KP Sharma

The Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) has taken steps to address the growing shortage of school counsellors nationwide.

The Commission has expanded the available slots for counselling positions from just three to a total of 30, alongside important changes in the technical categories.

The decision to increase the number of counselling slots came after careful deliberation, considering various factors, primarily the supply of candidates following the preliminary examination.

Additionally, the RCSC took into account evolving staffing conditions within agencies due to ongoing attrition after the initial vacancy announcement and anticipated resignations in the future.

RCSC stated, “The number of vacancies for counsellors has increased given the higher rates of separation in counseling services along with an increased anticipated rate of resignations.”

Over the past year, approximately 38 counsellors have been separated from their positions, and there are more counselors who have indicated their intention to leave by the end of the year.

This attrition is seen as a factor exacerbating the shortage of counsellors in the country.

Reena Thapa, Chief Counsellor at the Career and Counselling Division, highlighted the challenge posed by the high attrition rate among counsellors in delivering effective mental health and well-being programmes within schools.

Despite the increase in the number of counsellors to 200 in April, the current count stands at 160 counsellors serving more than 500 schools. These counsellors are distributed among 160 higher secondary schools (HSS) that offer classes from grade seven and above.

To support students’ mental health and well-being, the ministry, in collaboration with The PEMA secretariat, has identified and trained over 1,000 health and well-being focal persons, including teachers, principals, and dzongkhag education officers.

These educators will be responsible for coordinating and implementing mental health and well-being programmes in collaboration with school counselors.

Although the focal teachers may not be able to fully address all cases, Reena Thapa said that they can identify and handle issues to some extent.

The adjustments made by RCSC to increase the number of slots are expected to help alleviate the acute shortage of counselors in schools throughout the country.