Where to from Here? Contemplating the impact of COVID-19 on South African students and student counseling services in higher education
journal contributionposted on 2022-01-10, 10:43 authored by Paulette Naidoo, Duncan Cartwright
he unprecedented magnitude and effects of the Covid-19 pan?demic have rendered it a highly disruptive and traumatic phenom?enon. This paper considers the impact of Covid-19 on South African students and Student Counseling Services in Higher Education. The paper specifically reflects on shifts in student men?tal health and psycho-social vulnerability as a consequence of the pandemic, and the increased demand for the student counselor advocacy role. The inevitable need for technological shifts to traditional student counseling practice is considered, as well as the transformational dilemma or “double-edged sword” inherent in such change, given the historical, psycho-social, and economic complexities of South African society which impact on student access and participation in Higher Education. The paper lastly considers the adoption of a customized or “blended” student counseling approach that incorporates traditional and technologi?cal-based elements, and that can accommodate student personal and mental health needs, preferences as well as contextual pecu?liarities and challenges.