Human life is subject to crisis. All of us go through a series of crisis across the life but some are more affected. Pastoral care is an ancient way of emotional and spiritual support that can be found in all cultures and traditions. Historically, it is a ministry of care and counseling provided by pastors, chaplains and other religious leaders to members of their church or congregation, or to the people of all faiths and none with institutional settings. This service can be provided anywhere commence from home visitation, hospitals, and schools to formal counseling provided by pastors.
It has been described in the Quran that followers of the faith are commanded to co-operate towards goodness “The believing men and believing women are Auliya (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another.” (9:71) this means pastoral caring can be listening, supporting, motivating and befriending.
During the past decades, there has been growing recognition of pastoral care in every aspect of life. The trained pastoral care takers support people in their soreness, socially, emotionally physically and psychologically, and moral well being. This can range anywhere from home visitation to formal counseling provided by pastors who are licensed to offer counseling services.
Now days, even in schools recognition of pastoral care is accepted, it is the expression of care for the student’s personal and social well being. Pastoral care caters the wide range of issues like ethical issues, absenteeism, misbehavior of children, lack of personal interest in education, learning outcomes of students, caring for the students who are struggling with a difficulties and emotional support.
In the densely populated countries like Pakistan-where circumstances are mutable and unpredictable, different challenges confronted to the citizens ranges from poor administration, socio-political issues, economic stress to the lack of education. The schools play a major role in the holistic development of the students’ well being. The holistic development of each child is important for the prosperous future of Pakistan According to the United Nations; Pakistan is on 105 ranks on generating their Human development gender index. Therefore, it is a genuine need of the time that the schools should adopt the pastoral caring practice. Students should get the high level of attention and care, while they are in schools. It is not because their parents pay school fees or they belong to a particular social group but this is the right of every child to be educated in a secure and caring environment. The school management needs to set the mechanism of pastoral care which provide students an emotional support and catered their needs.
School education helps in developing students’ skills, attitudes and moral values that they need to take up their positions as active and responsible members of the wider community. The schools should establish the effective career development centers which provide them the pathway to choose the correct career for them. The school management should involve the families to design the programs. The classroom teachers and parents together should be responsible for the academic progress of the student. School management should design and implement internship programs for the senior students. The community service program should be mandatory for all students to ensure that they develop an awareness of the wider world and a sense of responsibilities towards the betterment of the community and for the city where they live.
When the classroom teacher reports on student progress, the teacher or school management ensures that aspect of the personal development of the child should also be included.
Looking at this situation, our authorities require serious reflections and plans to adopt the pastoral care policy. They must learn from the schools which are offering the pastoral service. Surely, these schools can make a difference to young peoples’ lives. This is the most immediate need of the schools of Pakistan.
The writer is an educator. firstname.lastname@example.org