Schools to get new guidance and counselling policy
The Guidance and Counselling Unit in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has launched a policy aimed at creating certain objectives, strategies, and performance standards for the guidance and counselling profession in schools.
The policy sets up a framework around the operations of guidance counsellors and a strategy to hold counsellors and schools accountable to the expectations of the ministry.
Portfolio minister Ruel Reid said that the launch of the Guidance and Counselling Policy represents a continuation of efforts to improve governance in schools.
"It ensures that administrators and teachers are equipped with a policy that prepares and guides them for all areas in the lives of our students. In these environments, the child may learn lessons about human individuality and dignity and about responsible freedom and love," he said.
"We want our children to know love and care within and beyond the walls of the classroom. We want to help them make sensible and responsible decisions, and we want to help them broaden their vision of what they can become."
ENCOURAGE POSITIVE VALUES AND ATTITUDES
The minister further noted that there is the need to address the level of professionalism that is offered in the name of guidance and counselling and to ensure that students receive the needed psychosocial interventions in addressing what they encounter in their lives.
"We have long realised that our mandate that is streamlined through the Guidance and Counselling Unit is to influence, shape behaviours, and encourage positive values and attitudes. This is clearly articulated in a number of polices," he said.
These policies include the Reintegration of School-Age Mothers into the Formal School System and Health and Family Life Education policies, as well as the Programme for Alternative Student Support.
The policy is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, and others of special interest.
General Secretary of the Jamaica Teachers' Association Dr Margaret Chin said that the policy is timely and serves to strengthen the position of guidance counselling across the nation's schools.
Dr Chin noted that her organisation supports the Guidance and Counselling Unit in the promotion of high educational values and in ensuring that all students, especially the most vulnerable, have access to the full range of services available to them in the school system.