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Research on effectiveness of services of Counsellors in Delhi government schools; UNFPA Study
The very first counsellors in Delhi Government Schools were appointed in the 1960s and the services have been running for more than 50 years. There had been a large lapse in time between the first formalized appointment of in-house school counsellors in government schools and the present day, due to which the monitoring and evaluation of these services could be considered significantly overdue. Prior to scaling up the services and implementing a large scale intervention, it was considered imperative to look into the current systems in place to cater to the counselling needs of school students, in terms of its approach and the effectiveness with which it addresses this specific population in the present context.

Within this context, in the academic year 2015-2016, the UNFPA commissioned Manas Foundation to undertake a ‘Study of School Counselling Services’ in Delhi Government Schools. It’s an in-depth qualitative study of the current status of the counselling mechanism as understood from the perspectives of all the stakeholders involved: counsellors, students, principals and teachers, as well as the Directors of the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) and the EVGC Bureau as heads of the relevant overseeing bodies.

A total of 16 schools were visited as a part of the research, out of which 11 were implementation schools and 5 were non-implementation schools. Detailed interviews were conducted with all the stakeholders involved in the system, including the students, teachers, guest counsellors, EVGCs, YUVA helpline counsellors, and the principals. In each school, focused group discussions were held with a group of 8-10 students.

Some of the key findings of the research for the academic year 2015-2016 are:

? Counselling services were available to students of approximately 12% Delhi Government Schools on a shared basis.
? Basis for placement of counsellors at schools was not clear.
? System of shared counsellors appeared to lack consistency.
? High need for counselling services was reported by all stakeholders.
? EVGCs were noted to have permanent posts and multitasking responsibilities, compromising availability to schools.
? Guest counsellors were contractually attached to schools with minimal supervision.
? Lack of clarity in governance & supervision of different aspects of the counselling mechanism was noted: recruitment (DOE), supervision (EVGC Bureau), training (SCERT)
? Lack of infrastructure: counselling rooms were not available in most schools.
? Lack of resources and initiative to upgrade skills and capacities of the counsellors.
? No scope for appraisal or promotion of counsellors: adverse effects on motivation on the job.
? Lack of clarity on expected roles and responsibilities of counsellors.
? Only 5 out of 11 principals saw individual counselling as a core duty, whereas all 11 counsellors reported this as a core counselling responsibility.
? All schools were noted to focus on group interactions based on syllabus outlined by the EVGC Bureau and Career Mela
? Only 4 out of 11 principals reported career counselling and family sessions as part of the duties of a counsellor.
? Focus was on educational and career counselling with Classes 10 and 12
? Availability of counselling services to other classes was restricted.
? Associated lack of awareness was noted amongst students regarding availability of counselling services particularly in younger classes.

The structural recommendations of the UNFPA-Manas Study presented to the Directorate of Education included two key action points that could be initiated to begin enhancing the counselling services currently available to the government school students:

? Hiring of additional counsellors to be placed in the government schools to expand the supply of counselling services to the students
? Provisions for specialized training and capacity-building of counsellors in technical skills and other relevant areas for their work
 
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