A study of students' perceptions on guidance and counselling in public secondary schools of South Kinangop division.
Wachira, Nancy N
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The purpose of this study was to determine the students' perceptions on guidance and counselling in public secondary schools in South Kinangop division of Nyandarua District. The problem was that cases related to negative influence among the schools' students are on the rise. These include drug abuse, truancy and dangerous exposure to contracting HN/AIDS. The review in literature established a strong link between perceptions in guidance and counselling and observed deviant behaviour such as poor performance in secondary school examinations and general indiscipline. The target population for the study was all headteachers and teachers in charge of guidance and counselling in South Kinangop division secondary schools. Form Three and Four students were the main targets of the study. This was because they have stayed longer and interacted with the guidance and counselling departments to form perceptions. To get responses from the three categories of respondents, three different questionnaires were developed. To increase their reliability, the questionnaires were adapted from those used in similar studies by Wanjohi (1990) and Gitonga (1999). The questionnaire sought to seek relevant information from each category of respondents. The instruments were administered to a sample of 8 head teachers, 8 teachers and 120 students. The questionnaire return rates were 100% for teachers, 87.5% for headteachers and 83.3% for students. The data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics. VI The study revealed that all schools have programmes for guidance and counselling except that there was a myriad of problems that hinder their implementation. Basic facilities like private rooms for guidance and counselling were lacking in most of the schools. Teachers incharge of guidance and counselling did not always have an opportunity to access training fora like workshops and seminars. The study revealed that teachers have positive perceptions towards guidance and counselling in spite of some formidable challenges. They indicated that guidance and counselling would help students overcome problems in academics, social issues and in psychological disorientation. They however expressed the need for all staff members including headteachers to be members of a team of counsellors instead of delegating the whole work to a selected few. Most students shy away from seeking help from their guidance and counselling teachers. Most indicated that they fear that their situations may be made public by the teacher-counsellors once they open up. To avoid this fear, some teachers expressed the need to have students counselled in groups. The students indicated that they had significantly benefited from guidance and counselling services. About 40% of respondents indicated that the services made them improve in class work whereby 61 % of the respondents mentioned that they had improved on morality and uprightness as a result of attending counselling Vll sessions. Further, the students suggested areas that needed intense coverage in counselling such as academics (52%), social Issues (62%) and psychological issues (41 %). It was revealed that students perceive teacher-counsellors differently depending on the gender of the teacher. About 32% respondents indicated that they would prefer male teacher-counsellors, while 41 % respondents would prefer female teacher- counsellors. The students also indicated the degree to which they are able to open up fully to teacher counsellors. Some 46% are able to open up while 54% indicated that they are unable to open up due to fear of betrayal. To improve the guidance and counselling services in schools teachers suggested importance of involvement of the wider community in shaping up the youths' values. Issues like drug abuse and prostitution, they indicated, need prompt address. Based on the findings of the study and the conclusions, the following recommendations were made: (1) Teachers in charge of guidance and counselling programmes in the schools should be given minimal classloads and be exempted from other school duties like being a school duty master. Vlll (2) The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology should create a provision for conducting in-service training for guidance and counselling teachers. (3) The government in conjunction with the ministry, should encourage organizations and NGO's dealing in education to help schools with materials on guidance and counselling, to both students and teachers.