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It’s important to have fully qualified counselors: Akbar

May 18, 2019 8:19 am

The shortage of professional counselors in schools is due to higher education institutions not providing qualifications in counseling.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Education Minister Rosy Akbar says they’ve also noticed a lack of interest from students in the counseling field.

Akbar says this is a specialist area and it’s important to have fully qualified counselors.

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“The Fiji National University offers a post graduate diploma in mental health and post graduate certificate in mental health nursing which are more aligned with the medical profession. Obviously either of these qualifications support our needs in schools. The Fiji National University however, offers some units in counseling in the Bachelor of Education qualification. The University of Fiji does not offer any counseling qualification.”

Opposition MP Salote Radrodro questioned the Minister if there was an immediate solution to the shortage.

“What is the immediate solution in regard to increasing budget and work with the NGO’s like empower Pacific to be able to provide the counsellors to meet the urgent need the schools are faced with right now?”

Akbar says with the support of the Australian government, they’re in the process of appointing service providers to meet Fiji’s counseling needs on a short term basis.

The Education Ministry will also be working with the Health Ministry and Ministry for Women and Children to outsource counseling services.

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