The ASER 2017 report highlights the fact that while only 14.4% of the 14-18 year olds in India are not currently enrolled in school or college, this number tends to vary a lot with age. At the age of 14, only 5.3% are not enrolled, but by the age of 17 this percentage quadruples to 20.7% and further increases to 30.2% at age 18. With almost 10% of India's population in this age group, these percentages translate into large numbers of youth who are not in the formal education system.Antarang Foundation’s experience shows lack of awareness of career options results in adolescents and young adults making career and educational choices that are not based on their aptitude and interest, nor in line with industry needs. This in turn leads to a high dropout rate from higher education pathways that lead to career development. Antarang Foundation’s CareerAware model addresses this exact issue. Research also shows that career education and exploration have a positive impact on students staying in school and enables them to connect their school work to their futurechoice of work.
This is where Antarang Foundation’s flagship program CareerAware comes in. The primary objective of the Career Aware (CA) program is to help school children (in the 8th, 9thand 10thstandard) make more informed career decisions, in the process ensuring they remain in education till at least the age of 18 and equipping them with relevant skills.
An example to quote is that of Arifa, a 9th grade student of Turbhe MPS School in Mankhurd. Coming from a humble background, one that is characterized by familial and financial problems, Arifa was perplexed and couldn’t decide what she wanted to become in life. She hinted that not having a fixed career goal has been bothering her, and has also deterred her from studying hard. Post the intervention of the CareerAware program, we noticed a sea of change in young Arifa. Arifa was able to better understand her interests, aptitude, personality and realities, and after a lot of reflection and contemplation, stated that she now wished to become a bank manager. Not only was she was able to identify her career aspiration, but was also provided with knowledge of the requisite next steps.
The CareerAware program is being run largely in partnership with BMC and Maharashtra State government in day and night schools in Mumbai. In 2017-18, Antarang succeeded in scaling the outreach of its CA program to Udaipur and Pune cities. Since inception Antarang has reached out to close to 21,500 students through the CareerAware program with around 14,000 students being reached in 2017-18 alone.