Close to 60 psychotherapists charged with the provision of counseling services in Kenya’s universities have been meeting at JKUAT under their umbrella professional body- Kenya Union of Professional Counselors Association (KUPCA). The annual conference that opened Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at JKUAT reviewed emerging challenges such as increased number of disabled students who were gaining admission into the universities and yet universities were not well prepared for this category of students.
Addressing participants during the opening session, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga emphasized the importance of counseling saying ineffective counseling services could lead to higher drop out rates of students before their graduation. She told the counselors they had an obligation to support students under their care to succeed in their college obligations. Access to higher education alone she cautioned without effective counseling support would not amount to an opportunity.
Prof. Imbuga told the conference that JKUAT had employed a blend of traditional and non-traditional models in its provision of counseling services where the Dean of Students office worked closely with all other student service delivery points including faculty, hospital, halls of residents, wardens and others, a model she said that had worked well ‘in spotting and helping troubled students before they are forced by circumstanced to drop out of campus.
Other emerging challenges that received attention during the two day conference include is about the often forgotten population of students mothers, mainly arising from young university female students who became mothers while in campus, a phenomena that was on the increase and yet received little attention from university counseling services. Participants agreed to increase awareness campaigns among students to come up with an association of student mothers to champion for the cause.