Family Ties and Peso Signs: Challenges for Career Counseling in the Philippines

Article excerpt

The article's 1st section provides an overview of the historical development of career counseling in the Philippines from an economic-political perspective. The 2nd section raises current challenges and concerns, highlighting the need for a career counseling model that would address, among other things, Filipinos' valued characteristics of close family ties and desire for economic progress.

Like many other aspects of Filipino life, the development of psychology and guidance in the Philippines bears heavy traces of U.S. influence. This is probably the result of years under U.S. colonial rule, with English as the medium of instruction facilitating the "Americanization" of the Filipinos. The development of career counseling, in particular, just like its U.S. counterpart, is interwoven with the growth of psychology and the guidance movement in the schools.

Historical Perspective

Career counseling in the Philippines can best be understood from an economic-political perspective (Pope, 2000) and in light of Filipino cultural traditions. Its evolution can be divided into five periods, roughly corresponding to stages in the nation's political history.

First Period (1913-1934): Occupational Information

The first reference to vocational guidance in the Philippines can be found in the 1913 report of the Bureau of Public Schools, which stressed the need to collect information about employment opportunities in different industries. From 1926 to 1930, teachers made available to pupils numerous materials for occupational and educational guidance. In 1933, the Rotary Club of Manila helped finance the publication of reference materials on various trades and professions (Abiva, 1991). Limited and informal guidance services were then being offered by only two colleges in Manila (starting in the 1920s). Toward the end of this period (1932), the University of the Philippines established a psychological clinic-the first in the country (Ros, 1965).

The focus on occupational information at that time could be seen in the context of the varied employment prospects brought about by the economic climate created during the U.S. colonial period. The economic depression in the 1930s further bolstered the need to disseminate such information.

Second Period (1935-1946): Guidance and Counseling Services in the Schools

The second period saw the growth of guidance and counseling services in public and private high schools-first in Manila and later in the provinces. Deans of boys and deans of girls were assigned to help students with disciplinary, academic, vocational, and emotional problems (Salazar-- Clemena, 1993).

This growth of school guidance and counseling programs was not accompanied, however, by appropriate training of the designated counselors. It was only in 1945, a year before the Philippines regained its independence, that the first Guidance Institute was conducted by army psychologists from the United States (Ordonez, 1985).

This 10-year transition period before the Philippines became a fully independent republic included the Japanese Occupation (1941-1945). With some schools being closed for part of this time, guidance services naturally were also suspended. Even when schools were allowed to reopen, many students and teachers did not come back because of the economic conditions (Laconico-Buenaventura, 1993-1994).

Third Period (1946-1969): Counselor Training and Professional Organizations

The postwar period emphasized counselor training and ushered in the birth of organized professional associations. Seminars were conducted for teachers who had been assigned, without the requisite preparation, guidance tasks. Resource persons for these seminars included visiting UN and Fulbright professors (Ros, 1965). At approximately the same time, teachers and school officials were being sent to the United States to take courses in guidance and observe school guidance programs (Salazar-- Clemena, 1993). …

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