OUT of 176 high schools in Fiji, about 25 or less have qualified counsellors to give expert advice to students.
This was revealed by the Ministry of Education's National Substance Abuse Advisory Council (NSAAC) director, Misaele Driubalavu.
The issue arose during public consultations on the Draft Volatile Substance Abuse Decree held in Lautoka on Wednesday, where statistics revealed that 212 cases of volatile substance abuse were recorded in schools for 2011.
Empower Pacific counsellors gathered to voice their views on the importance of qualified counsellors in schools to help children with problems they faced. When asked if the council was looking to work with Empower Pacific officials to help children, Mr Driubalavu said they were considering the possibility.
"We are looking for ways to forge some sort of long-term relationship because they are already working in the field in terms of offering counselling services to young people," Mr Driubalavu said.
"They are very passionate and we really appreciate this because here today, hearing some of their views was a great learning experience for us.
"Due to their work on the field, these counsellors know what is happening in communities and real situations, like young people who may have been abused and in traumatic situations, they offer counselling to these young people.
"That's the whole purpose of this exercise, to try and protect the lives of young people. The purpose of this decree is to minimise the harm done to children," Mr Driubalavu said.
He added there were many other problems children faced and there was a need for qualified counsellors to be present in schools to help them.