Factors That Influence Students Perception of Counselors Roles and Functions in Institutions of Higher Learning: a Case of Universities and Colleges in Mount Kenya East Region
The purpose of this study was to critically examine university students’ perception of counselors’ roles and functions in Kenyan universities located in the East region of Mount Kenya. The objectives were to establish the influence of counselors gender on the students perception on counselors roles and functions, determine the influence of counselors age on the students’ perceptions of the counselor’s role and functions and to examine the influence of skills and competence on the students’ perception of counselors’ roles and functions. The study adopted a descriptive research design. The target population was 5,568 students drawn from the Kenyan universities and Colleges located in the East region of Mount Kenya. A total of 120 respondents were sampled using systematic stratified sampling technique. Data was collected using questionnaire and interview schedules. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics such as the frequency, means, tables and percentages. The qualitative data was analysed using content analysis. The study established that most of the respondents had confidence in the counselors’ roles and functions. The study further established that the counselors’ age influenced the students’ perception of the counselors’ role and function as the elderly counselors were perceived to be experienced, knowledgeable and mature in handling issues. The counselors’ gender influenced the students’ perception of the counselors’ role and function. The findings revealed that counselors’ skills and competence were important determinant of the students perception of the counselors role and functions as those perceived incompetent were thought as inappropriate for help with personal problems. The study recommended that the universities should employ experienced counselors who have worked long enough and are advanced in age so that the students do not see them as their peers. This is due to the fact that the elderly counselors were found to be appealing to the students. The study further recommended that the Universities put more resources in hiring counselors of both gender so as to give the students more room for choice of their preferred counselor. Finally the study recommended that the University should only employ counselors with the right qualification to enhance the students’ confidence on the counselors.
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