The fact that suicides are high, and keep rising, in Philippine schools and communities, point to a severe lack of guidance counselors. This reality had been going on for decades and no serious effort has been done to correct it, until hopefully now.
The rising tide of suicides and killings among minors in schools and blighted communities indicate an utter lack of guidance counselors in these places. But this can be averted if the Department of Education and lawmakers make an extra effort to incentivize guidance counselors to work in such places full time and providing them with attractive salaries so they don't need to leave the country for abroad.
Rep. Angelica Natasha Co, BHW Partylist and chair of the committee on welfare of children who finished BS Psychology in Ateneo, said guidance counseling is actually a profession, with licensure examinations conducted by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). The most recent exams were conducted in August 2022. Only 661 took those exams and only 405 passed.
In August 2019, only 458 took the exams and only 286 passed. In August 2018, only 471 took the exams and only 307 passed.
Note that total basic education enrollment for SY 2021-2022 was at 28 million, so comparing the PRC numbers and the DepEd numbers means there is a dire shortage of licensed guidance counselors.
What happens at the public schools is teachers are assigned as guidance counselors whether or not they are PRC licensed as guidance counseling professionals.
We urgently need more guidance counselors, psychologists, school nurses, and doctors for our schools.
Note also that there is usually just one watchman, sometimes two, not exactly a security guard accredited by the PNP. Note that is one watchman or two for hundreds or thousands of students. If a school has a security guard, that security guard is usually paid for by the local PTA.
There have been incidents of fatal shootings because school security personnel do not or cannot inspect bags. The school security personnel are also too scared to ask police officers and military personnel to surrender their firearms. They do not have lock boxes into which firearms can be deposited and secured. Some teachers and students have died because there are people who bring in guns on campus. Bringing guns inside school premises must be absolutely prohibited.
Tags: #suicidesandkillingsrising, #schoolsandcommunities, #anxieties, #guidancecounselors