Instead of expelling students whose behaviour is found wanting, the Ministry of Education should consider a policy that will require all schools to hire counsellors. It is unfortunate that in this age, with all the changes in our society, only a few schools have qualified counsellors.
Few teachers understand psychological and emotional needs of students. In some schools, there are teachers who also serve as counsellors, but they are not as effective because they are ill-equipped. Also, teaching takes most of their time and have little or no time left for counselling sessions with students. But there are those who still teach and counsel students. It becomes a big burden, and in the end, either teaching or counselling suffers.
Matters are worsened by the fact that relationships between teachers and students are antagonistic at times, which makes it hard for learners to trust them with their challenges.
At the same time, the society should stop seeing adolescents as trouble makers. We are quick to forget that some of the baggage they carry are from their families and not their own making. For instance, some of the bad behaviours we witness among youth are sometimes as a result of poor upbringing, abuse, lack of family support and harsh environment.
It is the failure to understand this and helping students find solutions that has led to undesirable behaviour among youth including drug abuse, stealing, bullying, cheating in exams and in some of the worst cases, arson attacks.
Some of these behaviours are as a result of bad influence because someone was not given a solid foundation when they were growing up. Bad influence may come from peers or even the media.
Research has shown anxiety and depression are on the increase among adolescents, some of whom are unable to express themselves. They end up hiding in drugs or other bad behaviours which is why every school must have counsellors.
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