Malam Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education, has unveiled the National Policy on Counselling and its implementation guideline, to address increasing rate of anti-social behaviour in educational institutions in the country.
Adamu, in his address at the unveiling in Abuja on Thursday, noted that for almost 60 years, counselling services had been carried out in various educational institutions without a national policy and guideline.
He said absence of such policy had resulted in lack of a well-defined structure for delivering counselling services, poor communication among practitioners and stakeholders and absence of synergy among professionals.
The minister alsonoted that it had given room for inefficiency and ineffectiveness in the delivery of counselling services.
“The lack of a well-coordinated and consistent counselling practice in our basic and secondary schools has contributed in no small measure to the number of out-of–school children.
“Reduction in completion rate, increase in the rate of anti-social behaviour in schools and other vices militating against the development of our school children into responsible members of the society.
“Realising the important role counselling plays in the moral development and academic performance of learners in schools, the present management of the ministry decided to design and streamline the duties of counsellor,“ he said.
The minister said the policy also sought to entrench a regime of international best practices and to clarify all areas of possible conflict and misconception in the practice of counselling.
He added that it would also provide distinct and well defined guidelines that ensured role clarity and address the issues of role ambiguity in both schools and non school settings.
According to him, the implementation guideline which accompanies the policy was designed to facilitate and guide its implementation and ensure its feasibility and effectiveness as a policy.
Adamu said the implementation focused on and highlights, appropriate strategies and provides actionable options for executing the policy at all levels of the education system.
He said that with the rise in truancy, poor performance, cultism, drug abuse sexual harassment and decline in parental care, the need for counselling services became imperative.
Mrs Justina Ibe, Director, Education Support Services, Ministry of Education, said the policy and its guidelines were approved by the National Council on Education at its 78th meeting in Kano in 2017.
Ibe said the development of the policy became imperative in order to have proper counselling service delivery among professional counselling practitioners in Nigeria.
“For education to be complete, the individual beneficiary must have a good sense of self understanding, aptitudes, interest, impact of environment on his or her choices and expectations in attaining life goals.
“With this in mind, appropriate and informed guidance and counselling services become necessary to drive our educational policies, and by extension the national economy by ensuring all round development of the child.”