Students' and graduates' decision-making basically vary in different particular countries and regions, sexes, cultures, socioeconomic status, and intellectual. Meanwhile, the scholars and researchers eventually shown different conclusions of decision-making among high school student or even students who are at the colleges. Based on the studies, Crites declared that there were 30 percent of students are "undecided during they study at high school or college years" (1969), but Fottler and Bain found only 18 percent among senior high school in Alabama (1980). However, Marr's longitudinal study (1965) somewhat reported that 50 percent make subject choices until about the age 21. Surprisingly, Hollender has done another study and shown that their decision-making vary according to their intellectual characteristics (as cited in Herr, Cramer, & Niles, 2004). He has also shown that the decidedness between boy and girls were similar from lower quartile to the highest, but the intellectual (1974). Based on the researches, high school students assumedly need more career guidance and availability of career information. Hence, career development program has been increasingly developing and eventually use from one level to another. This program is popularly used for secondary school and university level and some others.
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Cambodian ancestors' slogan stated that "Parents are primarily the first teacher, while teacher at school is the second". Somewhat, students basically regard as children who live with, feed by, and long-life care of by family. Their lives are more likely influenced by it and somehow others such as friends, society and traditional perception. What if in the developing countries likely to Cambodia where more than half of total population is in the age under 20. For some sensible reasons, people evidentially rely on the decades of the civil wars that brought "drama political sock: massive killings and starvation, large-scale population transfers, forced labors on collective farms, and an almost complete destruction of school system" (Walque, 2004). In today, young Cambodian adults learn through modeling especially from older adults and so they need to act as a good role model (Mansfield, 2008). "To improve education quality and accessibility is to strengthen schooling and build a strong relation with family." For instance, YEP final report (2009, p. 31) has shown that 83% of high school students' decision for continuing study after high school is related to family tie; 47% family cannot support, 32% want to help family, and 4% no family encouragement. Surprisingly, more males (35%) are more likely to help family than females (30%), while 5% of female face discouragement from family compare to male only (4%). More students are likely to spend some times after high school to work and earn money and they then continue their studies at universities or vocational schools.
In Cambodia, education system and policies have also eventually been established and renewed from time to time by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS). Based on the Education for All National Plan 2003-2015, the Curriculum Development Policy has been established in 2004 for the year 2005-2009. In the mean time, the policy and completed text books, however, were sent and used in school till 2009. Therefore, once this policy aims to "develop fully the talents and capacities of all students in order that they become able people, with parallel and balanced intellectual, spiritual, mental and physical growth and developmentâ€¦", at some schools; - mostly under the support of development partners, have set some appropriate life-skills, labor information centers, and career preparation programs within. Despite, those programs are not equally spreading out country wide while the school resources are not well equipped. Since 2009, however, National Employment Agency (NEA) was established under the jurisdiction of National Training Board and in charge of the office of the Council Ministers, started building Job Center in different provinces throughout the country. These centers are built for the aims of "each of NEA's job centre functions as a front office where a great deal of labor market information service is provided to its users who are mainly job seekers, employers and training providers. In this respect, each job centre plays a role as a hub of all market demand-and-supply information to the three main stakeholders. Notably, employers can use the job center(s) to carry out their interview with job applicants. Also, training providers can conduct their training sessions at any of the job centers". There are currently five centers in five provinces. The director of Siem Reap Job Center was asked and he assisted that he does not know that there is the existent Curriculum Development Policy within schools which students are obliged to decide subject choice. This evidence shows the lack of linkage and coordination between this job center and schools or education policy.
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YEP Project-CAMFEBA (June 2008) regarded itself as the first research survey to analyze in-depth linkage between youth and job-market in Cambodia. Its report shown that 67 percent of Cambodian high school students wanted to continue their studies for higher education at; universities and vocational training schools, while other 30 percent wanted to find job after graduated high school. Without granted a scholarship, those students who wanted to continue their studies after high school there are 88 percent of males and 90 percent of females find job and then study. This is a way that most students do in order to save money for their further studies at higher education especially for low socio-economic students.
I.2. Problem Statement
Career education or development program is widely used over the world, but Cambodia. To date, however, Cambodian government have been working very hard under limited resources and established more standard curriculums and agencies; the Curriculum Development Policy, Job Center and Local Life Skill program or maybe other related programs might help to guide and sharpen students for one of the main aspects of education that is work. However, there is no clear explanation and appropriate local life skills program have been widely used and practiced at high school in order to provide students well-preparation for the decision and future career. What does the school do to provide career education? What are those related programs? How are those activities response to the aims of the new policy of Curriculum Development?
I.3. Research Questions:
This study basically explores the career education or calls job related skills in one Cambodian high school and grade 12 students' destination after graduated. This research will be conducted in order to fully response to the questions as follow;
1. What does high school X do to assist their student for career and subject choices in order to achieve the curriculum policy aims of "â€¦develop a love of learning that will enable them to pursue employment and continue life-long learning. â€¦have employment related skills, an understanding of and positive attitude towards workâ€¦".
- What do teachers at school X do to specifically prepare students' life after the grade 12 exam?
Generally, to find educational resources in Cambodian context is not easy and sometimes lack of accessibility. Limited resources and research findings leave scholars the difficulties to provide crucial evidences for all argument and conclusion. Thus, one objective in this study is to provide more useful resources for further studies as needed. Moreover, the exploration of career education and current job related skills programs which relate to the grade 12 students' decision-making and career preparation is another objective. Its results will also help government, educators, researchers or scholars, and all related stakeholders to get deeper understanding in how, what should they do to implement and set up effective programs for students and to reduce blur and mismatch. Researcher purposefully will provide more reflections of the Curriculum Development aims in response to the real practice in one high school.
II.1. Historical and Contemporary Cambodian Education
In the past few decades, Cambodian education system has historically been through three lines of movement trends (Ayres, 2000). It was first well-known developed during 1960s-1970s, but was then mostly destroyed by the Khmer Rouge regime. It has temporarily been suffering after the decades of civil wars especially the Khmer Rouge ones. The last trend is "market-oriented nature of contemporary education system is struggling to overcome the entrenched practices and ideologies of its socialists past". In the mean time, the author argued the lack of drawing upon the broader historical and cultural context. As quoted in, Phillip Coombs, the director of the United National Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), comprised "the key to unlock the door to modernization" in educational crisis. Coombs suggested the "modernization of educational management, teacher, learning process, and priority targets" for educational leaders.
One of the main aspects of education is to create a workforce with skilled people among citizens for any economic situation they enter in placement (UNDP, August 2011). Thus, education sector is always prioritized among others by the government. Some policies have been renewed during the period of changes; globalization, regionalization and localization.
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General education system in Cambodia has changed several times for the last few decades. The contemporary one is for 12 years; grade 1 to grade 12, however, preschool and kindergarten are considered as in Early Childhood program. Besides the last two years which are grade 11 and 12, there is a local life-skill program included in the schooling. It means local life skills program is included in basic education (grade 1 - 9) and grade 10. With development partners, Cambodian government has gradually been trying to standardize and modernized the system and policies along the way.
II.2. Career Education in International Perspective
To realize the students' needs, labor-market demand or requirements, and mismatch reduction between graduates; include secondary school students, most countries around the world; especially developed countries, have tried to set up more services to serve students and prepare students to go to the right place and decide their best subject or career choice. Since then "Career education or career development program" has been constructed among governments, institutions, educators and schools. Therefore, researchers gradually started writing and conducting articles and researches on this area. The first publication, in 1909, was published by Parson's Book which was titled "Choosing Your Vocation" and many other authors then started developing and evolving both theories and practical researches. However, several of them have been eventually used by scholars and researchers. Those are in the theories of Holland (1997), Super (1990), Lofquist and Dawis (Dawis, 1996; Lofquist & Dawis, 1991), Krumboltz (Mtchell & Krumblotz; 1990, 1996), and Gottfredson (1981, 1996), notwithstanding, Astin (1984) and Hackett and Betz (1981) shown off the inappropriate explanation by Super's as it primary focus on whites'. Eventually, the theories have made some changes (as cited in Lee & Duane, 2000). There are many different terms have been derived and used based on the term of career such as career education, career development, career choice, career information, career counseling, career guidance, career center and career development intervention. Each of them is currently used differently in different countries, interchangeably, is sometimes confused. The definitions of those terms have been compiled from different resources and authors as cited in Niles and Harris-Bowlsbey (2009);
Rather than limiting the definition of career to work, we advocate viewing career as a lifestyle concept. Accordingly, we concur with super's (1976) view of career as the course of events constituting a life, and Herr et al.'s (2004) notion of career as the total constellation of roles played over the course of a lifetime â€¦ . Border definitions highlight the multiple life roles people play and acknowledge differences across people regarding life-role salience generally and the importance of work in people's lives in particular (Richardson, 1993). For example, broad definitions of career apply to those locating work in the life role of homemaker or in volunteer activities.
Career development refers to the lifelong psychological and behavioral processes as well as contextual influences shaping one's career over the life span. As such, career development involves the person's creation of a career pattern, decision-making style, integration of life roles, values expression, and life-role self-concepts (Herr et al., 2004).
Career development interventions, defined broadly, involve any activities that empower people to cope effectively with career development tasks (Spoke, 1991). For example, activities that help people develop self-awareness, develop occupational awareness, learn decision-making skills, acquire job-search skills, adjust to occupational choices after they have been implemented, and cope with job stress can each be labeled as career development interventions. Specifically, these activities include individual and group career counseling, career development program, and computer information delivery systems, as well as other forms of delivering career information to clients.
Career counseling involves a formal relationship in which a professional counselor assists a client or group of clients to cope more effectively with career concerns (e.g., making a career choice, coping with career transitions, coping with job-related stress, or job searching). Typically, career counselors seek to establish rapport with their clients, asses their clients' career concerns, establish goals for the career counseling relationship, and intervene in ways that help clients cope more effectively with career concerns, evaluate clients' progress, and, depending on clients' progress, either offer additional interventions or terminate career counseling.
Career education is the systematic attempt to influence the career development of students and adults through various types of educational strategies, including providing occupational information, infusing career-related concepts into the academic curriculum, offering various worksite-based experiences, and offering career planning courses (Isaacson & Brown, 2000).
Career development program can be defined as "a systematic program of counselor- coordinated information and experiences designed to facilitate individual career development" (Herr & Cramer, 1996, p. 33). These programs typically contain goals, objectives, activities, and methods for evaluating the effectiveness of the activities in achieving the goals.
Herr et al. (2004) provided some methods in career guidance and counseling by additionally including some activities. Those are a career clusters, using self-directed career interest inventories, other sequential or comprehensive approaches, using community resources in career guidance, career guidance strategies for decision making and problem solving, simulation as career guidance strategy, information retrieval, career guidance strategies and work, other career guidance activities and techniques in junior high school, curriculum infusion, decision making and acquisition of career information, and community involvement (pp. 377-392).
Career education or development program has gradually been used and reinvented within countries over the world. The aims and purposes of this invention are even more likely differentiated based on not only social and local or regional, but global context and trends. There is no end for career education program while the world is globalized and the system is modernized.