Students' attitudes towards guidance and counseling in public secondary schools
Bichanga, Eunice K
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Guidance and counseling has emerged as an essential component in the educational system. Due to economic and social changes which have resulted in the weakening of the structures of the traditional societies, boys and girls in schools need to be fully guided regarding the relationships between health and the environment, life-earning skills, the knowledge and attitudes that lead to success or failure in life. Counseling helps in opening educational and vocational opportunities to students. It also helps them to acquire the right values and attitudes that would make them productive and useful citizens. This study was designed to establish the efficacy of guidance and counseling as a vehicle for behavioral change in secondary schools. It also attempted to establish how students' attitudes towards guidance and counseling influence/affect their help-seeking behaviour. It was conducted in all the five public secondary schools in Ngong Division, Kajiado District. The researcher interviewed students and teacher-counsellors to gather some information on the preparedness and quality of personnel involved in providing guidance and counselling services. The data obtained from the interview was analyzed through descriptive and inferential analysis. The study revealed that most teachers-counsellors in Ngong Division, Kajiado District, had not attained the highest level of training in counselling skills though they were all professional teachers. All schools recognized the guidance and counselling department. The efficacy of guidance and counselling could be improved through training teachers in guidance and counselling skills. It also revealed that students tend to seek help more frequently from teacher counsellors of their gender. The study further found that lack of competency of the teacher-counsellor, lack of resources and facilities for the guidance and counselling department, double role of teacher counsellor, lack of appropriate time set aside from the school curriculum for guidance and counselling and fear of staff members were among the factors that hindered students from seeking guidance and counselling services. Lastly, the study established that the nature of consultations students made with the teacher-counsellors were mostly referral. From the study, it was concluded that other factors, other than the ones investigated affect the attitudes of students towards guidance and counselling. The possible factors included: non-availability of teacher-counsellors, bad prior counselling experience, negative attitudes of students towards guidance and counselling, level oftraining of teacher-counsellors, teaching experience, the relationship between students and teacher counsellors, cultural backgrounds and lack of awareness of guidance and counseling services in schools. From the above fmdings and conclusions, it was recommended that the other factors, other than the investigated ones, that affect students' attitudes towards guidance and counselling should be studied and the hindrances to students' help-seeking behaviour should be eliminated.