SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – A bill to create in the Department of Education (DepEd) a position of ‘guidance counselor’ in public elementary schools is expected to be approved at the earliest time by the committee on education of the House of Representatives .
La Union First District Representative Pablo Ortega, author of House Bill 3458, said that the bill is in connection with Republic Act 9258 or the Guidance and Counseling Act of 2004, which provides for the professionalization of the practice for guidance counseling services profession.
“This bill has gained an overwhelming support from my fellow congressmen because we want that in every public elementary school, there should be one guidance counselor to guide and help school children whenever they have problems with their teachers,” Ortega said.
Ortega said DepEd has guidance counselors in the public high schools. But in the elementary level, the teacher-in-charge serves as the guidance counselor and adviser to the pupils.
“But the teacher-in-charge does not have the expertise of a professional guidance counselor. With an accredited guidance counselor, we hope to improve the survival rates of pupils in basic education,” Ortega said.
Ortega said the presence of guidance counselor in public elementary schools is vital in resolving problems concerning the relationship among students, teachers and parents.
The DepEd regional office here warmly welcomed the passage of the bill because “there is an urgent need of the services of guidance counselors to guide young school children nowadays.”
“We thank a lot if the bill would be put into law because our young students need to be guided properly as they grow up,” Darius Nieto, DepEd regional information officer, said.
Nieto said that most of the items for guidance counselor in Region 1 is not being filled up because there are no applicants, and if there are applicants, it is still short because the ratio is one guidance counselor for every 5,000 students.
“Only big secondary schools in Region 1 have guidance counselors. Teachers-in-charge acting as guidance counselor is a violation because they are not graduates in the discipline. Most guidance counselors are psychology graduates,” Nieto said.
Nieto said that the problem on guidance counseling in the country is expected to be solved when the Ortega bill would be put into law. Jun Elias/Northbound Philippines News