>> Monday, March 14, 2011
A recently released book seeks to lay the groundwork for the development of benchmarks for school counseling in the country.
The book, “Developing National Standards for School Counseling Programs in the Philippines,” was written by Rose Marie Salazar-Clemeña, retired professor in counseling and educational psychology of De la Salle University.
Salazar-Clemeña, president of the Guidance Counselors Circle Inc. (GCC), based her suggested standards on discussions and interviews with counseling practitioners.
She said participants in GCC’s annual convention-workshops often expressed the need for standards “that would be appropriate for school counseling programs in the Philippines.”
Although Republic Act No. 9528, the Guidance and Counseling Act of 2004, sought to professionalize guidance and counseling in the country, Salazar-Clemeña’s previous studies showed that licensing alone was not sufficient to ensure students were getting expert help.
She noted that school counselors were often given varied functions, “including tasks that are inappropriate to the profession.” Differing perceptions of the job and the role counselors played also resulted in “inconsistencies in the practice of counseling and, by inference, in the design and delivery of school counseling programs.”
Salazar-Clemeña, former vice president for academics and executive vice president of De la Salle-College of St. Benilde, said the development of standards was in line with current trends in standards-based educational assessment.
The author prepared an initial list of knowledge, skills and attitudes students were expected to develop through a school’s guidance counseling program.
“The list of knowledge, skills and attitudes that students may be expected to acquire as a result of participating in school counseling programs should help counselors focus their work on helping all students attain success,” Salazar-Clemeña said.
Having distilled ideas from practition ers about pertinent components to be included in a national model for school counseling programs, the author expressed the hope that the book would help school counselors develop more responsive counseling programs that would support the other components of the educational system (teaching-learning, leadership) in trying to improve student achievement.
The book could also provide a framework that would better clarify the role of school counselors in educational institutions.
It could also help school administrators and other faculty members, as well as the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education, understand better what school counselors are supposed to do and work with them in achieving educational objectives.
Salazar-Clemeña said counselors should not be given inappropriate tasks in order to professionalize guidance and counseling in the Philippines.