Student Support Services is that part of the education system, which provides a group of essential services and student development programmes, to help each student achieve their full potential, by removing barriers to these services and programmes, and ensuring their retention and graduation from one academic stream, to another.
The main objective of Student Support Services Unit is to provide leadership, services and support, to strengthen the capacity of schools, families and communities, to ensure the success of all students, through collaboration in the educational process.
Structure of the Unit
The Unit is comprised of the following departments:
- School Attendance
- Guidance and Counselling
- School Feeding
- Student Activities Coordinator
- HIV/AIDS Coordinator
- National Parent Teacher Association
- The School’s Book Programme
This programme ensures that all primary and secondary aged students access the educational opportunities, that exist for their age group and that the rate of school attendance is improved, at all levels. Their main functions include activities such as collecting baseline statistics, monitoring and evaluating cases, conducting parental guidance and advocacy, on behalf of truants and absentees. The Department collaborates with a number of agencies, institutions and Ministries to ensure that mechanisms/structures are in place, to ensure regular school attendance. School Attendance Officers operates at the educational district level.
GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING
The Counselling Service Department will provide a comprehensive service, which is designed to meet the needs of students, in the three main areas: personal/social development, educational development and career development. This will be achieved through a variety of interventions, including individual and group counselling, Guidance sessions, consultation, coordination and collaboration.
Specific Roles and Responsibilities:
- Delivering counselling to students
- Providing appropriate personal and social development services directly to groups of students
- Providing leadership and direction, in consultation with the principal, for the school’s guidance and counselling programme, in accordance with goals and objectives developed cooperatively
- Acting as a member of the School Support Team, which includes teachers, administrators support staff, and outside agencies
- Coordinating, facilitating, and participating in professional development, on guidance and counselling, at the school level
- Assisting students, both as individuals and in groups, regarding their academic, career and personal and social development, through counselling, consultation and coordination of resources and services
- Acting as liaison for persons and agencies outside the school and within the home.
- Maintaining relations with feeder schools and post-secondary institutions
- Assisting in providing information to teachers, regarding the socio-emotional needs of children
- Developing and maintaining awareness of referral resources in the outside Community
SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAMME
The Department is responsible for the provision of school meals, which is mainly a hot lunch to students. The main objective is that no child should be in school without at least one basic meal. Healthy meals are provided to students, on a daily basis. Students are now able to go to school and not worry about not having food to eat. The programme is supervised by a School Feeding Officer and four other Assistant School Feeding Officers. They are responsible for overseeing, monitoring and evaluating the programme, at the school level.
STUDENT ACTIVITIES COORDINATOR
The Officer will ensure that students are actively engaged in co-curricular activities, in all schools, in all schools students associations and clubs must exist. This includes the establishment of student councils in all secondary schools. Other pertinent examples are, Girl Guides, Brownies and the Cadet Corp, among others. A mechanism should be established for more meaningful engagement of students, in school life. Student-led activities are identified and developed by students, under the guidance of the Principal.
HIV/AIDS RESPONSE COORDINATOR
The HIV/AIDS Response Coordinator will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Ministry of Education HIV/AIDS work plan and Policy. The Officer will liaise with the Ministry of Health and other relevant Organisations in the implementation of the Ministry of Education’s HIV/AIDS Policy.
The Officer facilitates and coordinates the promotion of HIV/AIDS Awareness and advocacy amongst staff of the Ministry of Education and subordinate institutions. The officer facilitates and coordinates the promotion of cultural and behaviour change amongst management, staff of the Ministry of Education and staff and students of subordinate Institutions.
PARENT TEACHER ASSOCIATION
The Unit will support the effective functioning of PTAs, in schools, and facilitate the development of the National PTA. Special emphasis will be placed on having democratically elected PTA’s in all schools, which will extend their advocacy and play a critical role in policy formulation. The key aim of this organisation is to contribute to the educational development of all children, by working closely with children, teachers, parents, the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders, thereby fostering closer ties to address concerns, challenges and policies that affect the school system.
NATIONAL SCHOOL BOOK DISTRIBUTION PROGRAMME
This Programme commenced in September 2008, as part of its strategy to ease the burden of its citizens, in financing education, due to the high cost of living. The programme targets not only the students identified as needy, but all students throughout the state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Private primary schools are also included, in the programme.
The Objectives of the National Textbook Programme distribution are:
- To reduce the cost of the education of children, to parents
- To allow equal access to the required textbooks, to be used at schools, to all students
- To make available more disposable income to parents, for other important areas, such as nutritional needs and health care, among others.
The Student Support Services Unit will work, in close collaboration with relevant ministerial departments, to ensure that the various processes involved in the Book Distribution Programme, are accomplished with precision.