Published: 27th August 2019
Here's why ERA Foundation's multilingual career guidance test will help students to choose a suitable career option
P Muralidhar of ERA Foundation tells us why tenth graders must take up the Marg Career Guidance Test
I'm sure you'd agree with me when I say that in India, most decisions related to one's career or choice of course to study are either influenced by parents or peer groups. But what if we told you that now, students can choose a career path that's best suited for them based on their interests? Wondering how? It's through the Marg Multilingual Career Guidance Test. ERA Foundation, which is a not-for-profit organisation, has developed this test especially for class X students and the result of the test will help them analyse their strengths and weaknesses in academics.
P Muralidhar, CEO, ERA Foundation, says, "We spent almost two years to design this test for students. Around 30 teachers and 40 counsellors worked to form a questionnaire to incorporate in the test. Students can choose to write it either offline or online. This idea was born out of a concern that most private school students have the option of career counselling within the campus but government school students, especially in the rural areas, lack this option. To ensure good reach, we decided to make it a multilingual test — available in English and six regional languages such as Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Hindi and Bengali. For now, we have only tied up with the Government of Karnataka to implement this test and by December, we aim to sign an MoU with a few other state governments."
Crunch those numbers
Before venturing into the creation of this multilingual career guidance test, ERA Foundation did a thorough study of the number of students studying in government and private schools. According to Muralidhar's research, there are 15,666 schools in Karnataka out of which 4,681 are government schools and 10,000 are private aided and unaided schools. However, the number of students studying in government schools are more than private ones — 4,86,561 versus 3,24,350. To improve these numbers, this year, ERA Foundation plans to reach out to at least 1,000 government schools by December 2019, which is approximately 50,000 students.
The key to counselling
Muralidhar, who has his goals clear, says, "We have formed 12 teams of volunteers. In the first phase, starting in September, these teams will approach schools located in the rural areas of Tumakuru and Kolar districts. We also have 20 tabs with us to provide them to the children to write the test. Our volunteers will train two teachers in every school in giving the test, interpreting the results and how to convey it to the parents."
Realising that schools in rural areas don't have internet connectivity all the time, these tabs are designed to function sans the internet — they will be connected to the local server to download the question papers. It is a two and a half hour exam. The next question is where one can access the results. The results are saved in the login account and it can be viewed for a period of six months. These results come in a comprehensive 20 pages with the marks and a detailed analysis for every section in the test.
According to the research done by the ERA Foundation, only 18 per cent of children can study in English and only 3, 24, 350 students study in English medium schools in Karnataka
So, what are these sections?
Let's face it, there are several online career guidance tests available in the market nowadays, but what sets Marg apart is their subject-based test. Muralidhar explains, "There are totally four sections in this test including the Aptitude test, Interest test, Personality test and the Subject-based test. While other counselling tests have the aptitude, interest and personality components in common, our subject-based tests — covering Maths, Social Science, Science and English — are unique. Now, you may ask why this is necessary. It's actually the marks in this section that can help students realise if they are strong in Math or History and further decide which stream to choose in Class XI. Based on the overall analysis of the test, students are suggested three career options that are best suited for them."
Passing the first test
Muralidhar and his team have already conducted this test for over 5,000 students in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana and Bengaluru schools. Muralidhar states that most of the students and teachers have taken it well. They like the kind of questions that are included in the test. Aside from this, the students' feedback is also looked into to find the flaws in the test and these are then rectified.
Results are divided into four categories:
This result shows your interest in various career options. It will help students find areas that they are strong in and more likely to enjoy working in
This result is a combination of behaviour, emotion, motivation and thought patterns that define the student
This result shows the students' current knowledge level on subjects being taught at school. Having knowledge of basic concepts is important for further career advancement
Aptitude test result
This result will show a student's ability or talent to perform certain kinds of tasks. The score here shows the things that one is naturally good at