Major Challenges Facing Teacher Counselors in Schools in Namibia
Education Journal
Volume 2, Issue 3, May 2013, Pages: 77-84
Received: May 5, 2013; Published: May 30, 2013
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Authors
John Mushaandja, Department of Educational Foundations and Management, University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia
Cynthy Haihambo, Department of Educational Psychology and Inclusive Education, University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia
Tania Vergnani, HIV and AIDS Programme, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa
Elzan Frank, Child and Family Unit, University of Stellenbosch, Matieland, Stellenbosch, South Africa
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Abstract
There was a significant number of learners in Namibian schools whose psycho-social circumstances were dire as a result of a variety of socio-economic, psychological and cultural factors. The learners needed psycho-social support. Instead of appointing qualified school counselors, the Ministry of Education directed schools to appoint teacher counselors (lay counselors) to render this support. Teacher counselors are teachers who are entrusted with the responsibility of rendering lay counseling services to learners in the school setting. Some teachers volunteered to become teacher counselors, others were elected by their fellow teachers, and others were nominated by their principals because they had lighter workloads or were doing work that was related to counseling. This study attempted to identify the major challenges facing the teacher counselors. The study made use of a qualitative approach. Forty nine teacher counselors from 18 primary and secondary schools in three regions constituted the sample. The data collection instruments were documentary analysis, individual interviews, focus group discussions/interviews, and informal interactions. Many teacher counselors were committed and motivated to make psycho-social interventions and acted as advocates for the learners. In many schools, little (if any) real counseling took place; most interventions were practical and/or focused on motivating learners not to become disheartened. The study revealed that the teacher counselors were facing many challenges including unavailability of appropriate space and time to counsel learners, and lack of skills to effectively address learners’ psychosocial needs. The teacher counselors recommended, inter alia, that they be appointed full time, and that principals should attend counseling training so that they understand and support teacher counselors.
Keywords
Namibia, Teacher Counselors, Counseling, Psycho-Social Support
To cite this article
John Mushaandja, Cynthy Haihambo, Tania Vergnani, Elzan Frank, Major Challenges Facing Teacher Counselors in Schools in Namibia, Education Journal. Vol. 2, No. 3, 2013, pp. 77-84. doi: 10.11648/j.edu.20130203.13
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