The Caribbean Voice (TCV) applauds the decision of the Ministry of Education to finally place counsellors in high schools across Guyana. TCV has been lobbying for this since 2014.

We hope the roll out will start immediately and that once all high schools are staffed primary schools will also then get counsellors. The fact is that the issues affecting students in high schools and negatively impacting their development usually have their genesis long before these students enter high schools and addressing them at the entry level is so much easier than after the issues become embedded, ingrained and often times ‘chronic’.

We note in the media reports that counsellors will focus on addressing school dropouts. However, we hope that their ‘job descriptions’ will be much more embracing/inclusive and that all psycho social issues will be identified, diagnosed and addressed. We further hope that these counsellors will also be tasked with addressing the psycho social needs of school staff and provide scope for staff to become partners in dealing with issues faces by students.

We also suggest that each school have a family outreach/parent coordinator who will liaise between the home and the school, ensuring timely communication, and total involvement of the home, since issues often originate in the home/community and thus the home must become part of the redress and solution, even necessitating unlearning and relearning by parents. Without this school/home nexus, addressing the issues affecting students will be rather difficult, if not impossible.

Finally, given that parents must be facilitated and provided with scope to become part of the solution, the parent coordinator can be the person who will work with counsellor and school to plan focus groups with and training of parents as well as actual home visits when that becomes necessary.