Education ministry to roll out psychosocial sessions with students

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THE Ministry of Education, Youth and Information will be rolling out a series of psychosocial sessions with students in September to help them cope with their fears and anxieties that have been brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Speaking at a virtual back-to-school students’ sensitisation session for primary, high and tertiary students, hosted by the ministry on Wednesday, Acting Chief Education Officer Dr Kasan Troupe indicated that the sessions will be conducted by trained professionals, such as guidance counsellors, social workers and health and family life educators via online, and home visits in extreme cases.

She explained that the sessions are being held to provide students with a forum to express how they are feeling and to advise them on how to cope, utilise their time and how to adhere to the school protocols.

“So, we will be having trained persons that will be coming into your virtual space. Some persons will be engaged on the virtual space in empowerment and psychosocial counselling sessions while in extreme cases, based on what you’re feeling, our social workers, our guidance counsellors and our health and family life educators will make themselves available, observing, of course, physical distancing if they have to see you,” she said.

For primary schools that are without guidance counsellors, Dr Troupe said the ministry is working with the school’s principal to make sure that the schools have social workers and guidance counsellors.

She also used the occasion to assure parents who are not on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education programme (PATH) but require help to equip their child with a tablet computer, that the ministry has heard their cries and will be providing assistance.

Dr Troupe said the ministry is putting together a video for all the students who will be receiving the tablet, showing them how to use and to care for the device and also how to stay safe and practise the COVID-19 protocols.

In the meantime, public relations officer, National Secondary Students’ Council, Ree-Anna Robinson, said that the organisation is pleased that the ministry is working assiduously to provide a framework to facilitate the integration of online learning and the reintegration of students in the classroom in October.

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