Education Minister commissions two more mobile counselling units

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, November 27, 2019

 Minister of Education, Hon. Dr. Nicolette Henry today commissioned two additional Mobile Psychosocial Units totalling $21M.

Minister of Education, Hon. Dr. Nicolette Henry handing over the keys to the units to Wendy Collins, Guidance Counselling Officer of the Ministry of Education.

At a simple commissioning ceremony held at the Education Ministry’s Brickdam Office, Minister Henry explained that the units will not only provide services in Region Four but in far-flung where it is most needed.

She added that it is expected that the services will go beyond just providing support to students and will be available to teachers and parents.

“…We should be in a position to offer support, if parents really need support and teachers as well, because a lot of the time we have parents and teachers that require some amount of Psychosocial councilling and welfare support and ….so we recognised that as a deficiency and it is something that we are working to address this.”

According to the minister, often the focus is placed on the academic achievement of a child and not the social issues that affect them. These units, she noted, will address that gap.

Regional Education Officer, Marcia Paddy-Andrews said that the ministry observed that issues are affecting the nation’s children which can often result in poor performances, absenteeism and truancy. With this in mind, the ministry has decided to procure these units that will ensure the children have access to the support required to address these issues.

Paddy-Andrews added, that the Mobile Psychosocial Unit is intended to identify and assist children with school-related problems and help foster a greater relationship between the parent and the school which the child attends.

“It is our hope that with the two additional units being brought into operations, sufficient sensitisations will be done so persons can access this service. Additionally, the communities will become au fait with the roles of the unity in the Psychosocial economic development of the child.”

The ministry is now equipped with three such units, as one was commissioned in November 2018.

The focus of the unit is to increase the learner’s ability to exercise control, reduce stress levels, enhance learners’ resilience, enable the use of effective coping skills, serve as a quick response to trauma and maximise the support of family and friends.

The mobile units fall under the ambit of the School Support Unit (SSU). The SSU is a consolidation of the Health and Family Life Education (HFLE), School Health and Nutrition, HIV and AIDS, Schools Welfare Services and the Guidance and Counselling units. The SSU now has the services of a Doctor in Psychology who will be guiding the intervention relative to the units.

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