The career advising units in colleges, too, exist in name only. They have not made their presence felt in the institutions due to a lack of sense of commitment in the Liaison officers, and patronage and support on the part of administration on the one hand and lack of latest occupational information material on the other.
The integrated programme of guidance composed of vocational, education and other important and desirable aspects of guidance and counselling for dealing with emotional and psychological problems of students, has not been introduced anywhere. Of late, there has been an emphasis on student welfare services.
Unfortunately, guidance and counselling do not occupy an important place in these services. Some universities have created the post of a student counsellor.
A few serious minded counsellors are doing useful work, but their number is very small. Most of these counsellors are not well qualified. It has also been observed that these counsellors are busy with odd jobs assigned to them by the Dean, Student Welfare Services.
So far we have not taken any steps of train counsellors for working in universities and colleges. Here we are confronted with a dilemma. If we start producing trained counsellors, we do not have job opportunities for them.
The said Commission had also recommended that some competent university should take up the task of training the counsellors, but unfortunately, no university has felt so far the urgency of starting a training programme at the post-graduate level because there is no immediate plan before the universities to introduce counselling service as one of the major programmes under student services.
There is no national organisation which could handle effectively the entire guidance and counselling programme.
The Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the University Grants Commission, are all singing different tunes- the net result is not very significant.
There is lack of a coordinated well-knit picture. The concept of guidance in colleges and universities is narrowed down to one aspect of guidance, namely vocational guidance.
This may consist of taking intelligence, aptitude and interest tests and imparting some occupational information. This type of guidance is very good, and it should be available to students in every college. It certainly means a step forward in the right direction. But at the same time, it is essential in the present context, particularly to focus our attention on personality counselling and this is what is missing now.
There is an unfortunate absence of a national policy, clear-cut, straight-forward and viable on guidance and counselling. There is lack of direction and coordination, supervision and planning, administrative support and finances.
That an urgent case for the introduction of this service exists was emphasised by the Indian Education Commission (1964-66) and convincingly brought to light by an empirical study undertaken several years ago by the All India Educational and Vocational Guidance Association. Its report was printed (1965) and circulated but nothing happened.
Time is ripe that in the wake of innumerable student needs and problems and an urgent need to channelise the national talent, we evolve a clear-cut policy regarding the introduction of this essential service in our colleges and universities. The earlier we do the better it will be.