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The Impact of counseling services on secondary school students discipline in Fako Division

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Counseling services in school assist students to harmonize their abilities, interest and values and thereby develop their full potentials. All this geared towards improving the self-image of the student and enhances good discipline of students. This study sought to establish the impact counseling services on secondary school students’ discipline, a case study of students in two secondary schools namely; Government High school Bokwango (GHS BOKWANGO) and Government  High school buea town(GHS buea town). The investigation started with the formulation of research question to guide the researcher. The target population of the study was made up 80 students from two secondary school mentioned above through random sampling technique from the entire population. Questionnaires were the most appropriate instrument the researcher considered in his investigation. Data was collected through administration of questionnaires to the selected respondents. Descriptive statistic was adopted in percentages to analyses and represents the data collected from the respondents. Considering the answers to the research questions, the findings revealed that; Orientation service, follow up service and counseling services helps improve secondary school students’ discipline. Students were aware of the role of counseling services in their schools. Counseling services has a positive impact on the discipline of students. Based on these findings, the following recommendations were made to help improve the discipline of students among secondary school students. There is a need for the teacher counselor to implement all the services required for a counseling programme. There is a need to improve the level of training of the counselor in counseling. Teacher’s counselors should take advantage of the positive attitude of the students to enhance career counseling in their schools. Counseling services should be strengthened in order to improve the discipline of secondary schools students in the areas. Conclusion and suggestions for further research were also made.




 Counseling services in school assist students to harmonize their abilities, interest and values and thereby develop their full potentials. All this is geared towards improving the self-image of the student. In an affective counseling programme, various counseling services are offered to assist students in personal, social, psychological growth and personal development towards maturity. According to Schetzer and Stone, (1976) these services includes orientation service, referred, information service, counseling service, follow-up services, and placement service but this study will focused on four of these services explain in the following paragraphs.

 This study therefore sought to find out the impact of counselling services on secondary schools students’ discipline in the Fako Division.  This chapter comprised of ; the background to the study, contextual background to the study, theories, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance of the study, research hypothesis, delimitation and scope of the study, justification of the study, methodological scope and operational definition of terms.

Background to the study

Historically, according to Marsh, H. W. and Yeung, A. G. (1997).Three key figures influence the early roots of the counseling profession, specifically Jesse B. Davis, Frank Parsons, and Clifford Beers. A front-runner in the response to educational reform, Jesse B. Davis, was the first person to develop public school counseling and guidance programs. As a principal, Davis required his students to write about their vocational interests on a weekly basis. Davis believed that character development was central to preventing behavioral problems and to creating good relationships with other students. Davis was strongly influenced by Mann and Dewey and believed that if children were given proper guidance, the challenges of an increasingly industrialized society could be met. Therefore he advocated for the infusion of vocational development into traditional curriculum. The goals of the vocational focus were to assist students in understanding their character and in becoming socially responsible workers.

Parsons, often called the father of guidance, founded Boston’s Vocational Bureau in 1908. Parsons believed the more people understood themselves and the career choices available to them specifically their aptitudes, interests, and resources; the more capable they were of making informed and reasonable occupational choices. In 1909 Parsons wrote choosing a Vocation, a highly influential book that called for the designation of school teachers as vocational counselors. Other schools took Parsons’s example and began implementing their own vocational guidance programs.

During this same time Beers, author of A Mind That Found Itself in 1908, was the impetus for the mental health movement. This book was an autobiographical account of his experience with institutionalization following a suicide attempt. After discovering the condition of these facilities and finding the treatment of mental illness ineffective, Beers committed himself to changing the treatment of the mentally ill. In this book, he exposed the conditions of mental health facilities and eventually prompted national reform in the treatment of persons with mental illness. His work was the forerunner of mental health counseling.

The above professional forces were working toward the development of the counseling profession. Early changes across three professional movements— guidance counseling and educational reform, mental health reform, and the psychometrics movement came together to create the foundation of the counseling profession.

According to Mutie E.k and Ndambuki, P. (1999) the term counselling can be traced to have been used throughout the world as from the beginning of the 20th century as a movement body during the period of industrial revolution.  But before this period, counselling services had existed in a traditional ways. Traces can be made to the foundation and advice rules to ancient Greece and Rome with all the philosophical teachings of Plato and Aristotle. There is also evidence to argue that some of the methods and abilities of modern day counsellors were practiced by catholic priest in the middle ages, as may be observed from the determination of the idea of confidentiality within the confessional.

According to Oketch, E. (2004), in Africa, Individuals were found living their homes to visit native doctors.  They believed strongly that the medicine man with his charms and emulates will guide them to recover through the instructions on how to mix and use some concoctions prepared by him. Sometimes, people were guided through their intuition. Children were guided through parental verbal communication or instruction and the use of positive or negative reinforcement to ensure that order and discipline were maintained. Close to the end of the 16th century, one of the 1st texts about professional solution appeared; The universal plaza for all solution with the world, (1626) written by TomasoGarzoni quoted in Guez and Allian,J.(2000). 

Nevertheless formal counselling programme using specialise text books did not start until the 20th century in Europe and in the United States of America in 1900s and by 1911. An organisation wide counselling programme in the United States of America was put in place and it centred for student’s needs, the emphasis was on vocational information awareness of the world of works, location of employment and reduction of examination anxiety (Makinde, 1984). During the first African conference on counselling in Nairobi (2002,22rd-26thApril) in cooperation with UNESCO/DANIDA, Italy and other international associations for counselling ,the participants realised that a number of most prevalent youth problems during schooling such as drop out, drug abuse, criminal activities was due ineffectiveness of counselling services in most schools. They came up with the solution that, counselling should be strengthen in all secondary schools and practice in the African context, so as to help improve on students discipline. Gill and Bruce(2002) noted the view of counselling have change rapidly and that understanding the function of counselling is important.

 Counselling around the world varies greatly based on how different countries and local communities have chosen to provide personal, academic and emotional adjustment among their secondary school students (weiten, 2007).Kaminer (2004) wrote that in the United States, the schools, counselling profession began as a vocational movement in the beginning of the 20th century when a systematic school counselling program was developed and provided for the use by schools. The movement emphasised personal issues social and emotional adjustment in other to develop and promote students development. Counselling services aim at helping high school students develop abilities of self-understanding decision making ,life planning ,studies on the modification of behaviours  and action taking to be able to adjust to social  and emotional (Wescher,2007). For an effective counselling programme, counselling should be led by a trained counsellor who is responsible for counselling activities in the school (Nelson, 1972). Makinde (1984) observed that, the trained counsellor is a leader and consultant in the school; he/she helps to plan counselling programme and the curriculum in relation to student’s needs. According to Kyunga, (1994) the counsellor should cooperate with the school teachers, the administration and parents. The following attributes should be found in the school counsellor they include; Empathy, Unconditional positive regard, Communication skills, Flexibility, Self-awareness and many others. Therefore counselling in school started as a respond to the need and concern, social problems including substance abuse, mental health and changing family pattern all pulled and triggered at defining the purpose of counselling in schools and the role of guidance counsellors.  Counselling services includes a variety of oriented and personal activities designed to enhance students attitude and values and refers to an individualise, small or class process that assist student with specific personal, social difficulties, educational and career issues.

According to Omulenza, (2000). School counselling is vital for students in order to enhance discipline and effective provision of these counselling services is of great impact to the personal, educational, vocational, moral and social development of students. Counselling 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 finds and adopt modes of behaviours suitable to or changes in the environment .Hence, adjustment involves an individual general adaptation to his or her environment and the demands such as the way of relating with other people that is, the interpersonal relationship and meeting his or her needs and life satisfaction. The need for counselling services in all secondary schools cannot be understated due to heavy demands and responsibilities on secondary school students, these students are faced with numerous personal, academic, social and emotional needs and problems which if not attended to, could lead to host pattern of undesirable behaviours (Weiten,2007). School  counselling services have therefore being introduced to assist students  overcome and adjust to a host of social and emotional challenges they experience at home and in school Virtually all countries have establish channels to intensify and improve  counselling services in their respective learning institution in attempt to address tenets of students behaviours. Among these services are; Orientation service, counselling service, Follow-up service, Placement service.

 The role of counselling has increased over time in most secondary schools in Cameroon. The adaptation of counselling services was as a result of the behavioural pattern of students which was influence by the school environment, peer groups, the society and even family background and the deterioration in student’s behaviour after the introduction of western education. The movement away from cultural norms, values and beliefs led to behavioural problems which needed intervention. Bennors (1994), Mutie and Ndambuki, (1999) wrote that counselling programmes are aim at helping the learner develop intellectually, develop a balance personality and to have a complete person intellectually, morally, socially, and spiritually. That is counselling assist students to harmonise their abilities, interest, values thereby enabling them to develop their potentials and self-knowledge that help them formulate life goals which are realistic. According to Bark, (2003) counselling are the assistances made available by qualify trained persons to students to enable them manage their own life activities and make their own decisions. Braddock, (2001) stated that the purpose of counselling in school is to improve academic participation, foster positive study habit, increase acquisition and application of conflict resolution skills and to decrease school dropout. When counselling services are missing in schools, student’s adaptation becomes difficult leading to low academic participation, misbehaviours and drop out.

According to Odeke, (1996) without a sound counselling  service, many students loose direction and engage themselves in bad behaviours such as drug abuse and alcoholic indulgence, missing classes, drop out and so on. Therefore, the primary objective of counselling is to bring about maximum development  and self-realisation of students potential for their own benefit  through the various services that counsellors provide to assist students in choosing a career, selection of objectives, proper placement and good study habits, Academic, social, emotional and personal development. These services are; orientation services, counselling service, follow up service, Educational/Occupational information service, Referral service, Evaluation service and many others which present professional systematic and psychological help to students. Counselling helps students to know themselves better and to find effective solution to their daily problems.

 According to Muisinile (1984) and Putterson (1977)  counselling refers to a broad area of all educational activities and services aimed at assisting individual students to understand themselves and adjust to school life. The movement for the adoption  counselling services emphasized to personal issues, social and emotional adjustments in order to develop and promote students characters and avoid behavioural problems (Oketch, 2004)). In school, counselling programs assist students in harmonizing their ability lost and values and enable them develop their potential. It directs students on appropriate career and subject choice, solving discipline.  Educational, social and psychological problems and general adjustment to social life through the cooperation with the administration teachers, parents and other authority figures if possible (Garardo, 2006). 

Over the years, many researchers and authors including professional bodies, world organizations and government agencies have spoken on the need for guidance and counselling services in school.  The executive secretary For National Board of Technical education (NBTE), Dr.Neba A.Yakubu sometime ago stated that, there should be a provision counselling in secondary schools. Yakubu (2002) point that, “Every post primary school should have a counselling department which will organize career tasks from time to time in which distinguished professionals will be involved. The United Nation Organization (UNO) had accepted the observation of the United Nations educational and scientific Organization (UNESCO) report on the need for organized counselling services at secondary school levels which states that, African government should perhaps consider providing more refined counselling services to secondary school students.

Conceptually, Counseling is a collaborative process that involves the development of a confidential professional relationship that focuses on personal problems. At Downstate, it is an opportunity to talk to a licensed counselor who is a skilled listener trained in the science of human behavior. The objective of counseling is to help you clarify issues, gain insight into your feelings and thoughts and deal effectively with problems. Nearly all students experience occasional difficulties that can interfere with their success or sense of well-being. Mutie E. k and Ndambuki, P. 1999.

School counselors play a vital and immense role in holistic growth and development of students Nulie and Ndumbeki 1999.  Students typically do not learn or exist alone but they exist in collaboration with peers and family and the society which intend influence their behavior and actions as a whole. Collaborative and systematic counseling services are mandatory for excellence in secondary school students discipline and desired behavior Weisberg and Myrisk (2007).

Horgan (2003) described the role of counseling as, equipping students with flexible adaptive responses to daily competence in areas of social, physical, psychological and educational adjustment. UNESCO (2006) states that hall mark of students discipline rest on effective counseling services. Bryigman and Campbell (2007) Crown counseling as the leading student agencies that develop strengthen and maintain fundamental principles adjustment among students.

The actual impact of counseling services on secondary school students discipline is intended given chance to be assess.

As far as this research is concerned there are two variables; the dependent variable and the independent variables.

According to Adher, (1974) a variable is the construct that the researcher is theoretically interested in that is likely to change or modify and can take a different value. The independent variable is that variable that can be manipulated (counseling services), to cause a change in the dependent variable (students’ discipline).  Students discipline is compulsory in school life, because education is not complete without discipline; it therefore helps students to listen carefully to their teachers.

It also has to do with psychological components pertaining to students’ sense of belongingness, acceptance of school values. It also explores the students work effort in school including meeting of deadlines, doing assignments, not skipping classes and many others.

In an affective counseling programme, various counseling services are offered to assist students in personal, social, psychological growth and personal development towards maturity. According to Schetzer and Stone, (1976) these services includes orientation service, referred, information service, counseling service, follow-up services, and placement service but this study focused on the  services stated below;

-orientation service

-follow up service

-Placement service

-Information service

Theoretically, this work is anchored on three theories which are the Person-centred theory by Carl Rogers, (1986),  Rogers basic assumptions on this theory is that trust worthy and have the potentials for understanding themselves and resolving their own problems without direct intervention on the part of the counselor. For Rogers, attitude and personal characteristics of the counselor and the quality of counselor and client relationship is prior determinant of the outcome of the counseling process and outcome. The counselor is expected to trust the client ability to move forward in a constructive manner when conditions fastening growth are present. Secondly, the Social learning theory by Albert Bandura (1986), Bandura explains delinquency as a behavior learnt through the complex’s process of socialization. The theory postulates that the behavior is reflective of people imitating others and imagining the consequences of their own behavior. The theory advocates that human behavior is modified using learning principles to change behavior.  Lastly, The vocational choice theory by John Holland (1986). This theory postulates that people project self and world of work view into occupational tittles and make career decision that satisfy their prefer personal orientation. The theory incorporates several construct from personality psychology, vocational behavior and social psychology including self-perception theory and social stereotyping. This theory proposes that positive vocational outcome (job satisfaction) depends on the degrees of match between characteristic of a person (vocational qualities). Holland terms this degree of match between vocational personality and vocation environment “Congruence” thus, congruence is assumed to predict relevant positive job.

Contextually, the context of counseling  includes such diverse factors as layout and decoration of counseling room, the emotional climate of the counseling agency, the relationship between the agency and community it serves, and the cultural beliefs, values and prejudice which inform and influence both. Much as the Cameroon government has recognizes the importance of counseling in our secondary schools, it has not however provide the resources necessary for creating a conducive environment for effective counseling services. (Makinde, 1984) comments that, schools should provide finances which will allow the counselor to have equipment’s materials and allowance necessary for them to carry out their functions, the funds thus provided could enable the counselor to get a regular supply of books journals and magazines visual aid materials, which in turn will equip him with current and accurate information for students. A counselor will also require to occasionally inviting a special speaker to talk to students or take them out for tours based on relevant issues.

Most secondary schools in Cameroon do not set aside funds for counseling programmes and even when the funds are available, they are miss manage. Sindabi, (1992) notes that, counselors have inadequate facilities and this it’s difficult for an effective implementation of counseling programmes. Engelkers and Vandargoot (1982) Observe that, there should be private and confidential area or room for counseling, the room should be comfortable preferably with arms and the room should have enough lightening and quiet where a confidential discussion can be held. Muties and Ndumbuki (1999) also said that an ideal counseling centre should have a large room with display racks, bulletins, boards and tables where materials can be display, which is not often the case in most school counselor’s offices in Cameroon. The room should be big enough for holdings discussions showing films, or where group counseling can take and part of the room partition for individual counseling.

Unfortunately some schools do not have even an office for counselors. Even in schools were the offices are available, they are located either in the administrative building, beside the staff room or close to reading room which make it very difficult to hold a confidential discussion in such an areas. Also counselors’ offices have been notice to be too small or even share by the counselor and another staff. In addition, counseling is not timetabled that is, there is no time allocated to counseling as a subject which makes students and teachers to look down on the services provided by the counselor or the importance of counseling as a whole. Beside schools counselors have notice to have no counseling work plan and counseling programme and they are also ineffective or uncommitted to their career since they feel they have no big task. This accounts for their frequent absence during work hours.

Statement of the problem

 Every child shows some behavioural problem at a particular stage or at different stages of development.  But in case of some children, behaviour problem occur more frequently and persists over a period of time like a chronic disease. In most cases, these problems interfere with their normal day-day life activities and their activities in the classroom. This behaviour problem refers to those behaviours of the child which create or which are likely to create difficulties in the learning  process of the child.


The researcher is disturbed by the fact that the value of orientation services in most secondary schools has been neglected since this has placed a huge negative impact on students discipline and there is need for it restoration. Another worry of the researcher is the low level of follow up and placement services as a guide to students in most secondary schools in Fako Division which has actually led to high level of indiscipline and low academic performance. With all these put in place, there is need for a research to be conducted on the impact of counselling services so as to be able to present counselling services that would help to curb the high level of indiscipline.

Objectives of the study

General Objectives

 The main objective of the study is to investigate the impact of counselling services on secondary school students discipline in the Fako Division.

Specific objectives

  • To access the relevance of Orientation service on secondary school students’ discipline in the Fako Division

  • To examine the influence of counselling service on secondary school students discipline in the Fako Division

  • To examine the role of follow-up service on secondary school students discipline in the Fako Division 

  • To access the effect of placement service on secondary school students discipline in the Fako Division.

Research Question

How does counselling services affect secondary school students’ discipline in the Fako Division?

Specific research Questions.

  • How does Orientation service influence secondary school student’s discipline?
  • To what extent does counselling service affect secondary school students’ discipline?
  • How does follow-up service influence secondary school student’s discipline?
  • How does placement service affect secondary school students’ discipline?


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