This instruction from the Ministry of Education comes along with the increase in the number of students per class which led to the response from teachers and the increase in the number of permanent teachers with a zero or reduced schedule. To cover this situation, the Ministry presented, to teachers, a set of activities to be performed by them in schools to allow for a reduction in the number of teachers with a zero schedule. Among the activities proposed we have Vocational Guidance.
The OPP reminds you that Vocational Guidance is a specific competence of psychologists given that it is aimed at promoting, in youths, not only a greater awareness regarding school and professional alternatives, but also a greater awareness of their own skills, interests, values, etc. This self-awareness is promoted through the sitting of various psychological evaluations, and this activity requires specialised higher education in Psychology. For this reason, teachers do not have the qualifications needed to practise an activity of this nature.
As a result of these instructions for the distribution of the teaching staff, the OPP was informed by the contracted psychologists for the schools (1/4 of all psychologists working for the Ministry of Education) that they were being informed, by the Regional Boards of Education, that their contracts would not be renewed in the next school year. The OPP points out that these professionals carry out duties far more extensive than Vocational Guidance, including psychological support and monitoring, the evaluation and monitoring of students with special education needs, the cooperation in the prevention of school failure and drop outs, health prevention and promotion activities, the promotion of cognitive competences, the promotion of socio-emotional competences, among others. As each group does not normally have more than 1 psychologist, the dispensing with these professionals will leave thousands of students without psychological support.
We point out that the OPP attempted to, in advance, cover these issues with the Ministry of Education without the ministry being available to meet since last year.