Deputy minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thi Nghia told the Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper that the ministry was working on a plan to establish counseling offices in school.
First and foremost, the ministry's view on the matter is that counseling offices will play an important role in providing students with psychological guidance and support, especially high school students who are going through adolescence and experiencing numerous psychological issues including peer-to-peer, academic or family related problems.
A workshop was organised recently by the ministry to collect opinions and feedback from relevant agencies and organisations including several schools from HCM City which had successfully established and operated counseling offices for many years.
Schools are encouraged to take the initiative and set up their own counseling office as soon as possible. The ministry will soon finalise required legal framework to help guide them through the procedure.
What are the obstacles in the establishment of counseling office in the Vietnamese school system?
As of now, schools are not allowed to employ dedicated counselors. They have to rely on existing staff and assign the task to teachers who were already burdened with their own responsibilities.
The ministry's immediate solution is to provide them with additional training to improve their counseling capacity and techniques. Schools were asked to nominate and send their most experienced and suitable teachers to attend these training courses.
That means teachers were forced to take on counseling as an extra responsibility to their job. How does it affect the quality of counseling service?
The quality of dual-task counseling service is, of course, not sufficient. Teachers were only qualified and equipped to tackle normal and ordinary issues. In more serious cases, students must seek help from professionals including medical experts.
The best available method to early detect psychological disorders students might be struggling with was co-operation and frequent communication between parents and teachers.
The ministry also consider implementing successful practices in foreign countries to find most suitable models for the Vietnamese school system.
Some experts have said that the current curriculum, which was often said to be too burdensome, has a negative effect on Vietnamese students' mental health. What's the ministry approach to tackle that?
The country's general education programme is being petitioned to collect feedback from the public as stipulated in a recent National Assembly's resolution.
We are in the process of switching from a knowledge-heavy education model to a skill-development education model. In the new programme students would have less mandatory subjects and more opportunities to develop their ability to create and socialise. — VNS