SADIA QASIM SHAH
PESHAWAR: “I have got a degree now but I am not sure if I would join the field,” said a girl graduate after getting a master degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Peshawar.
With a hurrah, cheering graduates tossed up their hoods after they were awarded degrees at a convocation ceremony held recently but many of the girls were not sure whether or what career or field they would or would not be joining.
“I am not very optimistic about my future. I didn’t have any guidance regarding why I should study journalism,” said a veiled Mehnaz, whose confusion was visible from her eyes.
Almost 500 graduates including 333 girls of the session 2011 were awarded degrees in different disciplines at the convocation but the girls, when asked about their future career plans, gave a pessimistic expression.
Some girl graduates said that they were finding it difficult to get a good job. Others said that their degree might go waste as their parents or in-laws would not allow them to do jobs. However, all those interviewed randomly admitted they were confused and did not know what to do after getting a degree.
“Girls often choose a subject because their friends have selected it but later they find their degree useless when they can’t get a job of their own liking,” said Neelam Shamsher, who herself was all set to join teaching.
She said that one should have a clear vision as to which field one wanted to join. She admitted that many girls often did not have any career guidance even at the university level.
The number of girl graduates was visibly more than the boys at the University of Peshawar, however, they decried that there were not many job opportunities and options for girls.
Prof Arbab Afridi, an educationist, said that there was no career guidance for students. Many girls either go into teaching or continue with higher studies like MPhil and PhD after their Masters.
“Many girl graduates join private sector schools even on low salaries because there is no other option with them due to social and cultural reasons,” said Prof Afridi.
Kosar, hailing from a conservative family of Bannu, was also not as happy as she should have been. She got a master degree in English Literature but said when she went for her first teaching job, she was asked to teach children of grade II. “When I looked at the salary and the level I had to teach, I simply quit,” she said.
She was not hopeful about career in any other field as her family might not allow her to take up any other job.
Ambreen, who hailed from Upper Dir, had done MSc in Statistics. She gotten married and said that she would go for becoming a lecturer because she like many girls didn’t have many option due to family’s strict values.
“I will get a teaching job because I am not allowed to do an office job,” she said.Each year the number of girls taking admission in master degree programme at University of Peshawar may show a rising trend but the graduates, especially girls, lack a clear direction due to many visible and invisible factors about their future after graduation.