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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > In an exclusive interview with Ganesh Kohli Founder IC3 Movement and Chair Board of Trustees IC3 Institute

In an exclusive interview with Ganesh Kohli, Founder, IC3 Movement and Chair, Board of Trustees, IC3 Institute

Updated on: 24 April,2021 12:44 PM IST  |  Mumbai
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He talks about the importance of career counselling for the students during the pandemic

In an exclusive interview with Ganesh Kohli, Founder, IC3 Movement and Chair, Board of Trustees, IC3 Institute

Ganesh Kohli

  1. Why is career counseling in schools important?

 Career counseling is an integral function in schools, as basic and as important as English and Math. Schools teach academic subjects but for the most part, there is little to no correlation between what students learn in the classroom and how it relates to the world outside the classroom, including, but not limited to the world of careers. We believe every teacher needs to be a 10% career counselor, in order to help students bridge the gap between academic knowledge and its practical application, and to make learning joyful by making careers come alive in the classroom. We also believe that every school needs a fully functioning career counseling office, and full-time counselors who work with students from grades 9-12, helping them make best fit decisions for higher education and the world of careers.


The lack of career counseling in not just an academic issue- it is a social issue. It’s about young people finding purpose and direction in their lives. The world is changing, old career options are now becoming redundant. The progress in technology has given rise to careers we couldn’t have imagined 4-5 years ago. With the advent of AI, most careers as we know them today will not exist in a few years. Who is going to help the youth navigate this journey if not schools, where students spend most of their time until they are ready to embark upon their higher education and career journeys? School education is a means to an end, not an end in itself.


Giving students the right guidance at the right time has the potential to change the world as we know it. The world is full of unhappy 35-year olds who hate Monday mornings. Imagine a world where everyone looks forward to go to work because they truly enjoy it, because they are doing what they are good at, because someone helped them discover their interests and related career options when they themselves didn’t know better. Imagine the job satisfaction, industry productivity, the joy. Imagine making active and guided choices instead of stumbling upon careers and wasting years feeling purposeless. Wouldn’t you want the same for your younger self? That is what career counseling is about, and that is why it is important to have this in schools. Schools need support to establish this function, and that is why the IC3 Movement exists.




  1. How is career counseling different from the usual one-on-one teaching sessions?


Simply put, teaching involves imparting of knowledge and career counseling involves linking that knowledge to the world outside. A Physics teacher can teach the concepts of sound and radio technology, but when the teacher is able to help the student see the application of these concepts around them- the acoustics of a classroom, the way our smartphones function, they partly become career counselors. The Counseling LaboratoryTM pedagogy used by the IC3 Institute equips teachers with the resources to make careers come alive for students in the classroom.


In addition to every teacher being a 10% career counselor, it is essential to have full-time career counselors in schools who are fully equipped to provide customized direction to students so they can make choices that will best suit the course of their lives. However, the IC3 Movement does not work directly with students. We work to empower high schools around the world through guidance and training resources for high school administrators, teachers and counselors to help establish and maintain robust career and college counseling departments, having a multiplier effect because a teacher impacts hundreds, if not thousands of students in their lifetime.



  1. What is the role of teachers and counselors in the career counseling process? How does the IC3 Movement teach these techniques to counselors?

I believe that teachers are soul doctors. You may not remember a body doctor that you visited in the 8th grade, but you will still remember your teachers from the 3rd grade. The very nature of the student-teacher relationship is one of trust and respect. Teachers can have a profound impact on a student’s life. Counseling is the process of holding and maintaining a safe space for students to express their interests, passions, and challenges, and to guide them with patience and knowledge. The IC3 Institute runs a one-year program to train teachers, principals and other high school staff to become career counselors. The curriculum of the program equips participants to address the questions of what to study, where to study and how to make it happen. Through the program, participants also learn about setting up a counseling office, counseling techniques, working with students as well as with parents, who are important stakeholders in the decision-making process. We also believe in and impart the awareness that each child is unique, with a unique set of interests and skills, and that career counseling is a journey of exploration and discovery of a child’s true potential.



  1. The world has changed a lot in the past year as the pandemic took over. How can students cope with this change, career-wise?

The learning potential of the post-pandemic world is ten times what it was pre-pandemic. At this time, students need to focus on treating every situation as a learning opportunity or a classroom lesson. Like all of us, the past year has forced students to adapt and remain flexible to the quickly changing reality. This is the time to build skills like resilience and courage, these will hold them in good stead throughout their lives. With regular academic life being impacted, there is also the possibility of finding their purpose outside academics, perhaps in a hobby or volunteer work.



  1. You have visited several countries and have worked and observed many children. Have you seen a difference between the education system and mental health in first world and third countries?

 I personally do not like the expression first-world and third-world. We are ONE world. Dichotomies based on socio-economic factors exist within each country. A student in a tribal school in Chhattisgarh receives very different levels of support from someone studying in an international school in Mumbai. Even within the same city, huge differences exist. Students in less privileged environments build a different set of skills (such as resilience and courage) as compared to students in more privileged environments. We do not need to compare countries to discover this divide. It is definitely true that for the more economically prosperous pockets of the world, while students have strong academic knowledge, technology access and communication skills, they are facing a bigger mental health crisis.



  1. The IC3 movement is spreading across the globe, reaching more than 90 countries. What has been the impact of movement so far and what your major learnings?

 The most important impact of the IC3 Movement so far has been sensitization around the need for career and college counseling, and more importantly around the need to help young people find purpose and direction in life. The fact that counseling is being actively discussed in schools is a big accomplishment in itself for the IC3 Movement. Some of these discussions are leading to schools pursing professional development of their teachers through the IC3 Institute. I also see that schools are increasingly ready to accept that their responsibility goes beyond mere academics and that wellbeing and career guidance for students is also the school’s prerogative.


My biggest learning from the growth of the IC3 Movement is that “career and college counseling in schools” is an idea whose time has come. Another learning is that instead of marinating on the problems in delivering counseling for all students, it is important for us to focus our energies on the solutions. We need to take small steps towards a world where every teacher becomes a 10% counselor. 


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