Sannam S4 High School Counselling Excellence Network – Why is Sannam S4 doing this?
An opinion piece by Ritika Singh – Head of Partner Success at Sannam S4
The Sannam S4’s School Counselling Excellence Network is an initiative that brings together high school counsellors from across India, to participate in a wide variety of skill-building certifications and courses. The idea is to create a powerful and purposeful team of education specialists who can help steer student development and growth. The initiative is spearheaded by the Partner Success team that is currently incubating this before rolling this out to Malaysia where our new office has been opened in January 2021.
Technology had started becoming an integral part of the higher education space, inherently affecting all aspects of the student experience even prior to the pandemic. But it got accelerated in 2020 as India went into a lockdown. School counselling has developed swiftly in India and counsellors who are also known as influencers have an important role to play in the decision-making process for career choices and Higher Education options in India and overseas. While embracing the new normal, the high school counsellors have had to find innovative ways to support students.
Student engagement, in principle, is not confined to facilitating learning and retaining but includes behavioural and affective facilitation. School counsellors are developing relationships every day with students, teachers and parents. The realm of this relationship is also outside the classroom and is instrumental in paving the path for the students.
As we conceptualised this initiative, we put at the heart of it the needs of School Counsellors. We ran knowledge sessions to share the findings of the employability report (of returning Indian graduates) that the research team of Sannam S4 had produced for the school counsellors. We connected with high school counsellors across India, ran surveys to understand their needs, the needs of their students, what they value and what their aspirations are. The Sannam S4 team then initiated a season of podcasts with the counsellors’ titled “School Counselling in the Time of Coronavirus”. Various topics were discussed including diversity, career development and post-study employment, supporting students with low and mid-level scores, preparing students to live abroad, looking beyond the usual subjects’ choices and study destinations.
Finally, in November 2020 we started our knowledge series, a platform where Universities showcase the work they have been doing in the space and get an opportunity to connect, network and speak to school counsellors, students and other stakeholders including the officials from the Department of Education. Since then, this initiative has carried out sessions that have touched over 300 School Counsellors. The success of this initiative has been putting the needs of the Counsellors at the heart of it and running sessions that are meaningful to them and their students. We plan to continue in 2021 focussing on Sustainable Development Goals 2030 which cannot become a reality if our young people and those who teach them do not rally around these.
We hope that this Excellence Network will assist counsellors and educators in designing effective programmes for students and guide their educational goals based on their passion, interest and aspiration.
Sannam S4 reached out to high school counsellors across the country with a survey intended to gauge student needs and preferences, as well as personal professional development aspirations. The latter was indicated as the most sought-after skill.
With a diverse sample set comprising of respondents in schools following CBSE, IB, IGCSE, ISC and State boards, the insights gained have proven to be fruitful in designing this new initiative at Sannam S4.
According to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, as of 2019, approximately 753,000 Indian students were studying in foreign universities. This growing statistic places India second only to China with regards to students travelling abroad to pursue their higher studies.
Given this current scenario of education mobility, the need for quality career guidance counsellors is soaring.
Sannam S4’s School Counselling Excellence Network is a new initiative that brings together high school counsellors from across India to start off with, to participate in a wide variety of skill-building certifications and courses. The idea is to create a powerful and purposeful team of education specialists who can help steer student development and growth.
Season three brings to you insights from India’s school university counselors. We will hear from those on the front line as they support students to adapt to the new normal, the challenges, and changing choices.
Sannam S4 School Counselling Excellence Network is a knowledge platform designed to deliver benefits over the long term.
Through the expert certifications and courses, the following learning outcomes are expected to be achieved:
- Counsellors assimilate relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes within the specific domains of education and career counselling.
- Counsellors gauge student interests, & talents, and find the best academic fit.
- Counsellors establish connections with reputed universities across the world, enabling admissions to institutions.
- Counsellors monitor and track corporate openings in requisite industries, guiding placements.
The Network will deliver its programme digitally, through a combination of presentations, webinars and podcasts.
Over the last year, our education system underwent a lot of uncertainty around examination and result in timelines along with challenges arising due to the digital divide.
In order to explore alternatives to such challenges, we have come up with a panel discussion i.e. Pathways: Set the Foundation for the Future on 28 July at 5 PM (IST). Our education industry experts and alumni will share their experiences and how the right choice can help bridge the academic gap and achieve dreams. It would be great for students and counsellors to interact with the panel. This opportunity will not just benefit the student to understand and explore options for foundation studies but will also provide a deeper understanding on the career side.