Appointing counsellors in campuses still not mandatory
With the number of suicide cases or clinical depression faced by students on the rise, city colleges have not yet arranged for counseling facilities on their campuses. University of Pune (UoP) has not accumulated any data enlisting the number of colleges under its jurisdiction that have counselling centres.
Meanwhile UoP’s Vice- Chancellor, Dr WN Gade, on Saturday said that the varsity will appoint an expert committee with psychologists and sociologists on the panel to find out the reasons behind the increasing instances of student suicides.
When a first year student from ILS Law College committed suicide and similar incidences taking place in College of Engineering, Pune (COEP) in the past month, arranging for counsellors on campus seems to have become the need of the hour.
MiD DAY had earlier carried a story on how suicidal tendencies in college students are increasing due to varied circumstantial reasons (‘Suicide risk high for college students’, January 9). The university and colleges are yet to take the step of appointing full-time counsellors on its campuses seriously.
“To appoint a counsellor or provide psychological counselling to students is not compulsory for colleges. We don’t have any data regarding how many colleges are equipped with such facilities,” said Director of Board of College and University Development (BCUD) of UoP, Dr V B Gaikwad.
Dr Bharat Desai, senior psychologist and former Psychology department head from Abasaheb Garware College highlighted that two years ago, the state government’s higher and technical education department had emphasised this issue.
“I remember somewhere in 2011, the state government issued a circular to all colleges in the state with an appeal to appoint counsellors on campus. But it was just an appeal and not a direction. Hence hardly any colleges have taken it seriously.”
On the other hand, observing a steady rise in instances of students taking the extreme step, college authorities are finding it essential to arrange for a support system.
“We are planning to appoint a counsellor from the next academic year for at least junior college students. If this is not possible, I will definitely organise special workshops for students to create awareness on this topic, said Supervisor of Garware College of Commerce, Mamta Lonkar.
“Taking into consideration the changing lifestyle and stress among students, along with a psychologist, appointing a health counsellor is also the need of the hour,” she added.
While explaining how it is difficult to appoint a full-time counsellor she said, “As most of the affiliated colleges receive salary grants from the government, creating a new post of a counsellor first needs an approval from the state government. That’s why, if the government itself makes it mandatory to all colleges to appoint a full-time counsellor, then only it will be feasible to all colleges to initiate this.”
The year in which the state government issued a circular to all colleges in the state, appealing to appoint counsellors on campuses