1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
From time immemorial, man has always needed some form of guidance in order to properly manage life issues. In the days of old, young people received guidance concerning life issues and this was known as informal or traditional education. In Africa, this traditional type of guidance was administered by families, priests and church leaders.
According to Anagbogu (1988.1), traditional guidance was a means “to direct, lead, guide, pilot, show, inform, advise, help and instruct”. The people were guided or protected by “Ikoro”, Ekwe” or “Talking Drum” when a message need to be passed or danger was imminent; it was by this medium that they passed information across each village. Modern counselling originated from USA in 1909.
Guidance and Counselling is one of the developments in the field of education in Nigeria. It became popular in Nigeria with the introduction of the 6-3-3-4 educational system in 1982. It is generally accepted that in Nigeria, the organized formal guidance stated in 1959 at St. Theresa’s College, Oke Ado in Ibadan through certain reverend sisters, out of concern for the graduates of their school. They felt that there was need to offer vocational guidance to their outgoing final-year students because it would help them with their life outside school to become productive to themselves and the society.
As a result of these, the reverend sisters invited twenty educated people from Ibadan community from different professions to speak to the students. Since they were professionals, they knew more about the emerging world of work than the students and the reverend sisters. Fifty-four out of the sixty students benefited from the experts’ advice and were placed in various jobs. The innovation was highly accepted by the society because in later years, this group of people, though not trained counsellors, organized career talks, seminars, guidance workshops and lectures for the class five students. Later on, the vocational guidance services spread to other secondary schools outside Ibadan and across the entire federation.
The Ministry of Education officials became so interested in these organized services that the group of “Career Advisers” was invited to provide career workshops for teachers and career masters. Eventually, the term “Career Advisers” became a national issue. In an attempt to overhaul the old educational system and steer it towards the needs of the nation, the Nigeria Educational Research Council (NERC), now called the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), organized a conference on curriculum development in September, 1969.
This curriculum conference was followed by a government- sponsored National Seminar in 1973, under the chairmanship of Chief S.O. Adebo to deliberate on all aspects of a National Policy on Education using the report of the 1969 curriculum conference as the working document. There was need for the curriculum to emphasis the aspect of students’ adequate preparation for life after school. The conference produced recommendation for a new National Policy on Education which the Federal Government accepted and published in 1977; it has been revised in 1981, 1989 and 2004 respectively.
With the highlighted changes in the nation’s educational system, the need for guidance and counselling services in Nigerian secondary schools become more glaring. Consequently, guidance and counselling services became an integral and essential component of the educational process for all students as they progress through the formal educational system.
In recognition of the need for guidance services in secondary schools, Iwuama (1999) stated, “we are conscious of the climaxed need for guidance services in the life of the child at the secondary stage which fairly corresponds with his pre-adolescent and adolescent stages of development”. The emphasis here is on the 3:3 educational systems, which implies three years in junior secondary school and three years in senior secondary school. The former is meant to be both pre-vocational and academic while the latter is more comprehensive, comprising the core curriculum designed to broaden student’s knowledge. Therefore, the services of guidance counsellor are needed for the achievement of the students’ goals as well as educational objectives. The goals and educational objective of the students are:
1. To develop a positive self-concept, attitudes, social values and self-awareness within a changing complex society such as Nigeria.
2. To gain knowledge of available educational facilities and learn how to study effectively to achieve academic aspirations.
In support of this, Unachukwu (1991) maintained that a close look at the aims of junior and secondary education will demonstrate the need for proper guiding of students’ interests, abilities and capabilities for any future choice of career and proper adjustment in life. It is well known that the present change in the educational system created a need for guidance counselling.
Prominent among the services rendered by guidance and counselling personnel in secondary schools are Information, Appraisal, Referral, Guidance, Planning and Follow-up for the proper guidance of studnets. These children need information about the changes of the new system; they need to be educated on the continuous assessment and they need to be exposed to available opportunities and social expectations if our society is not to be plagued by bored disgruntled, frustrated and unrealistic individuals (Durejaiye, 1976).
It has been observed that certain schools in Enugu South Local Government Area, in particular, have only one guidance counsellor rendering services to both students and staff alike yet students and teachers cannot say that they fully understand the roles and functions of the guidance counsellor and the activities they carryout in schools. Moreover, the importance of the guidance and counselling services in our secondary school becomes more evident because of the innovations in our educational system such as provision of DSTV room in education technology for teaching visual and audio-visual topics, on-line registration and study.
Iwuama (1999) stated that “Many individuals and government have recognized the need for guidance and counselling services in the national education system especially in view of recent socio-economic changes of the age”. Therefore, the broad aims of secondary education as contained in the National Policy on Education (2009) have to be achieved in order to identify the level of government involvement.
The National Policy on Education (2009) states, “Counselling facilities shall be made available to students from the elementary level onwards in order to constructively utilize their energy, to deal with any display of aggression amongst young students and to address any other psychological distress that a student may be in by suggesting a suitable remedy”. Based on this provision, educational guidance should be seen as assistance provided for children to achieve their goals. Against this background therefore, the focus of this research is to find out the perceptions of teachers and students on the need for guidance counsellors in secondary schools in Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The misconception about guidance and counselling services in schools has given much concern to the guidance counsellors seeing that there are several problems which the students are encountering but cannot find a solution to. These problems include: students’ unrest, constant changing of courses, delinquency, promiscuity, indiscipline, drug use and abuse, robbery and cultism. All these are as a result of lack of proper guidance while in secondary school.
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