CHALLENGES AND PROSPECT OF UTILIZING GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING SERVICES IN GOVERNEMENT SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN BUEA SUB-DIVISION.
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Effective Guidance and counselling programmes in Cameroon Government Secondary Schools is aimed at assisting students harmonize their abilities, interests and values and thereby develop their full potential. All this is geared towards improving the self-image of the students and facilitating better achievement in academic performance. This study sought to establish the challenges and prospects of utilizing guidance and counselling services in Government Secondary Schools in Buea, Fako sub-division. Students studying in Government Secondary Schools in Cameroon display a host of problems ranging from poor academic performance to low self-esteem, which drive them to open drunkenness, skipping of classes, stealing other people’s property, sexual misconduct and actual or attempted suicide. The problems exist despite the fact that guidance and counseling personnel in place in these institutions. The purpose of this study therefore was to establish the challenges and prospects of utilizing guidance and counselling services in Government Secondary Schools in Buea. The study conceptually explores the meaning and relevance of guidance and counseling services in secondary schools as well as their prospects and challenges. The theoretical underpinning of this study centered on three theories, the Humanistc Theory, The Psychosocial theory and the cognitive theory which emphasizes on the human interaction between two people (the counsellor and the client, in this case). Major findings reveal that that the prospects such help shape students moral behavior have greatly helped in the utilization of guidance and counseling services in Government Secondary Schools in Buea but for the prospects to be fully enjoyed, the challenges have to be addressed and resolved by competent actors/authorities. The researcher therefore recommends that an enabling environment should be created for guidance and counseling, Create awareness about its importance, provide necessary tools to aid counseling, attach importance to teachers of guidance and counseling and build a strong relationship between students and counselors/teachers There is also need to work to change the negative attitude towards guidance and counselling held by some students and parents.
The phenomenon of the challenges and prospect of utilizing guidance and counseling services in most schools across the national territory and globe is a call for concern. Equally, how it affects students and its various implications on the students is a vital aspect to research on which is what this study seeks to unravel.
Guidance and counseling are essential elements in discipline management of people in all societies even the most primitive societies grew out of the necessity of guiding individual’s behavior patterns in the interest of the group. Society itself could not function without the exercise of discipline. Using guidance and counseling to enhance discipline must be continuously being practiced if people are to work harmoniously for the achievement of common purpose (Salgong, Ngumi & Chege, 2016). Historically, guidance and counseling is a professional discipline concerned with providing assistive information to individuals for their proper adjustment and adaptation in coping with social and psychological issues of life. Guidance and counseling has informally existed in almost any part of the world were civilization existed. Researchers highlight that counseling and guidance principles began in ancient Greece and Rome with the philosophical teachings of Plato and Aristotle.
Sambo, (2012) posits that the primary function of guidance is to help individuals understand themselves and the nature of their concerns so that self-direction can be effected. Sambo, (2008) added that through guidance individual come to know: Who they are as individuals, understand clearly the nature of their person, Experience the world and the total surrounding and the people with whom they interact/relate more effective, productive and happier human beings i.e. they will become more fully functioning persons in life, while counseling denotes a wide range of procedure including giving advice, encouragement, information, test, interpretation and psychological analysis. Merriam Webster dictionary (2001) defined counseling as a relationship in which one person endeavors to help another to understand and solve his adjustment problems. It pointed out areas of adjustment such as educational counseling, vocational counseling and personal social counseling.
In the periods of the 19th century, the industrial revolution became the major event that began to trigger factors that led to the development of guidance and counseling. It led to the development of social reform movements, compulsory educational movements are vocational movements in industrialized societies like the United States of America. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 2002) noted that the first systematic guidance and counseling services was practiced in the United States of America (U.S.A) by George Merrill at California school of Mechanical Arts in San Francisco.
In summary, the informal genesis of guidance and counseling evidently began in the United States of America (U.S.A) by the works of Jesse Davis and Frank Parson. From the U.S it was extended to other industrialized nations like the Great Britain and eventually to Africa. While Zambia has made tremendous advance in the last two decades there is still room for the development of the profession. Contextually, the purpose of this study therefore is to establish the challenges facing effective implementation of guidance and counseling programs in Cameroon. Old Dominion University (2004) states that the main aim of guidance and counseling is to assist the students to develop physically, mentally, emotionally, morally and educationally to cope with the learning situations within and outside the school environment. These services provided by counsellors are hindered because of some problems. Despite the fact that there are many holders of high degree in guidance and counseling in Cameroon today, not many are qualified to be real counselors because they lack the skills necessary for the practice. There is limited number of trained counselors in Cameroon schools (Bobga, 2016).
It is absolutely necessary to direct students to exhibit acceptable attitude and behavior within and outside the school. The rapid expansion of student enrolment in most African countries since the attainment of political independence, coupled with inadequate resources to cope with the ever increasing demand for educational provision, had made school management a much more complex and difficult enterprise than a few decades ago. Meyer (1991) states that discipline problems in schools and institutions are perhaps the single greatest cause of concern for educators globally. Discipline in consistently identified as serious school problem in public opinion polls Meyer (1991) and some authors believe that school discipline in the United States has not change greatly since (Rue & Byarr, 1992). During the colonial period in which missionary education was dominant, it is obvious that guidance and counselling was provided by Christian missionaries to African pupils and native teachers in missionary schools. After Independence in 1964, the new government began to embark on several education reforms that changed the Zambian education system. Counseling was formally offered in the Ministry of Health to patients especially in mental disorder, psychiatric and psychological services. However, educationally, it was until the 1992 Focus on Learning’ educational policies that guidance and counselling began to be recognized in the Zambian education system. Guidance and counselling services were adopted in 1992 by Ministry of Education with the view to improve academic performance of learners and curb juvenile delinquency in schools (Moe, 1992). Mulcmwa (2015) points out that in 2002 a circular to help revitalize guidance and counselling in schools was written by Ministry of Education and later in 2003 an association called National Guidance and Counselling Association of Zambia (NAGCAZ) was formed. The mandate of NAGCAZ was to enhance professionalism among guidance and counselling teachers in the country. The practice of counselling and guidance in Africa may not be very comparable with the way these are practiced in the Western world.
Reasons differ in the facilitating environment and cultural influences to enabling regulations and government policies. Many of these delimiting factors may not be known to consumers of counselling and guidance services in the continent. Research paper reviewers and editors, as well as the audiences of research outlets into which counselling researchers publish their findings, need to understand this We hope that through symposia such as this, greater understanding of counselling and guidance in Africa by significant stakeholders can be achieved. To understand the experiences of practicing African counselors, guidance practitioners and researchers, their direct experience can be obtained only by sampling studies they have conducted with the view to gaining useful insights into their experiences. The British Journal of Guidance and Counselling has graciously provided a leading light in this regard by dedicating this symposium to sampling the experiences of practicing guidance and counseling practitioners and researchers in Africa. Further papers on related topics will also appear in later editions of the journal, possibly even forming a second symposium. In this issue, articles were included from different parts of the African continent, including Ghana and Nigeria (West Africa). Uganda (East Africa) and Pretoria and Nkangala districts (South Africa). We sought to include papers from northern parts of Africa as well but none were forthcoming with some potential authors (example from Egypt) citing the political situation as preventing them from contributing. However, It should be noted that the articles were not only restricted to those written by researchers of African extraction but also include contributions from African researchers and authors from Western origin in order to validate the experiences traceable to counseling as practiced in Africa from a broad range of perspectives. Other than having deliberately solicited papers from African authors and institutions, and having done so through African professional networks in addition to the standard methods for issuing a call for papers for a symposium, we have not sought to priorities any specific perspective but we recognise the importance of ensuring that African matters are addressed, first and foremost, with African voices and through African eyes.
The diversity of cultural and professional contexts, not to say social and economic ones are, naturally, immense across so large an area. No attempt has been made, therefore, to sum up the state of the art of counselling and guidance across the whole of Africa. Instead, the papers that comprise this symposium offer examples of work that together represent a sampling that is itself highly diverse. The leading Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina (2008) ironic advice for those who attempt such hubris and we have sought to avoid falling into too many of the traps and clichés he has pointed out, such as treating the continent as if it were one place or avoiding descriptive precision. Here we have sought to be specific, deliberately precise and to eschew the stereotypes so prevalent in some Western writings that play first and foremost to Western expectations (Doh, 2009). They do not apply and do not arise here, not least because a Western view has not been assumed. We hope, therefore, that this collection of work can offer some insights into examples of the current developments and issues in counselling and guidance and some of the work it comprises in a specifically African context.
The independent variable of the principal and the students’ attitude affects the utilization of guidance and counseling services. If the principal and the school management have a positive attitude that would provide adequate funds to all the facilities in proper supply. However, if their attitude is negative, then the facilities would not be in place, hence a hindrance to proper utilization of guidance and counseling. Similarly a negative attitude amongst students would stop them from seeking counseling services, while a positive attitude would encourage them to seek help. The other independent variable is the counselors work load as it affects the utilization of guidance and counseling services. If the counselors have a heavy work load, they are likely to dedicate limited or no time to attend to students fully because they are busy with their academic duties. In addition, the professional training of the teacher counseling affects the utilization of the guidance and counseling services. However, in the event that these independent variables, there are intervening variables which would aid to ensure effective utilization of guidance and counseling services. Thus it would be important to ensure that the teacher counseling have professional training on guidance and counseling. In addition, it would be necessary for the students and principal on the important and significance of guidance counselling so that they could change their attitude. Lastly, it would be necessary for the school management to acquire adequate facilities and resources to facilitate efficient utilization of guidance and counseling.
Changing societal and family values, traditions as well as disintegrated community; form the bases for psychological and social issues affecting students in institutions of learning (Wambu & Fisher, 2015). Mapfumo and Nkoma. (2013) noted that students experience immense socio-economic and psychological pressures in today’s world, which disturb their learning process. These negative societal trends have underscored the increasing demand for the services of professional teacher counselors to provide a comprehensive Guidance and Counseling Programme in secondary schools to effectively address the needs of students. In response to this demand, Guidance and Counseling programme was implemented in the United States and it became prominent in American schools after the World War 1 (Corsini, 1987). In support, Taylor (1971) states that school counselling was implemented in British schools in reaction to the changes in society, in family life and in schools which created conditions where greater attention to individual needs was necessary.
Guidance and Counseling is a professional field which has a broad range of activities and services aimed at assisting individuals to understand themselves, others, school environment and attain abilities to adjust accordingly. Adjustment refers to a process in which an individual find and adopt modes of behaviour suitable to or the changes in the environment. Hence, University adjustment involves an individual’s‟ general adaptation to own environment and the demands of life such as the way one relates to other people, that is interpersonal behaviour, handles responsibilities, deals with stress and meets own needs and life satisfaction. The need for guidance and counseling services in all Universities cannot be overstated due to increasingly complexities of modern life that have placed heavy demands and responsibilities on University students. These students are faced with numerous personal, academic, social and emotional needs and problems when unattended could lead to host patterns of undesirable behaviour (Weiten, 2007). School guidance and counseling programmes have therefore been introduced to assist students to overcome and adjust to a host of social and emotional challenges they experience at home and at school. Virtually, all countries have established channels to intensify and improve guidance and counseling services in their respective learning institutions in an attempt to address tenets of students‟ behaviour. The history of guidance and counseling around the world varies greatly based on how different countries and local communities have chosen to provide personal.
In Africa, the concept of Guidance and Counseling although relatively new in educational systems, has been embraced by most governments (UNESCO, 2002). Considerable progress has been made setting up administrative structures for the provision of Guidance and Counselling services in educational institutions to enhance personal, educational and vocational development of the students. Therefore Guidance and Counselling has been conceptualized as a programme of activities which has provided African countries with the gateway out of the existing numerous problems in the present age of complex scientific and technological development (Okobiah & Okorodudu, 2004). Guidance and Counselling was formally implemented in Kenyan institutions of learning in 1971 to help students deal with emotional, psychological, educational, vocational and social problems that confront them in their daily lives (Wango, 2007). The implementation of Guidance Counselling programme was based on a number of recommendations and guidelines in various Education Commissions Reports, National Development Plans and Government Sessional Papers. To strengthen, improve and to make the programme more effective, the report of the National Committee of Education Objectives and Policies recommended the provision of resources needed for the expansion of Guidance and Counseling programme services.
Education cannot be separated from an educator whose role is to educate, teach a science, guide, and train, provide assessments and evaluate students. The educator in question is a person who is a professional according to his field called a teacher. Teachers are one of the important factors in the implementation of education. One of which is a counselor who is responsible for implementing guidance and counseling. Regulation of the Minister of Education and Culture number concerning Guidance and Counseling in Basic Education and Secondary Education states that Guidance and Counseling as an integral part of the education program is an effort to facilitate and make students independent to achieve complete and optimal development. Guidance and counseling activities in schools are realized in an organized and planned program. The guidance and counseling program will be implemented effectively, if it is based on the real needs and objective conditions of the student’s development (Kurniawan, 2015; Sari, 2020).
About this, the role of counselors in schools is essential. They provide guidance and counseling services in facilitating the development of self-learners according to their interests, talents, and expensive stages of development tasks. By given the diversity of individual students as well as the diversity of abilities of guidance and counseling teachers in schools, it is necessary to emphasize that the implementation of guidance and counseling in schools must refer to the program to accommodate Law No. 20 of 2003 and government regulation no. 19 of 2005 and the regulations that accompany it (Nasional, 2005). School counselors have the responsibility of providing guidance and counseling services, being aware of the personality development and abilities of students (Cross & Cross, 2021; Mulyadi, 2016; Tjalla, 2020). In this case, it is expected that the teachers can carry out their duties and roles according to the rules that have been set. The results given can solve the problems faced by students. The achievement of the goals of guidance and counseling should be in synergy with the achievement of educational purposes in general so that the performance of counselors as a manifestation of the competencies that surround them can be optimal (Ralasari S & Atika, 2019; Thahir, 2021). At that time, the counselor profession was legally formally recognized in the national education system. Counselor is a profession that has been recognized for its existence in schools.
It has been observed that students of Government Secondary Schools school do not fully make use of the guidance and counseling services that had been made available to them in school when they are supposed to do so, even when the guidance and counseling teacher makes the effort by going to them in their class room they turn to leave the class room of either stay in class but don’t listen to the counselor. It is believed that, if these challenges identified are not treated by providing possible ways to overcome the challenges, then the prospect of utilizing guidance and counseling services in Government Secondary School Buea Sub-Division will not be greatly felt.
Introduction of guidance and counseling services in Government Secondary Schools in Buea sub-division was based on the promise that it would enhance the academic, social and personal development of the students. Besides that, this service was to aid the students make achievable career choices and decisions. Nevertheless, the success of these program remains in doubt given the existence of indiscipline case and deviant behaviors in most public secondary schools in Buea sub-division. Guidance and counseling services in secondary educational institutions been given divided attention than it deserves. Until the attention is given to this form of program, majority of secondary school students will continue to satisfy their irrational needs and uncultured behaviors.
It is against this backdrop that this study sought to investigate the prospects and challenges encountered in using guidance and counseling services in some Government secondary schools in Buea sub-division.
To examine the challenges and prospects of utilizing guidance and counseling services in some Government Secondary schools in Buea sub-division.
The specific objectives of the study are;
- To examine the challenges and prospects of utilizing guidance and counseling service in Government Secondary Schools in Buea Sub-Division.
- To find out the prospects of utilizing guidance and counseling services in Government Secondary Schools in Buea Sub-Division.
- To examine possible ways through which the identified challenges can be overcome in Government Secondary Schools Buea Sub-division.