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Building a solid foundation for social and psychological services in schools

Building a solid foundation for social and psychological services in schools
Experts believe that universities should teach psychology in a manner that meets modern-day requirements

"The issue of retraining school psychologists, as well as textbooks and programs on teaching psychology, should be reassessed,” said Bakhtiyar Aliyev, Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Science and Education of Azerbaijan’s Parliament. According to him, the study of children's psychology and keeping it in the focus of pedagogy has become a vital necessity. "The creation of the modern information society has accelerated globalization so that preschool children, newly beginning to find self-awareness are exposed to serious psychological trauma. Today, one in every two children has a tablet or a smartphone. What kind of information are they receiving? Are they influenced more by their teachers and parents, or the new virtual world and new infographics out there? Therefore, it is important to study children's psychology and to keep this issue in the focus of our education,” he said.
The MP considers that taking into account the personal and psychological characteristics of both students in unversity and high school, adapting them to new learning environments and future life activities, revealing and realizing their creative potential, creating a healthy social and psychological climate, developing pedagogical skills and talent requires the reorganization of social and psychological services in education on a solid foundation. The legal and methodological framework for this area of ​​activity and oversight need to be strengthened.
According to education expert Nadir Israfilov, many universities offer classes on psychology. In this sense, there will not be a problem with staff shortage. "In the 1990s, as in all areas, there were certain gaps in education. Therefore, schools sent teachers with various teaching specialties to appropriate courses in order for them to fullfil the role of psychologists. Psychology is now being taught in various universities.  In this sense, personnel shortage is not a serious problem. Various discussions have been held on this issue over the years.  Issues such as the low salaries of school psychologists and the poor quality of service become topical issues from time to time. Now this issue has been added to the law on education and relevant regulations are being developed. There is just one vacant place for psychologists in every school. All schools have just one psychologist regardless of the number of students attending the school. But a psychologist should treat each child individually. In larger schools, this is a bit difficult. What kind of quality service can you speak about, in schools where 36,000 students study? A psychologist should work not only with students, but also with their parents and teachers. Thus, new approaches are needed in this field. In any circumtance, it is always a good idea to raise these issues. I think that reassessing this issue can have a positive impact on the better organization of psychological work in schools,” the expert noted.
Education expert Kamran Asadov said that although all schools have psychologists today, they are not performing their duties. The growing psychological problems among children and adolescents prove this. "Psychologists working in secondary schools are not aware of their duties. Some of them focus on other work rather than on their own. In many schools, psychologists deliver paperwork, register letters, etc. Whereas, in the modern world, psychologists are considered the most essential personnel in schools. Their role is very significant and our schools are in need of them. Suicide rates are on the rise among children from lower up to higher grades because students' psychological needs are not being met, and psychological problems are not being addressed. This is because children do not feel ready for life and feel that they cannot find a way out during difficult situations. We also notice depression among students. The main cause of these problems is that school psychologists do not meet today's requirements. There are problems with the work of school psychologists.  It may be that a lack of education causes problems for them in doing their work or that they are not able to find a place for themselves in the teaching staff. In my opinion, the functions of school psychologists must be clearly understood. I believe that if university professors only educate their students based on purely theoretical knowledge in old literature, then these universities will fail to train specialists in accordance with the requirements of the present day, including the labor market,” he said.
The expert noted that in order to solve the problem systematically, training courses, and seminars should be regularly provided to those teaching psychology in higher education institutions, in order to keep them up to date with the requirements and innovations of modern-day psychology. "If university professors only educate their students based on purely theoretical knowledge in old literature, then these universities will fail to train specialists in accordance with the requirements of this time, including the labor market. Universities should take serious steps to organize the teaching of psychology in ways that meet the demands of today. The organization of this work has a great influence on the training of school psychologists and social workers. In this case, school psychologists will have professional competence when entering a school and will be able to work according to the requirements of present times. This amendment to the education law can be viewed as a positive step. Yet, I do not think this step will be a systematic and fundamental solution to the problem. Although difficult and long-term, I believe it is more optimal and effective to start from higher education institutions when trying to find a systematic solution. Today’s amendments and additions to the law will show its effect in a few years.  In addition, it is necessary to determine what requirements school psychologists should meet. Based on these requirements, guidelines on the work of school psychologists must be developed.  I would advise schools to teach psychology as a subject and have age-appropriate textbooks on the subject. Even in elementary school as psychologists also work with elementary school students,” the expert added.
Shabnam Mehdizade



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