The Ministry of Education has been advised to strengthen guidance and counselling departments in secondary schools, even as it strives to address runaway cases of indiscipline among students.
Outspoken PCEA Cleric Reverend Godfrey Jomo urged the ministry to empower guidance and counselling teachers by organizing workshops for them to sharpen their skills.
“This will equip them with vital skills to enable them handle learners suffering mental challenges more effectively,” he stated.
Speaking to KNA in Mbari ya Nguura village in Gikondi, Nyeri County, Rev. Jomo further noted that guidance and counselling teachers should be given less work by the ministry to create ample time for them to attend to students in need of psychosocial support. “They should also be housed in respective institutions to enable them offer services even at night, if need be,” he said.
He at the same time reiterated his earlier call to the Education Ministry to deploy chaplains to all secondary schools to offer distressed children the much-needed mentorship and spiritual nourishment.
“Chaplaincy is a very important intervention in a school set up. It puts more emphasis on pastoral relationship as a key to change through spiritual inspiration and mentorship. The chaplain supports students through moments of stress, depression and other emerging issues,” he explained.
The cleric who has served in the capacity for nearly 20 years requested the government to move with speed and in collaboration with various churches deploy chaplains to secondary schools to ensure learners mental well-being.
He regretted that unlike yester years when parents spent good time to nurture and discipline their children as they grew up, a majority of today’s parents are too busy looking for wealth to bequeath them when they pass on, thus ending up raising very irresponsible teenagers.
The clergyman who doubles as Nairobi School chaplain largely blamed poor parenting for the recent arson incidents in some schools across the country that reduced property worth millions of shillings to ashes.
“School unrests are mostly started by children who lack role models, abuse drugs, those highly pampered to the extent of lacking awareness regarding societal ethos and consequences of breaking them, as well as those who discuss teachers with their parents and also children who dictate what prescription they will take or not take in life,” he explained.
At the same time Jomo advised parents to spend quality time with their children in order to encourage and mentor them as they mature, which will in turn solve the endemic problem of indiscipline among leaners.
“Parents must live with their children, but not live for them, if they expect their sons and daughters to continue existing devoid of their overdependence syndrome when they (parents) are long gone,” he emphasized.
He said parents should impart the value of hard work in their children’s young minds, warning that pampering only made them irresponsible in adulthood.
“Parents should learn from the famous adage that if you help a pupa to come out of its cocoon, it will certainly die, but when it struggles to come out on its own it becomes stronger,” he said.
The chaplain encouraged students to voice their grievances responsibly and at no time resort to burning their respective learning institution, while equating those who raze down school buildings to a drunkard who drinks himself silly to run away from family problems, only to sober up later on and find nothing had changed.
“Stick to your goals to the very end and feel obligated to accomplish assignments, don’t yield to peer pressure as you will live to regret, avoid dangerous engagements that conflicts with your goals. In a nutshell avoid toxic living. Always remember your destiny is in your hands; you can make it or break it,” he counselled.
The clergyman on the other hand advised school administrators to give a listening hear to their students’ concerns, motivate them when they do well and to avoid exposing them to mass media contents that could incite them to violence.
The administrators, he added, should also weed out the chronically wayward students before they influence colleagues to violence, discourage rowdy events with high decibels that could hype emotions, avoid unsupervised entertainment and as well prevent students’ visits by outsiders.
“A well cut out programme for extra-curricular activities should be put in place and students must be accompanied and monitored by teachers during such events,” added Jomo.
By Kamiri Munyaka