Shortage of Counselors in Schools

Shortage of Counselors in Schools

Hiring social workers in schools to help reduce violence and improve students’ conduct is not feasible at the moment due to the lack of sufficient funding, says the head of the Guidance and Counseling Office at the ministry of education. Abolghasem Easamorad told the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) that only a handful of schools are privileged with full-time counselors, and said ‘’serious efforts are on to make them available in all schools and at the same time optimize the use of existing counselors.”
‘’We are keen to make use of all experts in counseling and clinical psychology, but unfortunately this is not feasible,’’ he said.

 Lack of Funds
Easamorad noted that at the moment “there is a shortage of counselors in elementary and junior high schools” and employing more staff “is not within our power as the allocation of funds is the job of the parliament.’’
Elaborating on the differences between a counselor and a social worker, he said “counselor is a generic term that can be applied to anyone who can improve the behavior of people and society at large” and help prevent social ills.  
“This is while social workers can help more individuals in particular cases, but since much of their work overlaps, social workers and counselors can help schools in a number of areas,” Easamorad maintained.

He also referred to the ongoing general exam to assess the work of counselors and grade them accordingly, saying the test will single out the ‘’more powerful’’ counselors to help ‘’the less resourceful’’ people. Professional counselors will also be trained to further enhance their work.
In the meanwhile, Easamorad said services of assistant counselors are being used; that is, “we train eligible teachers and students to aid us in improving the demeanor of school children.’’  
Earlier, the deputy minister of education had announced that school counselors would be graded according to their qualifications. Hamid Reza Kaffash quoted by ISNA said an exam will be taken to assess the competence of the counselors. He added the initiative is aimed to organize them and thus enhance their counseling work.  
According to the ministry of education, the number of students in Iran is 12.18 million, including seven-year olds studying in elementary schools to 17-year-old high school seniors. 

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