Source: Science and Arts Foundation
The existing system of education in Iran is a study in contrasts, with a wide discrepancy in the resources available to students and educators both between and within different regions. While some schools have access to proper and up-to-date resources, many are lacking in vital areas. Information and Communication Technologies is a key means to bridge this growing gap.
As part of its mission to assist in the development of education in Iran, SAF has initiated a program aimed at improving access to mental health resources for Iranian students and the educators and counsellors working within the system. The goal of the project is to overcome the challenge of a limited number of mental health professionals and guidance counsellors available to students and limited opportunities for professionals working in the field to consult one another on a consistent basis.
During the current academic year, SAF's MIND Club, part of SchoolNet's electronic club program, has initiated a collaborative project with the Department of Education to address deficiencies in psychosocial care in education. The components of the project include:
1) A Persian language website with an online forum as a source for regular communication between counsellors and students and counsellors and their colleagues
2) A training program for school counsellors to support and maintain the website and forum for consistent interaction among students/teachers.
In 3 months, a selected number of counsellors were trained to work with the technology needed to run the above programs. This training included how to write messages in the forum, how to respond to queries through email or offline messages and how to use the website forum as a tool for discussions.
The website also features articles on psychology in Persian and works with an international team of volunteer mental health professionals as consultants. The address for the main page of the website ishttp://moshavereh.tsch.ir and the forum can be found at http://moshavereh.tsch.ir/fourm.
In order to promote issues related to mental health and use of the website, a number of steps have been taken, including a seminar held in Tehran on Sunday, 15 January 2006. Over 500 high school counsellors from across Tehran took part in this event upon an official invitation by the Counsellors' Center of the Tehran Department of Education. The day's program included three specialized lectures, as follows:
Dr Massomeh Namavar, member of the Counselling Psychology Faculty of Cambridge College, discussed group-therapy and methods of implementation for large groups.
Dr. Shiva Dowlatabadi, psychologist, university lecturer and co-founder of the Association for the Protection of Children's Rights, gave an overview of the role of consultants in Iran from a historical perspective and highlighted the role of technology in this matter.
Ms. Zahra Bavian, coordinator of the consultant website in Iran, gave an overview of the forum and its applications for supporting both teachers and students.
In addition to the above seminar, the team has also carried out a number of workshops for counsellors as well as students in various schools.
If you would like to learn more about, or support, the MIND club and other activities initiated by SAF, please visitwww.saf.ir
For comments on the SAF Newsletter, please contact the editor at: firstname.lastname@example.org
... Payvand News - 4/26/06 ... --