Welfare officers and guidance counselors are being rotated across secondary schools dormitories in Guyana, as part a new programme funded by the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF.)
Chief Welfare Officer, Gillian Vyphuis
The Ministry of education, Chief Schools’ Welfare Officer, Gillian Vyphius told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that the first phase of the programme is being piloted at St Ignatius in Region Nine, Bartica, Region Seven and Charity in Region Two.
Vyphius said that the Ministry, with support from UNICEF, is placing welfare officers and guidance counsellors for six weeks at these dormitories. They will provide support to the students to help them obtain and maintain a good balance in their daily lives.
Vyphius explained that the schools’ welfare officer and guidance counsellors are there to address issues related to identity, development, human relations, motivation and level of satisfaction with studies. They will also help students over different crises and challenges they may face.
“Children are coming from far distances and some of them do not really know how to adjust or how to cope especially the grade seven students and in other case there are teenagers who would ‘get away’ from the dorms and to engage in other activities. The guidance counsellors and welfare officers are being placed there (at the dormitories) for six-weeks to assist the dorm parents to deal with those issues,” Vyphius explained.
Vyphius noted that the regional education officers and other officials in the piloted regions have welcomed the initiative.
Many Indigenous students have to leave their homes and villages and stay in dormitories to go to school. These students are away from parents and relatives who provide guidance and support to children especially during teen and adolescent stages of growth.