HCM City schools in desperate need of counsellors
  • | | August 30, 2011 09:04 AM

Many schools in Ho Chi Minh City are facing the serious shortage of child counsellors.

Students of Nguyen Trung Truc High School attend a counselling course

A number of local schools have failed to recruit counsellors despite having permission, while others have been able to employ them, but lack the infrastructure for them to work.

Many schools now have counsellors, but they lack facilities to be able to offer the privacy needed for effective work.

Huynh Thi Thanh, a psychological counsellor at Tan Thoi Hoa School, Tan Phu District said her schools had over 2,000 students. She regularly gave advice on dozens of cases a day, but was forced to drop some due to lack of time. She added that due to the overload, it was difficult for her to achieve the best results.

Nguyen Thi Dinh High School in District 8 has just added a school counsellor to its teaching programme, but due to teacher shortages, civics teachers also act as consultants.

Dr. Nguyen Thi Bich Hong from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education said that according to a study in the US, up to 20% of children aged between 5 and 15 require treatment for their mental health problems. Around 1-2% of them suffer from serious problems. Therefore, counselling centres at school are very necessary to take care of student mental health.

She noted that the failure to recruit psychological counsellors was due to limited finances. The counsellors are offered the same salary as normal teachers, while they face a huge workload.

Dr. Dinh Phuong Duy, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Psychology Association said that with a rise in school violence, counselling had an ever-important role to play.

He highlighted that more training courses should be held for counsellors to help them raise their abilities.

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training has asked all primary, secondary and high schools to have counselling rooms on school premises. Schools which do not have any counsellors must assign senior teachers to be responsible for the work.


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