The Fiji Higher Education Commission (FHEC) is calling on Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the country to deliver the National Qualifications in Counselling that was recently approved by the Fiji Qualifications Council (FQC).
The two National Qualifications (NQs) include the National Certificate (NC) in Counselling Support (Level 4) and the National Diploma (ND) in Counselling (School-Based) (Level 5). The two NQs were developed by the Counselling Industry Standards Advisory Committee (ISAC) after ongoing and extensive consultations within the industry and various stakeholder institutions.
Chairperson of the Counselling ISAC, Selina Kuruleca said that the NQs have been a long time coming and will serve as a minimum standard for those currently working in the industry, as well as those intending to begin a career in the industry.
“It is an extremely important piece of approved qualifying standards that matches that of Australia and New Zealand and more importantly, is relevant to counselling practitioners and service providers in Fiji. The standards can be used across our other Pacific Island Countries (PICs) and as such is an important integral part of lifting our standards of practice, which will ultimately mean that we are able to serve our clientele more diligently, competently, ethically and within the context of our local situation. It is a very positive development and with the establishment of various counselling associations in Fiji, this will serve as a guide to them as well,” explained Ms Kuruleca
The NC in Counselling Support (Level 4) aims to prepare individuals for providing counselling support for paid or unpaid work at a beginning of competency. As a graduate of this qualification, one can work with limited autonomy under professional and managerial supervision. Individuals who wish to pursue this qualification should be able to demonstrate technical skills with literacy and numeracy relevant to counselling support or at least have 2 years of industry experience.
The ND in Counselling (School-Based) (Level 5) is developed for individuals who are seeking to be employed as a Counsellor in the field of social services. It also qualifies individuals to practice Counselling in schools covering a broad scope in the education sector from early childhood, primary, secondary, and higher education institutions in Fiji. Interested individuals for this qualification should have completed the NC in Counselling Support (Level 4) or have completed at least 2 years of industry experience.
The approval of the two NQs is a milestone for the FQC with the first qualifications to be approved virtually. The FHEC Interim Director, Mr Vijay Naidu applauded the FQC for this achievement. Mr Naidu pointed out that HEIs have a vital responsibility to train competent and qualified counsellors to serve our nation as the need for counselling services will continue to be a demand.
“Given the mental strain and psychological issues COVID-19 has brought amongst our people, having this qualification in Counselling is just timely,” added Mr Naidu.
Interested HEIs wishing to deliver any of the two NQs are to contact the FHEC for further information.