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Sunday December 22, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday December 22, 2013 MYT 10:42:29 AM
by azman ghani, low lay phon, AND sam tham
It was an enriching experience for students and parents who visited the 26th Star Education Fair last weekend as they gained guidance on career prospects and study options.
ARRIVING at the Star Education Fair 2013 with four of their friends, school-leavers Kwong Yau Shang and Wong Wei Guang soon found themselves separated from the rest of the group.
As they waited for their friends, Yau Shang said he was happy with all the information he had gathered.
“We were not sure what we want to do for the future so we came here to take a look around, and to get a better idea of the different courses and possible paths we can take.
“They (the representatives manning the booths) gave a lot of information and advice, and even referred us to another institution when they thought that the course there was better for us,” said the 17-year-old.
Meanwhile, 17-year-olds Isyraf Haqim Mohd Tamizam and Ahmad Noh Abdul Rahim stayed at the fair for a good five hours.
“We’re tired but it’s our first time here and it’s been really interesting,” said Isyraf Haqim, adding that he wanted to study biology and also look at scholarships offered by the Star Education Fund.
“Science is fun,” said Ahmad Noh, who wants to study chemistry as “there are a lot of practical experiments involved.”
Coming all the way from Batu Pahat, Johor, Gajelan Rajakumar said he and his family left their home at 6am to survey his tertiary study options at the fair.
“This is our second year coming here, and I tell all my friends in Johor that they should come to the fair,” said his mother Vijayalatha Sundram.
She added that her son’s ambition of being a lawyer suited him, as “he talks a lot and has opinions on everything.”
In its 26th year, the annual Star Education Fair offers visitors the chance to explore first-hand the wide variety of tertiary options available to them.
Held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre last weekend, the fair saw around 200 local and foreign exhibitors taking up close to 600 booths.
The Star group managing director/ chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai said the fair was an opportunity for students to make informed decisions by asking course providers the right questions.
“With so many universities and colleges under one roof, this (the fair) is a great opportunity for students and parents to receive frank guidance from course providers,” he said.
StudyExcel Sdn Bhd senior consultant Tony Tan shared that he too had watched his son and daughter go through a period of uncertainty as they contemplated their tertiary studies.
“At one point, my son wanted to go into culinary arts, but I advised him that the career would not suit his lifestyle as he is a ‘people person’ and he would not have much leisure time while working in the kitchen,” he said.
Today, his son has gone into the film and media industry and Tan said that he seems to enjoy his work and lifestyle.
As many students are still unsure on which path to take, it was no surprise that “Options After SPM” was one of the most popular talks at the fair.
Both sessions over the two days saw packed audiences with only standing room left for those who arrived a few minutes late.
Speaking at the session, Malaysian Psychological Association vice president Dr Goh Chee Leong’s key message to students was to pursue careers that would give them meaning and fulfilment.
Dubbing parents’ worries over their children’s job prospects an “overestimated fear”, Dr Goh said students need to make sure that they choose a profession that suits their personalities and skills.
“It’s not about the profession or degree that guarantees a good living. If you are good in what you are doing, then you can earn a lot of money,” he said.
He added that more Malaysian families should be open to the idea of allowing their children to take gap years.
“We’re living in a global environment so open your eyes. There’s no need to rush; there are a lot of non-traditional pathways. Shop around,” he said.
Right after the talk, school-leaver Thavaneshan Kunasekaran said he had second thoughts about his college plans.
“The session was quite informative — it opened up options that are available to me, and made me think about what I have to do to further my studies in nuclear medicine,” said the 16-year-old.
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