said.

Ms Rose Logose, a teacher and a career counselor from Kaderuna Secondary School in Budaka District, said students who are given chances to choose what they want to do in life always succeed earlier than the ones who are forced.

“Parents need to guide children such that they choose courses from an informed point of view,’’ she said.


This is the second regional forum being held in East Africa. The first one was in Nairobi last year. It brings together different education stakeholders such as counselors, teachers, head teachers, headmasters, university leaders and Civil Society Organisations.