30 March, 2018, 12:00 am
THERE is a need for the Ministry of Education (MOE) to ensure that all schools and education district have counsellors and to also establish student support services.
Misaele Driubalavu, a retired schoolteacher and the former director of the National Substance Abuse Advisory Council (NSAAC), made the recommendation during the national budget consultation at the De Vos on the Park in Suva last Saturday.
“I am surprised to learn that in 2015 the 29 counselling posts established in level 1 school were withdrawn by the ministry in the 2015 budget,” Mr Driubalavu said.
“I gather now that there are no counsellors in the 29 schools and the district education counsellors and divisional counsellors.
“I wonder where all the cases from schools are being referred to now, in view of the increasing number of substance and sex related offences.”
Mr Driubalavu, referring to the MOE-NSAAC IDADAIT Report 2016, said 95 per cent of the offences were violence and sex related.
He also highlighted that there was a provision in the Substance Abuse Advisory Council Act 1998 which allowed the council to lend grants to a body or association to engage in any field which the council was concerned with.
In his submission, Mr Driubalavu suggested the following strategies:
* implementation of the Substance Abuse Regulation which was approved and gazetted a few years ago; and
* refinement, consultation and adoption of the substance abuse grants policy which is already in a draft form.
Attorney-General and Minister for Economy and Education Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, during the week-long budget consultation, had also highlighted that there was a need to have trained and professional counsellors.