Recent data from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) suggest that the school drop-out rates at the elementary level (grades I-VIII) have decreased from 72.7% in 1980-81 to 50.84% in 2004-05 and at the secondary level (grades IX-X) from 82.5% in 1980-81 to 61.9% in 2004-05. Given the improved school continuation rates through middle and senior school in India; there is an enhanced focus on providing youth friendly health services in school settings. Counseling is an important component of these services. There is a growing realization that young people in schools need counseling services on several issues to promote their health and well being. However, there is very limited information on the feasibility of providing counseling services in school settings in India.
UNFPA is proposing to add incremental evidence regarding the existing models of counseling services in school settings to facilitate provision of these services in schools. The Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) has nominated some of its teachers to a comprehensive counseling program administered by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). Up to 2002, 32 teachers were nominated to this 9 month training programme in guidance and counseling. These teachers have been absorbed back into the Kendriya Vidyalayas and it will be useful to track them to find out if their training in counseling has been valuable to them, their students and their institutions. More importantly, this research will investigate whether the system has recognized and facilitated the trained teachers to function as counselors, for example, by decreasing their teaching load or recognizing the specialized services provided by them or advocating for counseling services through seminars for students, other school staff and parents.
Similarly, the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) in Delhi had piloted a shared counselor scheme where a counselor was shared by 5-6 schools. It is also proposed to review this shared counselors’ scheme.