Studies conducted in another seven Northern provinces also found that 20 percent of students suffered psychological problems that required intervention.
In order to achieve a comprehensive education, it was necessary to take care of mental health to help students overcome their problems and enhance their learning, Nguyen Quy Thanh, Rector of the University of Education (UE) under the Vietnam National University said at a recent workshop on training school psychological counselors held by the UE.
Thanh said psychological consultation was important and timely advice could help ease negative feelings and deal with problems related to school.
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However, he acknowledged that school counseling is facing a lot of challenges particularly in human resources.
“Most of schools don’t have qualified school counselors who have been trained in educational counseling,” Thanh told Radio The Voice of Vietnam.
According to Thanh, psychological counselors in schools at present are teachers of Law, Literature, Psychology or History and Geography. Although they have undergone training, their expertise is still limited due to limited resources and capacity of consultant experts.
According to Bui Van Linh, deputy head of the Department of Political Affairs and Student Management under the MoET, a circular on psychological consultation, which took effect in February, stated that every school must establish a psychological consultation group to assist students in major issues relating to gender, reproductive health, anti-abuse, career orientation or problems arising in social relationship.
The group consists of between three and seven people led by a principal or a vice principal. All group members must have a certificate to show they have undergone training on psychological counseling.
It is expected there will be about 70,000 psychology counselors who should be trained in the next three years.
Linh emphasized that much attention should be paid to physical and mental health of students.
Given huge pressure from daily life, students might suffer such consequences as boredom, poor score in learning or severe depression, even suicide if the problem wasn’t spotted and treated.
He said the colleges specializing in school psychology training should offer more courses to help school counselors. A network of psychology consultant centers, which could assist those dealing with serious cases, should also be established.
He also said the MoET had assigned the Vietnam Institute of Educational Sciences to set up training programs for psychological teachers.
In the coming years, school counseling service will be reviewed to ensure physical and mental health for both teachers and students, and teachers who have psychological difficulties will be assisted while students will be empowered to cope with mental stress in general and psychology in particular.
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