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February 17, 2017



‘Career centres backbone of quality institutions’


Acclaimed education consultant and career counsellor Syed Azhar Husnain Abidi has said that systematic and well-established career development centres are the backbone of quality institutions in the 21st century and Pakistan is no exception. 

In his final presentation at the 7th British Counsellors’ Symposium at Beaconhouse National University (BNU) here on Thursday, he said the career counselling services were growing in the country and it was heartening to see the start of related professional qualifications in Pakistan. Syed Abidi, a recipient of the most coveted civil award Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, said the change was coming with many advantages such as students and parents’ satisfaction, improved parent-school relationship as well as curriculum improvement and improved teaching quality.

Saying that career counselling is an academic and professional process, he advised the career advisors and student counsellors to keep themselves abreast of related developments. 

Explaining the counselling process, Syed Abidi said establishing a relationship with the client was the first and foremost prerequisite which was followed by assessment and setting goals, timely intervention and finally termination and follow-up.

Talking about basic characteristics of counsellors, Syed Abidi said basic human qualities top everything and added awareness vis-à-vis cultural values was equally important.

He added that a counsellor should have sufficient knowledge and deep interest in helping people. Explaining the trust factor, he also said a counsellor should have respect for the personal autonomy of the client.

Syed Abidi, who has represented Pakistan in over 100 national and international seminars, conferences and fora, said guidance, coaching and mentoring though linked to counselling, the latter stood alone as well because there was a fine distinction in-between.  

“Define your own ethical values and always be truthful and loyal”, he advised the counsellors.  

Considered as an authority with more than 20 years rich experience as a provider of education counselling services, Syed Abidi also shared two case studies with the participants explaining as to how important counselling was. He anonymously shared the case of one of his clients who according to his assessment could never succeed as a doctor. The client did become a doctor but soon after he switched to civil services after passing a competitive exam. 

The second case was related to a female client who after counselling changed her mind and finally pursed a course that had career prospects and now working in one of the leading companies involved in marketing, sales and distribution of oil and gas in Finland.

The case studies were so engaging and interesting, the house expressed the response through a loud applaud. 

Syed Abidi, negating the myth that a counsellor would solve all problems, said a counsellor actually helped the clients think through their problems, provided insights, and help them to figure out how best to solve the problems for themselves.  

A question-answer session was also held in the end in which the participants put pertinent questions.  Earlier the daylong event featured different panel discussion and plenary sessions.

In her concluding remarks, British Council Pakistan Director Education Nishat Riaz said she had heard a lot about Syed Abidi but it was her first experience to attend his presentation and she really loved it.

She called Syed Abidi a “guru” in the field and urged the participants to follow his (Mr Abidi’s) advice of designing their own future.