More guidance needed, says official

Government is looking to assign guidance counsellors to the island’s primary schools sometime in the future.

Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Senator Harcourt Husbands, gave this assurance today.

Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education Senator Harcourt Husbands (left) and deputy principal at the UWI, Cave Hill Campus professor Clive Landis.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education Senator Harcourt Husbands (left) and deputy principal at the UWI, Cave Hill Campus professor Clive Landis.

He spoke after Vice President of the Barbados Association of Guidance Counsellors (BAGC) Saul Leacock expressed concern that primary school children needed guidance from professionals in choosing careers and dealing with a range of social issues before they enter secondary school.

Currently, there is one guidance counsellor in every secondary school except two – the St Leonard’s Boys School and St George Secondary – which have two guidance counsellors each. Some primary schools currently have one social worker.

Leacock said while it would help to have two guidance counsellors in all secondary schools or one guidance counsellor and one social worker, given the amount of work they have to do, he was more concerned that there were no guidance counsellors at the primary school level.

“The primary school is where that primary intervention must be had. Primary assessment, primary intervention, I know because I was a primary school teacher at one time, and I had to do counselling which helped to alleviate the problem of the child going into secondary school because we sought to remedy the situation while they were at the primary school level,” he said.

“So I see the importance of having a social worker and/or a guidance worker in the primary school to help with that work, but definitely there is a void or dearth of counselling intervention even at the secondary level because of the limited number of guidance counsellors and the heavy work load,” added Leacock.

Husbands said the Ministry of Education was “acutely aware of the need for some form of counselling and guidance at the primary level in education in Barbados” while pointing out that “for a number of years”, with the assistance of the Sandy Lane Trust, the Ministry of Education had introduced social workers in the primary school system.

“The economic situation and constraints such as these have not allowed us to expand that programme further, but it is certainly the view, the hope and aspiration of the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation that this programme will be expanded and extended as the situation permits,” promised Husbands.

Both Husbands and Leacock were speaking at the opening ceremony for the BAGC’s annual national career showcase at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.

Between 2014/2015, the Ministry of Labour spent approximately $100,000 on guidance counselling training. Officials anticipated that a similar amount would be spent on further developmental training, following the recent development of new standards.

Turning his attention to the need for young people to prepare for the world of work, Husbands said there continued to be “a static view” among some Barbadians that people should choose a career and stick to it. However, he said “that era” of having one job in a lifetime had ended and he encouraged students to prepare themselves to change careers at least four times in their working life.

“We are not only preparing people to fill position in the Civil Service, but we have the difficult task of preparing them for jobs that are not even created as we speak . . . . So we are preparing you for jobs not yet created but jobs that may be created, not in Barbados but in Dominica, not in Barbados but in Guyana,” he explained.

During the two-day showcase under the theme Embracing the Opportunity, which officially kicks off tomorrow at the Cave Hill Campus, over 5,000 students are expected to take part. More than 50 careers are expected to be on display.

2 Responses to More guidance needed, says official

  1. Natalie January 13, 2016 at 6:12 am

    The Government of this country is being ill-advised because the School system really needs trained Social Workers who are skilled to help with the current social problems that schools are experiencing by assessing the children in their environments using a Systems Theory Approach.
    Guidance Councillors do Career guidance. Several papers were written on this issue but it appears that strategic cchoices are no longer necessary when making decisions i on Barbados. It appears as though decisions are now bbase on personalities.

  2. maxjustina January 13, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    In 1991 this topic was raised and I was so happy that I straightway began to study programmes that I believe would have equipped me to be an attribute to the lives of the children and families in the primary schools. In 1996 unfortunately, someone was eve-dropping on one of my conversations while I was in a fast-food place and went and told their brother-in-law that I told someone that I had been giving him clothes and perfume. To this date I have never had reason to make such utterances. I had never had to give this person anything during the time that I knew him. He had never asked me for anything. We had a good friendship because s he had stated, he liked the way that I spoke in general and that I was “intelligent”. Maybe, if I was so intelligent, I would have ignored his advances. As a result of the misinformed words spoken to this man, his close friend who was at the MOE then, made sure that I could not get a job as a teacher, I could not be a GC or anything that would have carried the stamp of the MOE – all as a result of words spoken by the sister-in-law of the man. My God, I still feel sory for myself. Nineteen years later, I am not much further than I was in 1996 because as I was told: “the church has blocked me”. I have suffered many setbacks, conspiracy of lies, defamation of character, loss of opportunities for promation. Actually, one day after meeting a man who sat on a panel to interview me for the post of teacher, he stated: “I do not try to lick down walls that anybody put up”. I have now become an old battered woman who has not been able to realise my destiny. My health is not good and I am experiencing many demonic attacks by a person or persons who believe that living a holy life is nonsense. Also being in possession of the appropriate M Sc I was cautioned by a body of professionals not to used the designation of the said M Sc. The effects of a prolonged heightened stress level has taken its toll on my health in at least six parts of my body to date. ALL BECAUSE OF WORDS THAT WERE MISQUOTED BY THE SISTER-IN-LAW OF A PRIEST and the three (3) rituals that were performed for the purpose of decreeing (1) making war between my bosses and I, (2) not having any finances and (3) not having a partner – since 1996. May those who had a hand in the whole process, reap their just rewards. I had never, or have never had cause to speak ill against that priest but have had to bear persecution, torment, a destroyed character, being out of money at least 25 days out of every month for the past 19 years, being insulted, loss of persons whom I believed to be friends, deprivation of promotions but made to work very hard – which somehow I truly enjoyed, especially within the last 15 years. Now, the topic of GC in primary Schools is back on the tables. I am no longer functional in the service.


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