President of the National Graduate Teachers Association (GNAT), Angel Carbonu is urging the Ghana Education Service (GES) to revamp its guidance and counselling system following the publication of research on the drug menace in schools.
Speaking on The Probe, he revealed that there is no effective counselling system in the GES, adding that usually the staff assigned to the job also double as teachers.
“I don’t think we have an effective counselling system in the Ghana education service. Let’s call spade a spade”.
“What type of counselling do you expect counsellors to do if they are teaching 30 hours per week. I think if we want to talk about serious counsellors, the counsellor in the school should have counselling as his core job,” he said.
Mr Carbonu stated that it will be efficient and productive if GES visited schools and assess their guidance and counselling departments “properly.”
He asked the Service to find out especially in basic schools, if there is a counsellor in the district office and how many times those counsellors visit the schools to help restructure the system.
“There is a need for us to take a second look at the counselling situation in our schools. From where I sit and from what I have observed it is nothing to write home about,” he added.
This comes after a report by the Consultative Committee to Combat Drug Menace in Schools established that about 54.1% of boys in Junior High and Senior High Schools use cannabis.
According to a survey which was carried out by the Committee, 59.9% of boys tend to use cigarettes more in schools.
It further established that 36% of boys and 32.1% of girls use alcohol in schools, while 34.3% of girls use shisha. It was also recorded that 72.7% of girls use pain relievers.
Meanwhile, Director of Guidance and Counselling at the Ghana Education Service Mrs Ivy Kumi said these students who are going through tough situations are allowed to see counsellors.
However, many schools have pushed the idea of seeing counsellors as a punitive measure thus children are discouraged, she told Emefa Apawu on the show.
Mrs Kumi said the counselling departments in the district assemblies across the country are functional, adding “we have counselling units at all levels.”
She admitted, however, that the offices were in poor shape which inevitably affected their work output.
But Mr Carbonu disagreed with her statement on districts assemblies having working counselling departments.
“There is no effective system in the Ghana Education Service. What we have in our schools is not that type of counselling Mrs Kumi wants us to believe. There is a need for us to take a second look.”