Counselling at the Workplace in Tanzania What can Distance Education do?
his paper examines practice in counselling at workplaces. It draws examples from Tanzania. Authors define counselling as a collaborative approach towards problem solving. It is a step-by-step process of self-actualization guided by a counsellor. The authors are of the view that in most workplaces in Tanzania, for instance, there is a vacuum in counselling activities. Workers have very few professional counsellors to go to for guidance and counselling. This vacuum is usually promptly filled up with managerial actions, trade unionism and personal efforts towards individualisation which is merely advice and not counselling. They further argue that, both trade unionists and managers have objectives sometimes different from those of workers. In other instances, they frustrate the workers instead of helping them to fruitful and well-informed decisions. The paper concludes that the vacuum that exists in counselling at the workplace may be damaging to some work relations, institutional services, and can be a source of job dissatisfaction and low productivity. Thus it must be replaced with professional counselling services. The paper further argues that even where professional counsellors are employed (for example educational institutions like universities), only students are counselled and the workers are not covered as if they have no problems. Counsellors have strictly prescribed duties of dealing with students only. This paper recommends that distance education can be used in various forms to train counsellors for workplaces. Both short and long term programmes meant to gloom counsellors capable of professionally guiding and counselling workers can be developed.
Keywords: Counselling at the workplace, distance education, trade unionism, individuation, managerial actions