Archive for the ‘Counsellors’ Category

Advice to student counsellors

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

LAHAD DATU: The role of counsellors is not only to provide student counselling services but also to assist teachers in cultivating good values ​​in the school. Therefore, each counsellor is responsible for developing their skills in dealing with current issues and challenges.

Malaysian Counselling Board (LKM) President Assoc Prof Dr Wan Marzuki Wan Jaafar said The Continuing Professional Development Programme for registered counsellors is an integrated effort of the Board of Counsellors to ensure that they are provided with knowledge, skills and professional practice through well-planned and systematic training programmes so that the counsellors can provide the best ethical service to the community.
“Therefore, I urge every registered counsellor to constantly improve their skills through various professional development activities so that we can be more competent in providing counselling services for the community’s benefit,” he said.
He said this at a recent Lahad Datu District Education Office Counselling Enhancement Workshop held at the Open University Malaysia (OUM) here.

The programme is co-organised by the Lahad Datu PPD Psychology and Counselling Unit (UPsK), OUM and the District Council of Counselling Teachers.

The event saw 50 participants from counsellors from schools, public and private agencies including Counselling Teachers from Lahad Datu, Kunak and Tawau participating in the workshop.

The programme was officiated by UPsK Counselling Officer Abdul Nasil Taibon representing Lahad Datu District Education Officer.

The workshop was also held to ensure that Guidance and Counselling Teachers were always relevant to the “educational transformation” that focused on quality student and school enrolment by 2025.
“As a unit focused on teacher competence, the workshop is helpful in providing the sharing of current information and current knowledge to counsellors and guidance counsellors,” he said.

By: Ibrahim Tabir.

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More counsellors needed at schools

Monday, August 5th, 2019

Khairul Azmarizan: Counsellors focus on why students misbehave.

A SCHOOL counsellor may not teach but they hold an important role in schools.

They are the ones providing a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on for troubled students.

This can be more important for a student, especially with the rising number of youths facing mental health issues across the world.

Locally, the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2017 found that one in five youths suffered from depression and 10% have had suicidal thoughts.

“Although the number of referrals to professionals is not that high, the number of students showing symptoms as young as 13 is very worrying, ” says SMK Bandar Baru Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, school counsellor Khairul Azmarizan Abdul Majid.

She says there has been many students who suddenly burst out crying in class or are zoned out and teachers are not sure if it’s substance abuse or extreme mental stress causing these outbursts.

“Teachers quickly refer these students to us when they notice anything even slightly out of the ordinary.”

Khairul Azmarizan says that counsellors focus on why a student is behaving badly, a skill regular teachers lack.

“They are not trained to see the reason students behave in a certain way, ” she says.

Dealing with the students is sometimes not easy, adds SMK Dato’ Ibrahim Yaacob, Kuala Lumpur, school counsellor Juwairiah Abdullah.

“Even though our faces show calmness, our insides are churning, ” says Juwairiah as she recalls a case of a student who felt no girl will ever like him.

The boy’s story tugged at her heartstrings as she tried to figure out how to convince him that he might still find the love of his life one day.

“It’s not only the aggressive students who face mental health issues but also those who are very quiet, ” adds Khairul Azmarizan.

The counsellor says it is very sad that these students do not get enough attention from their parents, with some parents blaming the child for the behaviour and some cannot come to terms if s/he has a problem.

Still, with lots of patience and explanation, a school counsellor is able to gain the support of a parent and get the child the help they desperately need, says Juwairiah.

She also says that she has had parents come to her and say they do not know what to do with their child anymore.

“Parents expect us to help because they are at their wit’s end, ” she explains, adding that those from the lower-income groups may not have the right parenting skills to deal with the situation.

It has come to the point that Juwairiah has had to teach and “counsel” the parent, sometimes for up to two hours. “My sessions with the students are only half an hour, ” she adds.

Then, there are the parents who are impossible to meet. Juwairiah says she has been waiting for a year to meet a parent of a student who refuses to talk or make eye contact in class.

Awareness among students has certainly risen and this can be seen in the increase in students visiting the school counsellor.

Khairul Azmarizan says that an average of 1, 200 students visit the school counsellor a year at her school.

This includes those who are disciplinary cases or are categorised as vulnerable in the various prevention activities conducted by the school’s Counselling and Guidance Unit.

“I can say that the number of pupils in need of our services increases about 2% each year, ” she adds.

However, she points out, this is not indicative of a rise in the number of students experiencing mental health issues.

Rather, she adds, it is because more students understand the importance of counselling services.

These include small matters like dropping a subject in SPM, which a teacher or parent can advise on, says Khairul Azmarizan.

We have four counsellors but this is not enough, she says, adding that she wishes there are more counsellors stationed in schools as they cannot cope with the number of students seeking help.

Education Ministry school management division deputy director Faridah Yang Razali says that the current ratio of students to school counsellors in secondary schools is 500:1 whereas it’s 350:1 in primary schools.

“Last time it (mental health) was not a major issue but now, we need to increase awareness so that all our teachers receive the proper training to screen the students, ” she adds.

Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman Community Counselling Centre chairperson Pheh Kai Shuen says teachers and school counsellors may alleviate low mood, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety symptoms of adolescents by actively listening to them non-judgmentally.

“School teachers and counsellors can be very helpful on a wide range of mental health challenges faced by adolescents, ” he adds.

“We believe that the mental health issues of children should not only be the responsibility of psychiatrists and psychologists but also the schools, ” he says.

“It is a difficult task to get students to understand that they need to change but it’s a heavy burden that all school counsellors carry, ” says Khairul Azmarizan.

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Need for counsellors in schools with low student intake.

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

THE Education Ministry is prepared to consider a suggestion that schools with an enrolment of fewer than 350 students, be provided with counsellors.

The Malaysian International Counselling Association (Perkama) had requested that there is a need for counsellors to service schools even with a lower student enrolment because of the many issues faced by school-goers.

So far only schools with more than 350 students have counselling teachers or counsellors, said its minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid recently, adding that the ministry is ready to consider the matter.

He added that there were currently about 11,000 full-time counsellors in schools nationwide, a ratio of one counsellor to every 500 students.

Meanwhile Mahdzir said on Tuesday, that the government had no plans to close the 2,996 under-enrolled schools (SKM), despite having to spend RM2bil a year to run them.

“The ministry’s policy is clear that the under-enrolled schools will not be closed unless there is consent from both parents and the local community,” he said in response to a question in the Dewan Rakyat.

Based on analysis, the cost of operating schools with an enrolment of 150 students and below was high, at RM67,130.65 per student a year, compared with only RM5,321.84 per student a year for normal schools.

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‘Allow higher EPF withdrawals’

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: First-time home buyers should be allowed to withdraw 40%, instead of the permitted 30% now, from their Account 2 in the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to finance the purchase.

Mah Sing Group Bhd chief executive officer Ho Hon Sang said that such buyers were facing increasing difficulties in getting their dream home.

“There could be concerns that the EPF amount may be insufficient once they reach retirement age, but the middle-income group’s contribution to the fund will increase, especially since the Government plans to transform Malaysia into a high-income economy,” he said.

“While it would be ideal if property prices go down, that is not possible because construction and other costs, as well as the price of land, have all gone up.”

He said that one way to assist first-time home buyers was to increase their cash flow.

Mah Sing is an exhibitor at the four-day Fair which ends today at the Publika Shopping Gallery.

Admission is free and the fair, on Level G2, closes at 10pm.

Visitors will be able to check out some of the top developers in the industry, along with their array of interesting projects.

Among these are Ekovest Bhd and IJM Land Bhd, both premium partners for Fair.

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Counsellor: Parents should educate children on safe touch

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

PETALING JAYA: Children must be taught that certain parts of their body should not be touched by other people, said licensed counsellor Dr Anasuya Jegathevi Jegathesan.

She said it was important for children to know that inappropriate touching was not allowed, calling for them to “be educated on safe touch”.

Dr Anasuya, also a HELP University senior lecturer, explained that this was basically teaching children that it was all right for someone to touch their hands and feet, for example, but not the more personal areas.

She said children should learn that these prohibited areas would be those covered by a swimsuit and the thighs, and the rule would apply even if they were fully clothed.

Children must know when a touch was inappropriate, such as when it makes them uncomfortable, and that they should report it to their parents or an adult they trust.

She said it was important parents assure their child that he or she would be doing the right thing in reporting such an incident.

Teach them to follow their instincts, she said.

“It can be confusing for children when an adult tickling their sides ‘accidentally’ touches their private areas,” she said.

“It is important that they know it is all right for them to tell their parents or teachers about it.”

In Asian society, parents always teach children to obey adults, making it easy for paedophiles to take advantage, Dr Anasuya said.

“We train them to follow what aunty or uncle tells them.

“This is a blanket trust statement telling children that adults always want what’s best for them and that they are wrong to disobey,” she said.

She said paedophiles take advantage of this when they groom children, manipulating the child’s trust and obedience.


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Lee: Counsel students

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

JOHOR BARU: The Education Ministry should increase the number of trained counselling teachers in schools to help steer problematic students to the right path instead of caning to discipline them, said social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

The Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) vice-chairman said caning in schools should be the last resort and counselling them would be more effective in understanding and teaching the students.

He said the ministry should train more counselling teachers and also provide adequate training and courses for existing teachers as children nowadays were faced with various emotional stresses.

“We need counselling teachers to do more than just give advice and tell the students what to do.

“Proper training has to be given to the teachers in order to find ways to teach, cope and handle the problems faced and tackle them accordingly,” he said.

Lee said many of the counselling teachers in schools were not adequately trained and had limited knowledge on handling the students’ emotional and mental well-being.

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RM1,200 minimum wage will be catastrophic to industries – FSI.

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

KOTA KINABALU: A minimum wage at RM1,200 will be catastrophic to the industries, said Federation of Sabah Industries (FSI) president Datuk Mohd Basri Abd Gafar.

Basri said FSI’s stance on minimum wage had always been to remain at the old rate of RM800 for Sabah.

“However the government has announced that it will increase the minimum wage for Sabah to RM920 effective July 1 this year and this has forced the industries with no choice but to brace for it.”

Basri said the industries in Sabah were already burdened with high costs of doing business in a very bad economic situation.

“The industries are trying very hard to innovate in order to reduce costs and survive.

“However a minimum wage at RM1,200 will be catastrophic to them.

“Let us follow the guidelines on the minimum wage that any increases will be gradual and after a detailed and comprehensive study, taking into consideration the cost of doing business, the costs of living and the prevailing economic situation with all the stakeholders,” he urged.

Basri was commenting on the new minimum wages and Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary general Lim Guan Eng’s statement that the rising cost of living and the inflated prices of goods post-GST requires that minimum wages for all states in the country be fixed at RM1,200.

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Number Of Counselling Teachers Need To Be Increased – Mahdzir

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

GEORGE TOWN, March 31 (Bernama) — The Education Ministry plans to increase the number of counsellors in schools in an effort to address disciplinary problems among students.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said at the moment, each school had two counselling teachers, depending on its condition and location.

“The recommended counsellor to student ratio is 1 for 500 students and for schools, which have over 1,500 students, there should be three counselling teachers.

“Based on the ratio, we need to increase the number of counsellors in schools,” he told reporters after opening a new building and the Heritage Gallery of Sekolah Kebangsaan Sungai Gelugor, here Thursday.

He said the increase in the number of counsellors was also in line with the new guideline for teachers on how to handle bullying incidents among school students nationwide that would be distributed starting next week.

He said through the guideline, the investigation process or action on any bullying cases would be handled by the school management as well as the state Education Department and at the same time, parents of students involved would also be called to assist.

“Counsellors will also be involved in solving any reported bullying cases,” he said.

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Call for counselling teachers to improve knowledge to tackle bullying in school

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR: School counsellors should improve their knowledge to enable them to tackle bullying among students, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said.

She said solving the issue merely by punishing the students involved was no longer a practical option, but rather to be complemented by a continuous counselling process.

“Bullying does not only involve physical harm, but can also occur in the form of cyber bullying. We have provided special training to school counsellors to tackle this issue.

“In a bid to tackle bullying, we not only need to impose punishment, but also to provide counselling,” she told reporters today.

She said this in response to the recent bullying incident as shown in a video clip which went viral on Facebook since yesterday.

The clip, which lasted four minutes and 37 seconds, showed a group of five students assaulting a group of nine other students and had attracted widespread condemnation from social media users.

Maktab Mahmud of Padang Terap in Kuala Nerang, Kedah, however, had denied that one of its students was involved.

Earlier, Rohani witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) and the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) at the National Syarie Counselling Seminar here.

The MoU was aimed at providing syarie-based counselling as an effort to help Muslims facing marriage and family issues.


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Counselling Teachers Need To Be Registered

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR : — Handling student problems is no easy task but this is the challenge that some 15,000 counselling teachers have to face at 12,000 primary and secondary schools nationwide.

However, not many realise that the majority of these counselling teachers are not registered with the Malaysian Board of Counsellors, which prevents their activities from being monitored.

As a professional counsellor, they need to register with the Board that is subjected to the Counsellors Act 1998 or Act 580 of the Laws of Malaysia.

This is to facilitate the Board of Counsellors in supervising the counselling services at schools, overseeing training and verifying the qualifications of a counselling teacher.

The Malaysian Board of Counsellors are under the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and statistics show that only 2,540 teachers have registered with the board.

Its president, Associate Prof Dr Mohamed Fadzil Che Din said the figure was a worrisome one, as there was no way to monitor the professionalism of unregistered counsellors or the appropriateness of counselling methods used.

Misconduct of School Counsellors:

The counselling studies was introduced in Universiti Pertanian (now known as Universiti Putra Malaysia- UPM) in 1985 and nine local universities followed suit. Some 20,000 students have graduated in the field since then.

Although the number of counsellors produced by the tertiary education institutions seem many, only 5,129 of them are registered with the Malaysian Board of Counsellors.

“If 80 percent of them continue their careers as counsellors, that means there are 16,000 counsellors produced by local universities,” he told Bernama.

This is the scenario that needs to be taken seriously as there are issues involving ethics, misdemeanors and wrong practices among counsellors or those who offer the counselling service.

“Section 22 and 23 of the Counsellors Act 1998 clearly states that it is compulsory for a person practicing counselling to register with the Malaysian Board of Counsellors as a Registered Counsellor,” he said.
Role of the Malaysian Board of Counsellors

The Malaysian Board of Counsellors among others supervises the counselling services given and assesses the need for such services in Malaysia. It also oversees counsellor training.

“The Board is also in charge of ascertaining the qualifications of a counsellor before he/she is registered under the Counsellors Act 1998,” he said.

In many cases, counselling teachers may fail in carrying out their responsibilities due to them being unregistered and not owning a certificate of practice.

Due to this, a counsellor who is not confirmed may not be allowed to help students in distress, including rape victims.

“Their statement is also inadmissible in court, making them unable to help their client and offer them protection. That will inevitably make it more difficult for the client and the school,” he said.

According to the regulations set by the Community Welfare Department (JKM), cases of students in need of counseling need to be referred to professionals for confirmation first, before the victims could be placed into safe houses and put under protection.

“But what is happening is that many counselling teachers are unable to follow the procedure because they do not have the certificate of practice and are forced to employ certified counsellors outside, such as from JKM,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Fadzil said a study was conducted in 2012 to look at the profiles, types and forms of counsellor misconduct in the country especially in schools.

Of the 856 respondents involved in the study, the Board found 11 types of misconduct routinely performed by counsellors.

Among them were being unregistered, no valid certificate of practice, breach of confidentiality, forming an intimate relationship with the client, influencing the client and failing to protect the client’s interests.
Importance of Registration:

On the case of the four siblings who are children to Malaysian couple held by Swedish authorities, Mohamed Fadzil noted that the case had to be handled wisely and effectively by the counselling teachers.

This was to ensure the siblings who were already affected by the distance from their parents were able to carry on with their lives and schooling as normally as possible. The children have since returned to Malaysia.

by Kurniawati Kamarudin.


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