The Context of School Counselling Services (1970s – 2016)
As of the academic year 2015-2016, counselling services were available at 12% of Delhi Government Schools through the placement of Educational and Vocational Guidance Counsellors (EVGCs) on a shared basis between schools. EVGCs were first recruited approximately 30 years ago, following which recent policy reforms (2013) opened up a contractual position for 25-30 Guest Counsellors who were additionally hired for placement at schools.
The objectives of the study:
• To understand the strengths and weaknesses of the existing counseling mechanism in Delhi Government schools.
• To assess the recruitment process, and criteria for selection for Yuva counsellors
• To provide recommendations for alignment of counselling services to better cater to the needs of the stakeholders in the system (students, teachers, staff, etc.) and scaling these up in Delhi Government Schools
The areas of inquiry of this Study:
● Recruitment process & criteria of selection for counsellors, implementation sites for counselling services
● Existing approaches, roles and responsibilities of counsellors
● Capacities of counsellors, gaps in the services with reference to current psychological needs of students
● Frameworks of utilization of counselling services and advantages of their availability in schools
● Governance structure of the counselling Mechanism, scope envisaged for counselling
● Yuva Helpline: recruitment, current roles and responsibilities, nature of work
The Methodologies of this Study:
Manas Foundation’s research team undertook in depth qualitative interviews and focus group discussions with students teachers, counsellors, and principals. Schools where counselling services are established, as well as those in which there was no availability of counselling services were incorporated into the study. A detailed ethical review of the research tools was done by an IRB board.
The Key Findings of the Study:
- Counselling services available to students of approximately 12% Delhi Government Schools on shared basis
● Basis for placement of counsellors at schools not clear
● System of shared counsellors not consistent
- High need for counselling services was reported by all
- EVGCs have permanent posts and multitasking responsibilities, compromising availability to schools. (Career Mela & Stress Management Workshops in multiple schools
● Some good practices observed despite multitude of expected roles
- Guest counsellors are contractually attached to schools with minimal supervision
- Lack of clarity in governance & supervision of different aspects of the counselling mechanism: recruitment (DOE), supervision (EVGC Bureau), training (SCERT)
- Lack of infrastructure: counselling room 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
Recommendations made by Manas Foundation & UNFPA via the Study to the DOE and SCERT
Recommendations for the Structure of the Counselling Mechanism, as well as for all Government Schools emerged from the study. For each school, the following main areas of intervention were understood through the study:
- Awareness of counselling services and their scope
- Prioritizing redressal of students’ mental health concerns
- Preventive measures for student well-being
Impact of the Study
The study report, findings and recommendations were shared by Manas and UNFPA with the Secretary, Education, Director, Education and the Special Director, Education at the Directorate of Education, GNCTD Delhi, in July 2016. The following actions were undertaken as a direct outcome of recommendations of the study.
● Appointment of 160 additional guest counsellors to be added to the cadre of school counsellors at government school
● A mandate for an in-depth induction training for all 160 counsellors by the Manas Foundation training team, incorporating components for addressing mental health concerns of children and adolescents.
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