School counseling is now done in most secondary schools throughout Zimbabwe. School counselors consult and collaborate with the school head, other teachers, administrators, parents and other personnel or agencies to support student success at school. The school counselor therefore acts as a liaison between the school, the home, the community and other agencies to help the student function effectively and achieve their fullest potential. Some of the roles expected of a school counselor include providing direct counseling services to students in need, conduct class presentations and prevention programs on topics such as anti-bullying, HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and social skills. The school counselor can also initiate and mediate in the process of direct parent-child or parent-school encounters.
The school counselling program is an essential part of the total educational program. School counsellors are advocates who provide support to maximize all students’ potential and academic achievement. In partnership with educators, parents or guardians, and the community, school counsellors establish a culture of high expectations where students are empowered to reach their potential while utilizing their unique abilities and interests.
Definition of terms
McLaughlin (1999) characterises counselling as a helping relationship, individually or in a group, which explores a problem, a developmental process or an event. She identifies the skills required of the counsellor as listening, empathising, challenging and facilitating action, and these are used to help someone understand their own and others’ feelings, thinking and behaviours and be able to act on them in productive ways.
In some countries, school counselling is provided by educational specialists (for example, Botswana, China, United States)...