The Significance Of Career Counselling: Why South African High Schools Need Career Counsellors – By Mpho (MrSir) Matlhabegoane

Rationale: When I was conducting research on the society’s knowledge about Career Counseling, I came to the realisation that the majority of the youth who matriculated in public schools have never been exposed to Career Counsellors, let alone know what Career Counselling is. This made me wonder if there are any detrimental side effects from this loophole in the education sector. Then I conducted further research on the results of having and not having access to career counselling and my findings proved beyond doubt that high school students do need exposure to this discipline, and this article explores those findings.

Article: To a high school student in one of the South African villages or townships, the profession “career counselling” may be alien. Many are familiar with career guidance, and they mistake it for career counselling, not knowing that the two are different practices and have different benefits. “The major difference between career guidance and career counselling is that guidance is broad advice or instructions given by someone more experienced or skilled, but counselling is professional advice given by a professional career counsellor on the personal or psychological concerns of people,” said Prateek Bisht, a Front-End Developer at, in the article about The Difference Between Career Guidance And Counselling, published on the 19th of May, 2023. South African high schools need career counsellors, but Government Programmes and Agencies, including the Department of Basic Education, do not invest enough in this discipline, oblivious or ignorant to the repercussions or side effects of its absence.

Career Counsellors are needed in high schools, not only to psychologically facilitate students’ career choices, but to ascertain self-awareness and ensure productivity in students. Enthusiasm for learning and working does not only come from understanding what you are engaging, but also from aligning the application of what you are learning now with what you will be doing later in your career, and bridging the gap between your job and your passion or purpose. “Once people know where they are headed, they mostly become motivated to work hard to realise their goals,” Professor Kobus Maree said, in an article published by the University of Pretoria, titled, “Why Career Counselling Is More Valuable Now Than Ever Before,” on the 15th of August, 2016. “People consult career counsellors when they face a ‘natural’ crossroads: having to choose a school, university, field of study or one from a number of employment opportunities.”

In an article, “Job Dissatisfaction Statistics: Slide Deck,” published on the 23rd of June, 2023, Alexander Eser wrote, “Delving into the realm of job dissatisfaction, one cannot overlook the staggering revelation that a colossal 85% of individuals from varying career paths find themselves discontented with their professional lives worldwide.” An article published by, titled, “5 Reasons Why Students Drop Out Of University” on the 27th of November, 2023, stated that “university dropout rates in South Africa are remarkably high, with between 50% and 60% of first-year students dropping out in their first year of varsity,” and one of the five reasons was that “students drop out because they chose the wrong courses.” The number of dropouts in tertiary institutions and the high rates of unhappy employees in the workforce are partly due to changes of heart in their career choices, or lack of interest in their career paths. Such statistics could be avoided by having frequent access to a career counsellor, from a young age.

“As for nowadays, individuals need to be able to critically analyse various information about the job market and their own characteristics in relation to the job market almost on a continuous basis,” said Askar Azhenov, Ainash Kudysheva, Nataliia Fominykh and Gulmira Tulekova, on a collaborated research article, published on, on the 8th of August, 2023, titled, “Career Decision-Making Readiness Among Students’ In The System Of Higher Education: Career Course Intervention.” Further down in their article, they stated, “Career decision-making is much broader than just choosing a job, and it is a process that includes understanding one’s desires and needs, deep knowledge of your personality (strengths and weaknesses), and ideas about one’s current and potential development.” The process of choosing a relevant and right career, one that will make you happy, through choosing subjects in high school, courses in tertiary school and a job after graduation, is a very deep and broad one. It requires external help, and professional help, that is.

In view of the fact that Life Orientation teachers are supposed to be of help in this matter, it has been proven over time that the current learner-teacher ratio of 29.8 in public schools, and the range between 20 and 24 periods per week each teacher is expected to teach, according to the Personnel Administration Measure (PAM) document in South Africa, are indisputable indications that Life Orientation teachers do not have adequate time to attend students’ career counselling needs singly, and thus effectively. Therefore, it is without doubt that hiring professional career counsellors in each high school is the only solution to students’ academic miseries and overall career contretemps.


About the author:

Mpho (MrSir) Matlhabegoane is one of the A! Hub Writers. He became an Activator in 2019, and through Activate! Change Drivers, he underwent educational training with Programmes such as SWITCH Entrepreneurship Programme, National Mentorship Movement with Printing SA and Citizen Journalism with The University of Witwatersrand (Wits). He is a Mental Health Awareness Advocate, and to spread mental health awareness, he published three books that have been accepted by Gauteng Department of Education as of 2023, namely: The Story of MrSir (Word For The Record), Expanding The World Of Nerds, and Views and Emotions (Poetry Journal of MrSir).

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