Author: Samaneh, O.
During the past three decades, the Palestinian educational system grew and developed within the context of extraordinary events and circumstances. In essence, military occupation shaped and modified every aspect of Palestinian life including education, in ways that led to the creation of a disjointed, unevenly-developed and under-coordinated educational system. The aim of this study was to assess the existing situation and needs that could be addressed by a school counseling program. No other study has ever been conducted to explore the status of guidance nor to define the role of the Ministry of Education in school counseling in Palestine.
Purpose / Objective
The major objectives of this study were to:
- Identify students' social, academic, health and psychological status in-and-outside the school
- Determine the type of problem students face in-and-outside the school
- Establish a database to be used by counselors in their planning for new counseling and guidance programs
- Help counselors in developing scientific methods of data collection and establishing a channel of communication with teachers, parents, and students
203 counselors serving in 600 schools across the country have been randomly selected from city, village, and camp schools. Each counselor should have had five full cases (biographical data, students' survey, one parent survey, and teachers' survey). 510 male students and 490 female students have been selected in a stratified fashion by counselors, according to specific criteria.
The information of this study was captured by means of a questionnaire constructed in four parts. The first part was designed to gather personal demographic information about the students, which consist of 21 questions. The second part was to gather information about student academic status, skills, behaviors, and relationships in related school issues, which consists of 32 questions. The third part contained questions about the parents' perception of their children regarding school and home, which consist of 29 questions. The last part was to gather information from teachers in school counseling related issues, which consist of 32 questions.
Key Findings and Conclusions
The demographic data of the samples suggested that 48% of students are at village schools. It also shows that no cases of mental disabilities were recorded at any grade, which reflects the unwritten policy of not accepting any student with a mental disability. Hearing disabilities recorded a higher number than other disabilities. As far as grades and achievement level, girls were recorded to be very good and excellent than boys. In addition, more boys fail one or more school years than girls.
Teachers and curriculum have not been reasons why students like schools; instead, to get educated and have friends were the reasons of liking school. On the other hand, academic difficulties have been the leading reason why students do not like school. Academic friends, adjustment, fear of expression, and fear of teachers have been the most common problems students are facing at the school. The percentage of students who fear teachers is 46.6%, which is an alarming one.
27% of students reported that teachers used corporate punishment in disciplining them; in contrast, about 68% of teachers reported using punishment or threatened using one. Teachers, principles, and counselors have been the major targets that students look for to solve their school problems. Just about 2% of student absenteeism were caused by non-sickness reasons. Most teachers considered the relationships with students to be excellent.
The educational levels for fathers have been higher than mothers. Considering the fact that parents' educational level is significant in children's educational world, it is important to note that more women help their children do their homework, and in making sure that school duties are accomplished. Mothers have more control over the kids' life than fathers.
Parents used different forms of discipline including humiliation, not talking to the child, counseling, and others. It is interesting to note that parents considered teachers' respect as very important.
Academic environment for students has been positively supported by management. Mothers are more involved than fathers in the children's school world. 31% of mothers and 20% of fathers always control children's behaviors in clothing, friends, and some social aspects. Most parents do not spend enough time with their children for academic or social events. Teachers also suggested that most parents show no interest in children's schooling.
Clarifying and strengthening the importance of School Counselors' role in the teaching and learning process in education. Developing awareness programs at school and local levels to explain the importance of school counseling. Work on increasing the number of school counselors so that a ratio of one counselor for each 400-500 students is reached. (It is worth noting that the international standard is 1:300.)
Strengthening the professional performance of school counselors through continuing workshops in all counseling areas. Developing training sessions for principals and teaches on activating the relationships among the management, teachers, and counselors. Principals should strengthen school counselors' position, and provide them with time for discussions, and planning for students' counseling needs.
Conducting educational meeting to discuss school discipline, and ways to deal with student behavioral problems. There is a need for public knowledge campaign to educate principals, teachers, parents, kids, and counselors on children' s social, psychological and legal rights.
Look after students with special needs and with chronic illnesses, to meet their academic, psychological, and social needs.
Activating and stimulating relationships between parents and schools, which involve parents' responsibilities and duties toward their children at academic, behavioral, psychological, and social levels. Work on activating parents' council for stronger and continuing participation in the educational process and non-curriculum activities.
Involving students in the academic process through participation in some schools' regulations, concepts in freedom of expressions, democracy, and social interaction.
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Occupied Palestinian Territory
Education - Other