Saturday, 19 April 2008 9:23 AM

SINTA to Launch Counselling Programme in Schools

The Solomon Islands National Teacher Association (SINTA) is planning to launch a counselling programme in schools, as part of its fight to curb the alleged involvement of youths in prostitution, which is reported to be on the increase.

SINTA's acting public relation officer Mr. Joses Alick, revealed this in an interview with the teachers' peak body.

Mr. Alick explained that SINTA's primary responsibility is to look at the terms and conditions of employment of teachers.

SINTA would however not directly deal with allegations that some students may have become involved in prostitution activities.

"... what the SINTA is trying to do at the moment is to put in place a mechanism within schools that will involve teachers and parents coming together to try and figure out the root causes of this. That is why we have decided to run this programme purposely for teachers and parents to do counselling so as to identify the problem, adding that the problem of prostitution can only be identified by parents," said Mr. Alick

The SINTA Public Relations officer also believes that those involved in the prostitution racket are girls whose parents live in rural areas, who have come to town but have been given less support by family members whom they stay with in Honiara.

"The only thing that young girls tend to do when less support is given is that they sell themselves to get money to support themselves while living here in town."

Mr. Alick also raised serious concern about the health of those allegedly involved in such activity, stating that "those who are involved will only expose their health to diseases such as HIV/Aids and STIs, which only reduces their life span."

He said that once SINTA has established its counselling programme in schools, it will move on to reach out to other ministries including the Ministry of Women and Youth and the government to also provide support by providing activities that will help youths engage in meaningful activities.

The counselling programme is expected to start either June or July this year.