The increased rate of psycho-social issues among students has seen the Ministry of Education moving to hire councillors and establish counseling rooms at schools to address these issues.
There are currently, ten (10) counseling rooms in schools around Georgetown, where councillors work on a daily basis. The students, based on behavior patterns are referred for counselling to address the issues and effect behavioural change.
Chief Education Officer, Marcel Hutson, explained that these are some of the immediate actions that were taken in terms of dealing with behavioral patterns among students, was centered in the city.
“You know that when we talk about city life it is associated with all kind of issues, it is not to say that we don’t have those issues in the hinterland, but we are moving out. We have started with the problematic areas so it’s more of a scientific approach and we roll it out as me move ahead,” he said.
Hutson noted that there are children with many issues, issues that will ultimately affect their education, hence the initiative is timely. “Sometimes children just need someone to talk to, someone to give them the kind of guidance that they need in terms of how they deal with life issues,” the Chief Education Officer was quoted as saying by the Department of Public Information (DPI)/Government Information Agency (GINA).
Teachers alone cannot suffice in terms of guiding the students, Hutson said, noting that the teacher has his/her job to do, which is to facilitate learning and ensure the curriculum is covered at the end of the academic term.
“Teachers can’t be spending the entire day dealing with children and their issues because teachers have their job to do, it is not to say that the teachers do not participate and help. So we need to expand the counseling programme. We are not where we want to be as yet, but I think we are in a good place by establishing these rooms in schools,” Hutson reiterated.
Hutson emphasised that there are not enough counselors in the schools, therefore the Ministry is working on recruiting adequate counselors to man the counseling rooms, towards ensuring that every school has at least one counselors.
The Ministry also has a School Welfare Unit which is responsible for monitoring children with social issues and truancy. The Welfare Department is involved in home visits, networking with other social service agencies, parent sensitisation, talks with children, visits to schools, and community outreach programmes