Guidance and Counselling Policy Launched

Story Highlights

  • The Guidance and Counselling Unit in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has launched a policy aimed at creating certain objectives, strategies and performance standards for the guidance and counselling profession in schools.
  • Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, said the launch of the Guidance and Counselling Policy represents a continuation of efforts to improve governance in schools.
  • In his address, read by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dean-Roy Bernard, at the Policy’s launch at the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Library on January 31, Senator Reid noted that the Policy was developed in the context that homes and schools represent training grounds for character building.

The Guidance and Counselling Unit in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has launched a policy aimed at creating certain objectives, strategies and performance standards for the guidance and counselling profession in schools.

The Policy sets up a framework around the operations of guidance counsellors and a strategy to hold counsellors and schools accountable to the expectations of the Ministry.

Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, said the launch of the Guidance and Counselling Policy represents a continuation of efforts to improve governance in schools.

“It ensures that administrators and teachers are equipped with a policy that prepares and guides them for all areas in the life of our students,” he said.

In his address, read by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dean-Roy Bernard, at the Policy’s launch at the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Library on January 31, Senator Reid noted that the Policy was developed in the context that homes and schools represent training grounds for character building.

“In these environments, the child may learn lessons about human individuality and dignity and about responsible freedom and love,” he said.

“We want our children to know love and care within and beyond the walls of the classroom. We want to help them make sensible and responsible decisions, and we want to help them broaden their vision about what they can become,” he added.

The Minister further noted that there is the need to address the level of professionalism that is offered in the name of guidance and counselling and to ensure that students receive the needed psychosocial interventions in addressing what they encounter in their lives.

“We have long realised that our mandate that is streamlined through the Guidance and Counselling Unit is to influence, shape behaviours and encourage positive values and attitudes, which is clearly articulated in a number of polices,” he said.

They include the Reintegration of School-Age Mothers into the Formal School System, Health and Family Life, and the Programme for Alternative Student Support (PASS).

The Policy is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, and others of special interest.

“What drives it is the knowledge that our guidance counsellors are game changers in the lives our children,” said Senator Reid.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of the Jamaica Teachers ‘Association (JTA), Dr. Margaret Chin, said the Policy is timely and serves to strengthen the position of guidance counselling across the nation’s schools.

“I am sure that this Policy will serve to guide counsellors in carrying out duties as professionals who answer to the needs of our children. This policy could not have come at a better time,” she said.

Dr. Chin noted that her organisation supports the Guidance and Counselling Unit in the promotion of high educational values and ensuring that all students, especially the most vulnerable, have access to the full range of services available to them in the school system.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Country Representative for Jamaica, Mark Connolly, expressed pleasure at the Policy coming to fruition.

He pointed out that the Policy represents a key component of UNICEF’s country programme for Jamaica, as schools play a significant role in keeping children “safe and alive”.

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