KP Sharma

Rising trend of Bhutanese pursuing overseas education fuels demand for certified counsellors.

As more and more Bhutanese go abroad for education, the role of education consultancy and placement firms (ECPFs) has taken a center stage, emphasising the crucial role of certified counsellors.

These firms are increasingly recognising the need for professionals who can provide complete and accurate information to students and parents, enabling them to make well-informed decisions.

According to the ECPF 2021 guideline, it is mandatory for ECPFs to have a committed team, including a certified counsellor and an office assistant, dedicated to their respective roles.

Certified counsellor assumes the responsibility of offering career guidance to students and parents, helping them select suitable courses and institutions overseas. The proficiency and expertise exhibited by these counsellors during the visa application process have often been cited as a significant factor in the successful outcome for applicants.

Palden Tshering, chairperson of the Association of Bhutanese Education Consultancies (ABEC), emphasised the necessity for registered ECPFs in Bhutan to employ counsellors who have completed career courses from recognised colleges or institutions.

Furthermore, it is compulsory for counsellors to obtain certification and registration with the Bhutan Board for Certified Counsellors (BBCC). Palden Tshering stressed the importance of having counsellors with comprehensive knowledge about various courses offered in different countries as more individuals choose to study overseas.

Global Reach, Palden Tshering’s firm, boasts counsellors who possess certifications from prestigious global institutions. Notably, these counsellors have received training and certification from Australia, Canada, the UK, and New Zealand, including education-training courses such as ‘my career match’ practitioner. The firm also employs specialized counsellors who focus on assisting students interested in pursuing education in Australia, Canada, the USA, the UK, and Asia.

Proprietors of various ECPFs underscore the significance of competent counsellors in providing clients with accurate and reliable information. They prioritise maintaining the quality of information and services rendered to clients over financial gain.

Proprietors believe that by providing necessary training and specialisation opportunities, the effectiveness and validity of the information delivered by counsellors can be further enhanced. Currently, one of the firms employ three certified counsellors, while an additional four are undergoing training abroad.

Palden Tshering said that the role of counsellors at ECPFs differs from that of mental health professionals providing psychosocial and mental support, highlighting the distinction between psychological, mental, and education counselling, emphasising that education counselling primarily offers real-time information about courses, universities, potential delays, and manages students’ expectations.

He acknowledged that misinformation circulating on social media, such as promises of fast and easy visas, unrealistic university offers, and simplified application processes, can cause unnecessary stress.

Students are encouraged to engage directly with registered ECPFs and avoid unlicensed operators both within the country and abroad.