Word on the street: Counselling services in schools

Public opinion on the streets of Muscat

Students of Indian Schools in Oman now have the option of calling a tele-counsellor anytime, 365 days a year. What do you think of such a service?

Nutaila al Kharusi

Psychologist

It is a great initiative and a steppingstone to a more comprehensive student support system. A huge number of students today have mental health problems that are beyond the capability of schools. This propels schools to come up with such creative ways.

This can involve partnering with community providers or government and private clinics to address the service gap. Tele-counselling is a great option and implementing this form of counselling can allow psychologists to provide services to students even when it is not their day to be at the school.

Secondly, it can be used in a preventive manner or be a supplement to the traditional mental health services.

Furthermore, I foresee that tele-counselling could quickly become a reality in more schools as long as there’s planning regarding treatment efficacy and maintaining student confidentiality. Many students use electronic devices nowadays and these services are sort of a natural progression for counselling. They’re a promising way to supplement counselling. However, I can't help but highlight that tele-counselling can't be the sole way to help students as it can't help with more complicated problems.

Jassim al Balushi

Private sector employee

Students these days have many distractions. I feel they need a mentor who is always accessible. Tele-counselling is one option that can help students reach out to someone who they can trust and share things which they normally would avoid sharing with parents.

Nitin Singh

Manager

Tele-counselling for students is a good initiative that can help students overcome issues that they do not want to share with teachers or parents. But counsellors can only help to an extent over phone. At times there are complicated cases which need to be dealt in person. So that aspect should also be looked into.

Padmini Dey

Homemaker

It is a good thing to start, because at times children are more comfortable sharing problems with counsellors and not parents. I hope things improve with such efforts.

Divyani Mathur

Teacher

It is a very good initiative with students going through so much stress in today’s world. I am sure students will benefit from this.

Do you think there is a need for other schools to follow suit and offer something similar?

Zakareya al Abdulsalam

Municipality official

This is good and a new step to improve life at schools. It would be a good idea for all schools in Oman to follow it, as it will not just help improve the way students are treated in schools but also help them deal with issues that often go unnoticed.

Irfan Ali

Accountant

Yes, many students are afraid to share their problems directly and a tele-counselling service is an ideal solution. All government and private schools should have such a service and by doing so, many problems would be solved easily.

Ashraf al Musallami

Private sector employee

Giving students the option of calling a tele-counsellor anytime, 365 days a year is a great idea. Many students would like to share their problems outside school hours and without identifying themselves. All schools should offer such services to help students pour their hearts out.

Muneer Thazhe Purayil

Teacher

This is one of the most effective ways to solve students’ problems. This is the age of social media and it has created a large number of introverts and couch potatoes. Access to a counsellor over telephone is a good opportunity for students to share their queries and issues. It will definitely increase their confidence level and enhance their performance.

Yousef al Balushi

Computer programmer

Most schools today have counsellors but they are available only during school timings. I hope that other schools too implement it so that it will help them deal with the issues currently faced by students.

Hesham Talaat

Teacher

There are many problems that a student faces today, and it demands a counsellor's support. For example, many students feel shy to ask some simple questions related even to their studies for the fear of being laughed at. That is where a tele-counsellor will be of great support.

What do you think are the major concerns among school-going children and what is triggering those issues?

Subbiah Vadakarai

Private sector employee

The pressure some parents put on their children to succeed can be too much of a pressure for the non-academically gifted. The best strategy is to identify the subjects they struggle with and spend time with them to help them improve.

Mohammed al Haddabi

Private sector employee

I think the major concern from middle-school onwards is what career path to take. In the fast-changing job market, some skills and qualifications can become obsolete very quickly. Also, children are aware the job market is becoming increasingly competitive and this sometimes has quite a lot of pressure.

Salim Masoud al Noumani

Senior manager

This is the ideal time to instill strong work ethics in children. If parents successfully explain to them the correlation between hardwork and good results at a young age, I believe it will benefit them for the rest of their lives. On the other hand, unnecessary comparisons and pressurising children to be a part of the rat race could be detrimental to the development of their personality.

Yashpal Singh

Businessman

The main concern is that children are glued to the smartphones these days. They hardly play outside or even socialise with their friends. These actually harm their childhood and bonding. I blame working parents who use these electronic devices to keep them busy. They don't realise the harm they are doing to them.

Soumen Patra

Private sector employee

The main concern is the pressure parents put to fare well in studies as well as extra-curricular activities. Indian parents put a lot of pressure on children and at times it puts mental and physical stress on young minds. It is the expectations from the parents that trigger many issues among students.

Saif al Harthy

CV designer

The main concern is that school-going children have no proper aim in life except scoring well in examinations. Also, children do not get to interact with one another. Parents and teachers should regularly interact with children to know about any big turmoil in their lives.

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