A study of secondary school head-teachers' attitudes towards guidance and counseling programme in Meru central district
Gitonga, Purity K
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The main purpose of the study was to determine secondary school headteachers' attitude towards guidance and counselling programme; a pupil personnel service. The study also sought to determine the importance of guidance and counselling in the running of schools, and establish whether headteachers are trained to guide and counsel students. The study further sought to establish the problems that hinder the provision of guidance and counseiling services in secondary schools. The literature review was organised under various sub-headings. These were the concept of attitude, which dealt with what attitudes are,. how they are acquired and measured; the meaning of the terms guidance and counselling; the scope of the guidance and counselling programme which covered psychological, educational and vocational guidance; and the objectives of the guidance and counselling programme in schools. Literature was also reviewed on the role of headteachers in the guidance and counselling programme, particularly on his/her role as the leaders, initiators and facilitators of the programme; the need for headteachers to be trained in guidance and counselling skills; and the importance of guidance and counseling in the running of schools. In this study a questionnaire was used as a research instrument. The questionnaire targeted secondary school headteachers as the respondents. The questionnaire was divided into three parts. The first part sought demographic information of the school and the respondents. The second part contained attitude items, and the third part contained open-ended questions. The study was ex- post facto in design. The subjects for this study were 51 headteachers drawn from public and private secondary schools in Meru Central District. Headteachers from girls', boys, and mixed schools participated in the study. Before the main study, a pilot study was conducted to test the validity and reliability of the instruments. The pilot study was conducted in six schools randomly drawn from the mixed school category, which had the majority of the schools in the district. The pilot study lead to the modification of the research instruments. Some items were dropped while others were rewarded. The reliability of the attitude items was 0.9. It was hypothesised that headteachers personal qualities such as age, sex, teaching experience and administrative experience played a significant role in their perception of guidance and counselling. It was also hypothesised that headteachers from schools of different categories and schools of different types had different attitudes towards guidance and counselling. The other hypotheses of the study was that training of headteachers in guidance and counselling skills influenced their attitude; and the success of guidance and counselling programme. A two tailed t-test and one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to test the set hypotheses. The t-test was used to test for significance difference between headteachers' attitude towards guidance and counselling against their sex; training and school category. ANOV A was used to test for significant difference between headteachers attitude towards guidance and counselling against their age; teaching experience; administrative experience and type of school. The 0.05 alpha level of significance was used for both tests as a standard for rejection or acceptance of the null hypotheses. The study established that headteachers' personal qualities of sex, age, teaching experience and administrative experience had no significant effect on their attitudes towards guidance and counselling. In addition the study showed that the type of school had no effect on headteachers' attitude towards guidance and counselling. However, significant difference was found between headteachers' attitude toward guidance and counseling and schools of different categories. The study further established that there was significant difference between headteachers' attitude towards guidance and counselling and their training in guidance and counselling skills. However, training of headteachers in guidance and counselling skills did not significantly affect the success of the programme. From the analysed data, it emerged that only 29.4% of the headteachers were conversant with the objectives of guidance and counselling programme. The study showed that headteachers were not adequately informed about the role of the teacher-counsellors and that headteachers lacked training in guidance and counsellmg skills and therefore telt incompetent to guide and counsel. The analysed data also revealed that the Guidance and Counselling Unit of the Ministry of Education was doing little in organising seminars and workshops to acquaint headteachers on matters pertaining to guidance and counselling, and in providing necessary resource materials for guidance and counselling purposes. It was established that the success of guidance and counselling programme was mainly hindered by: students' negative attitude, lack of parental support and lack of trained personnel in guidance and counselling skills. The study came up with six recommendations. First, that seminars, workshops or in-service courses should be organised for headteachers in order to: • Equip them with current counselling techniques • Create favourable attitudes towards guidance and counselling; and Educate them on the objectives and scope of the guidance and counseling programme. Second, it was strongly recommended that District co-ordinators be appointed and stationed at District Education Office to co-ordinate, supervise and evaluate guidance and counselling activities. The district office would also act as a referral centre for cases beyond the headteacher's ability. The third recommendation was that the Guidance and Counselling Unit of the Ministry of Education should play its role of organising seminars, in-servicing teacher-counsellors and headteachers , and providing the required literature especially career booklets and on time. Fourthly, it was recommended that time for guidance and counselling should be scheduled in the school timetable. This will allow for planned guidance and counselling activities. The fifth recommendation was that the role of the teacher counsellor should be clearly spelt out, and their workload should be reduced to enable them to spend more time with the students. Lastly, it was recommended that efforts should be made to persuade students and parents to take guidance and counselling seriously. The following suggestions were made for further research. Further research be carried out on: headteachers' involvement in guidance and counselling by using a wider sample and larger area; and students perception of how headteachers' handle student educational, vocational and psychological needs. Further research can also be carried out in a comparative manner against: students' vocational, educational and psychological needs in an urban and rural setting; and headteachers' administrative tasks.