The guidance and counseling department is one of the least valued but tremendously valuable departments in a school system. It acts as a compromise and an equilibrium stabilizer between the school administration and the students’ body.
Many school administrators are villains in the eyes of students because they are always condemning students.
When students see an administrator passing by, they begin to check themselves up in fear of being punished for either not tucking in or not putting on the right school shoes and so forth.
Administrator phobia should not be the reason why students behave well. If that is the case then the war against indiscipline shall be deemed lost.
Discipline should be an inbuilt character in the students. It should bring enduring behaviour change that can result in positive and laudable change.
It is in this view that I advocate for the establishment of functional guidance and counseling departments in schools.
The departments should be headed by highly qualified counselors with proven track records in teenage counseling.
If well used, the department can eliminate or drastically reduce indiscipline in schools. It can help students at being more open, always ready to conduct a dialogue with their teachers hence promote order and peace.
Counseling should take two dimensions, first, there should be focus on career guidance, which will help students to make proper career choices so that they can become what they want to become while the second counseling should focus on helping students in understanding their problems and come up with means of solving them.
The counselors should help explain why schools have rules and why it is important to abide by them.
Counselors’ can also play a key role in explaining why students are punished for various mistakes so that students can understand that punishment is not given out of hatred between them and teachers but just as negative behaviour inhibitive measure.
A key principle that disciplinary masters should grasp is that they should always try to restore the original relationship between them and students after punishing them.
Because punishment is not an end in itself, the counselors should come up with means of encouraging positive behaviour among students. By so doing, students can avoid punishments.
It is also the duty of the guidance and counselling department to occasionally remind students about the school rules and the consequences of breaking any of them. As this understanding is imparted on them, reasons for having each should be given so that students can take them positively.
The Rwandan ministry of education has spelt out tough measures to be taken against undisciplined students. Big offenses like involvement in drugs result in expulsion.
Students should know that drugs are not only prohibited in schools but also in the whole world at large. The repercussions in the outside world are more punitive.
More importantly, counsellors should be friendly and not part of the schools’ administration. Their work should be purely bridging the gap between students and the administration.
To make the program successful, let the English training program that is going on for francophone teachers include some training in guidance and counselling.
The author is the Director Of Studies at Nu Vision High School, Kabuga.