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School fire: Govt to dispatch counsellors to St Bernard's SS

The ministry says following the fire incident, the students and community need counselling

The ministry says following the fire incident, the students and community need counselling

The ministry of Education and Sports has announced that it will be dispatching a team of psychiatrists to Rakai district to counsel students and community members living around St Bernard’s secondary school Mannya.

Last week, fire that gutted the school leaving at least 11 students dead and several others seriously injured after fire caught the senior three boys' dormitory. Mary Felisters Apoi, the acting assistant commissioner, guidance and counselling at ministry of Education confirmed the development, saying the team from department of will be visiting the school to talk to teachers, students, parents and the community in general. 

“We are going to the school; we understand that several leaders have visited there but our aim is to counsel the affected people; they need psychological support; some of them witnessed the ordeal, I believe they are not the same,” she said.

Apio who was addressing guidance and counselling teachers from different schools around the country at then Career Education Stakeholders workshop organized by MasterCard Foundation Programme Scholars at  Brac Uganda in Kampala.

The event brought together career specialists from the ministry of Education, career teachers and students where career teachers and mentor teachers are grounded with skills to support scholars in their respective schools.

She said incidences like what happened in Rakai district could be avoided if schools took time to know more about their students and any pending situations solved amicably than waiting for things to go out of hand.

“Our role as teachers is to cause change, we are parents to children who don’t have parents, those with poor backgrounds...so as the ministry, we need teachers to take the role of counsellors,” she said.

Although the ministry has a policy where all schools must have career guidance and counselling specialists, Apio said some schools have failed to adhere with the directive. Apio also said her department is financially constrained and cannot offer the services to all schools in the country.

She said; “Some schools have trained counsellors regardless of the meagre resources and the ministry appreciates the role of private schools and associations like Brac Uganda and MasterCard.”

Sarah Mirembe Okello, a consultant at The Oaks Consulting Group, explained that most people in Kampala are sick in the brain and in the heart and need counselling and their hatred is sometimes is passed to their children.

“By the fact that students are at adolescent stage, they need counselling, many fathers are not raising their boys hence boys’ ends up becoming unmanly,” she said.

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