An Assistant Director of Education in Lagos State, Mrs Theresa Odunukwe, has asked the Federal Government to intensify efforts in training more Guidance and Counselling professionals.
Odunukwe said this in an interview at the opening of a two-day seminar on Effects of peer pressure on youths , organised by the King's College Parents Teachers Association (KCPTA).
According to her, there is an urgent need to have more guidance and counselling professionals in schools across the country, especially at the basic educational level, to check erosion of educational values. She urged the government to encourage teachers to impact morals in the students through training and re-training, as well as by providing some incentives.
"If you look at what is happening today in our society, especially among our youths, you will see the need for us to intensify efforts in training more professionals in guidance and counselling.
When you go round schools today, you will find some of these professionals, but what we are saying now is that these professionals are grossly inadequate to cater for the needs of our students, especially at the basic education level.
The incidents we are witnessing today in our society as a result of peer pressure, is on the rise by the day and this is becoming worrisome.
"This is basically because there is no measure in place to counsel, supervise and monitor the activities of these children.
I think we should have more of the professionals that would be there to complement the efforts of the subject teachers in moulding the characters of these children before our value system collapses totally," she said."
Odunukwe said that some of the vices threatening the peace and stability of the country presently would have been checked if most of the youths with criminal tendency were exposed to guidance and counselling at school. She explained that peer pressure had over the years been a recurring decimal, adding that it was necessary for all stakeholders to join hands in finding a lasting solution to the ugly trend.
"There is no way we can realise the much-desired Vision 20:2020, without first building the right values at the basic level. The curriculum, through which education is provided, is meant to equip learners with knowledge, skills, attitudes and values. We must focus on human capital development and this we must do by ensuring that we catch them young and correct them early."
So that, as they are exiting from school, they are already equipped with the knowledge and skills, attitudes and values they require, to be what they want to be. There must be an aggressive re-orientation on the dangers of peer group pressures in our schools and this we can only achieve by continuous sensitisation, by way of seminars, conferences and workshops for the teachers," she said.
Odunukwe said that the youths must also strive to be focused by setting some goals for themselves, whether in the short term or long term. The Public Relations Officer, KCPTA, Mrs Abimbola Olumegbon said that concerted efforts must be made by parents to assume their roles and responsibilities in the up-bringing of their children and wards.
She said that a lot of parents were becoming increasingly too busy to relate with their families, adding that this had contributed largely to the steady erosion of values across every strata of the society.
According to her, lack of commitment to family values, as well as communication gap, was responsible for most of the social vices among the youths.
Her words: "When parents no longer pay attention to what is happening at the home front and focus more on material things, then the result is what we are getting today in the society.
"We must all play our roles as parents in bringing the children up in a righteous manner, in order to complement the works of the teachers."