IN response to Rwandese government’s policy vision 2020, the educational and occupational scene is changing fast, and yet our students in schools find themselves in the grip of personal adjustment problems.
The only answer to this problem is for students to be given the opportunity to see a variety of possible options through a well established educational guidance and counseling program, which needs to be introduced in schools to meet the varied needs of the educational system, the administration and the students.
The emphasis on intellectual development through the teaching of subjects alone cannot help in the total development of the student. That is why an educational guidance and counseling program is necessary.
There has to be a basic and a fundamental change in our entire system of education in Rwanda; a change which recognizes that no matter how much a human being is educated in the sciences, arts and languages, he/she remains a barbarian unless he/she knows something about themselves and respects others.
Educational guidance and counseling program in our schools should be begun as a necessary step to be taken because of the events of 1994 which left many people with physical and psychological scars.
Today, students in schools in Rwanda face problems ranging from poor academic performances, career decisions, conflict among students and teachers, HIV/AIDs, drug addiction, trauma and many others.
All these factors necessitate that measures be taken to find out ways and means for canalizing the students’ energy in productive educational pursuits that could arrest the downward trend of academic standards and ease their emotional tension and anxieties.
The Ministry of Education has the duty to train counselors so that each school in Rwanda has a counselor designed to help each student to adjust to his/her environment.
Many school leavers end up on the streets, and some keep on moving from job to job. Because the majority of them were not aware of their potential, they simply join the allotted courses, and after getting their qualifications, tend to quit their jobs when they cannot find satisfaction.
Don’t say that it’s because their salaries aren’t good enough.
The biggest reason for the above problem is the lack of student guidance and counseling, where students choose their own career without external pressures.
Therefore, our education ministry should train teacher-counselors, preferably degree holders in psychology or education, selected from the different Provinces, to undergo a comprehensive training in guidance and counseling for a short period of time.
By the time trainees have reached the end of the training, they should be competent and confident enough in their counseling skills to train other school counselors.
After the program has activated teacher-counselors shall be able to help students at school and after school in solving their problems.
These student issues shall be handled professionally. I want to inform our Ministry of Education that providing just academic material to students is not enough.
This is because students also need career, personal and social guidance and counseling. Please, let’s avoid making our off-spring half-baked educationally.
Let’s give them the kind of education we weren’t able to get ourselves.
Mutezintare John Bosco is a PhD candidate at the School of Education, Makerere University