With senior students feeling the pressure of being back in school after almost a year and with their board exams close by, counselling and stress management have become focus points in their regular programme in Delhi government schools.
While class X and XII students returned to school on January 18, they were joined by class IX and XI students on February 5. All the students are currently engaged in intensive revision of the syllabi which had been taught online through the academic year. Classes X and XII are particularly engaged in testing and assessment ahead of their pre-board and board examinations.
“Every year, we work on career guidance for class X and XII students, and we had been doing that online while schools were shut. Now that the children are back and face-to-face interactions are possible, we are trying to work on the many mental problems that children are facing. They are back to regular, rigorous schooling after so long; many of them are saying that they are finding it hard to focus. There is also a lot of pressure – many feel like nothing had happened in the several months of online learning. They felt like they couldn’t grasp what was being taught. Some children, along with revising everything and preparing for their boards, are also preparing for JEE and NEET and are feeling overwhelmed,” said a counsellor at a government school.
The counsellor said that in general counselling sessions in classrooms, she is speaking to students on stress management, time management, diet and sleeping plans.
The weekly time-table of schools includes periods dedicated to sessions with counsellors. Besides, students who have specific counselling needs are encouraged to meet the counsellor separately for one-on-one interactions.
Ajay Kumar, head of a government school in Chilla Gaon, said apart from regular sessions by the designated school counsellor, he is also regularly speaking to all students.
“I’m going to each section every day to personally interact with them. I’m especially trying to ease the pressure from class IX and XI students since they are in a transition class, and I am telling them not to feel overburdened. Apart from exams and academic pressures, a lot of children are also facing personal pressures. Some of the children had started working while the school was closed and now they’re feeling the need to balance study and work,” he said.
A recent circular issued by the education department directed schools to provide ‘counselling rooms’ to the counsellors to “maintain privacy during counselling and keep relevant records”.