Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Senator Harcourt Husbands yesterday made an appeal for more counsellors in primary schools.
Noting that there were only six professionally-trained counsellors in those schools across the island, he said there was a pressing need for more counselling services at the primary level to provide “emotional support” for children.
Senator Husbands addressed the issue as he spoke at the Sagicor Adopt-A-School launch, which was attended by principals of 11 primary schools that will benefit from the programme, along with the programme’s volunteers and Sagicor officials.
“We sorely need more people with counselling skills in the primary schools,” he lamented.
“We have not yet reached the stage in this country where we – and I’m saying we as a country, ministry and a people – offer our students that emotional support that is necessary for young people living in 2016.
“We lack that emotional support as a society. I don’t think we have reached that stage yet where we see it as critical to help these children. Not just condemn them, not just tell them how badly they are doing, but what support do we offer them?” the education official queried.
Senator Husbands urged the volunteers to contribute in any way possible, including offering their services in extracurricular activities, such as sports and music, or organizations such as Brownies and Boy Scouts.
“While you think of the grand things, there are simple, everyday things that might not take up as much time as you imagine that can be done,” he said.
Sagicor’s Vice President of Sales Gay Griffith revealed at the launch that the volunteers would cater to the needs of Hillaby Turner’s Hall Primary, Workman’s Primary, St John Primary, Eagle Hall Primary, Deacon’s Primary, Vauxhall Primary, St Mark’s Primary, St Catherine’s Primary, St Silas Primary, St Joseph Primary and Ignatius Byer Primary schools.
“We anticipate providing solutions in the areas of school beautification, health and safety, drives for supplies, infrastructure or equipment, nutrition, mentorship and career guidance and student and teacher incentive programmes,” he explained.
Griffith said the aim of the volunteer programme was to “have a positive impact on the communities in which we operate”.