Appraisal of Guidance and Counseling Services in Higher Institutions in Niger State

Appraisal of Guidance and Counseling Services in Higher Institutions in Niger State (Education)

This chapter reviews literature relevant to the study of guidance and counselling services. This will be discussed under the following sub-headings:

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2.2    Conceptual Theoretical Framework

2.3    Types of Guidance Services

2.4    Problems Facing Guidance and Counselling Services in Schools

2.5    Review of Previous Studies

2.6    Summary


2.2    Conceptual/Theoretical Framework

Conceptually, guidance involves the utilization point of view to help an individual; as an educational construct, it refers to the provision of experiences which assist students to understand themselves, and as a service, it refers to organizational procedures and process to achieve a helping relationship (Makinde, 1990).  However, there are many definitions of guidance depending upon the point expressed by its proponent.

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Meaning of Guidance

When guidance was just beginning, people related it to getting an occupation for youths, of placing young people on jobs according to their ability. But as the movement gained more and more disciples, newer views about guidance emerged. Guidance was considered by Crow and Crow (1957) as assistance made available by qualified adequately trained men and women to an individual of any age to help him manage his own life activities, develop his own point of view, make his own decisions and carry his own burdens.

According to Super in Makinde (1990) guidance involves a process of helping the individual in the following ways:

  1. To develop and accept an integrated and adequate picture of one’s self.
  2. To relate the concept of self to the environmental world; and
  3. To establish goals and develop plans in accordance with this self-environment configuration.

Shertzer and Stone (1976) collected over 100 definitions of guidance and stated that, there was substantial agreement evident in them. Consequently, they defined guidance as “the process of helping an individual to understand himself and his world”.

  1. As Process: Guidance is not a single event but involves a series of actions and steps progressively moving towards a goals.
  2. As a Help: Guidance is defined as aiding assisting or availing. Many helping occupations such as psychology, psychiatry, social work, psychotherapy and psycho-analysis have as their major purpose the prevention and amelioration of human difficulties by the provision of specialized help. These occupations are helping agencies because they help to solve human difficulties, most especially psychotherapy which deals with serious problem of mental ill. According to Hough (1996) Counsellors often have to refer clients to other helping agencies or personnel when they are not in better situation to help such clients.
  3. Individual: Refers to students or clients in the school or other settings. Specifically, guidance is seen as assistance given to normal children/students.
  4. Understanding himself and his world: Means the individual comes to know who he is as identity, perceives clearly the nature of his person and his world, the aggregate of his surrounding and the people with whom he interacts, more deeply and completely.

Miller (1968), defined guidance as the process of helping individuals to achieve the self-understanding and self-direction necessary to make the maximum adjustment to school, home and community. In other words, guidance is the process of helping an individual and attains self-actualization so as to maximize himself and the community in which he/she lives.

Guidance is defined as a process, which deliberately, intimately and periodically affects the lives of pupils. It’s aimed at assisting the immature and the young students in a better understanding of themselves, to think through the meaning of themselves, to think through the meanings of personal problems, to encourage them to obtain academic productivity and to give dignity to their individuality.

Guidance is a service which assists each student to understand:

  1. His/Her own interests, aptitudes and skills;
  2. His/Her vocational and career opportunities.
  3. The need to emphasize the dignity of work.
  4. The importance of technical education in an expanding economy.
  5. His/her potentials and
  6. Opportunities for personal and social growth (Maisamari citing Millar, 1985).

Ikeotuonye (1983) gives the meaning of guidance in the Nigerian context as a helping process aimed at helping the individual to achieve self-understanding, self-liberation and subsequently self-direction. Its ultimate goal should be to help the individual to achieve a healthy interaction with other individuals and the environment. From the above, it’s suggested that guidance should aim at:

  1. Enlightening the individual about healthy relationship between the individual and his fellow men, man and environment and the meaning of the physical forces around him.
  2. Freeing an individual from superstitious beliefs.

Maisamari citing Dawing (1968) defined guidance as an organization of set of specialized services constituting an integral part of the school environment which is designed to promote the development of students and assist them towards the realization of sound, while-some adjustment and maximum accomplishment of their potentials. He further stated that, guidance is a point of view that includes a positive attitude towards children and a realization that it supplements, strengthens and makes meaningful all other phases of a youngster’s education.

Okon (1984) defined guidance as a total programme of a number of highly specialized activities implemented by all members to help individuals make wises, intelligent choices and decisions. According to this definition, each staff member spends a significant amount of time that leads an individual to understand his abilities, interest, weakness, aptitudes and potentials. This understanding helps an individual make wise and intelligent decisions and choices and plan wisely and perform well in school and adjust maximally in school and life.



Definition of Counselling

Counselling is defined by Shertzer and Stone (1976) as “a process which takes place in a one-to-one relationship between an individual troubled by problems with which he cannot cope alone, and professional workers whose training and experience have qualified them to help others reach solutions in different type of personal difficulties”.  Therefore, counselling provides conditions, which facilitate voluntary change in behaviour such as an individual’s right to make choices, to be independent and autonomous. The ultimate goal of counsellingtherefore, is to effect change in behaviour which enables the counselee to live more productive, satisfying life within the limit of the society.

Besides, counselling has been used to denote a wide range of procedures including giving advices, support in time of trouble or need, encouragement, giving information and test interpretation.

The American Psychological Association (APA) quoted be Ikeotuonye (1983) defined counselling as a help given to an individual towards overcoming obstacles to their personal growth; and towards achieving optimum development of their personal resources.

Thompson and Poppen (1972) see counselling as a person-to-person relationship in which one person helps another to resolve an area of conflict that has not been hitherto resolved. The helper in the relationship is by virtue of his training and experience, a counsellor who attempts to assist the student (client) in becoming an independent person capable of resolving his conflict situation. Conflict here refers to any block the student is experiencing in his development other aspects of conflict involve, conflict with others, with self, lack of information about self and environment and lack of the knowledge and skill requisite for personal achievement. Therefore, counselling is a process in which the counsellors assist the counselee (client) to make interpretations of fact relating to choice, plan and adjustment. The assistance may be inform of personal-social, vocational, educational and emotional needs.

Tyler (1969) says that the purpose of counselling is to facilitate wise choice and certain kind of decision on which a person’s later development depends. The central purpose of counselling is to assist students to explore and participate in their own development towards becoming purposefully self-directed in a changing society, having full respect for the growth and dignity of self and others and becoming the persons who they desire to become.

Jones (1951) believed that counselling is an activity in which all facts are gathered and focused on the particular problem of the counselee who is then given direct and personal help.

In the school, counselling may occur during a heart-to-heart talk between teacher and students. Therefore, the process of counselling according to Wrenn (1978) involves a personal relationship between two individuals, one of whom is older, more experience and wiser than the other and together, approach a problem of the younger, less experienced and less wise, with mutual respect and consideration for each other that the problem can become clearer, and one who has the problem can be helped towards its solution. Therefore, counselling is regarded as an educative process.

Roger in Makinde (1990) refers to counselling, as a series of directed contact with the individual, which aims at offering assistance in change of attitude and behaviour. He further stated that effective counselling consists of structure, permissive relationship which allows the client to gain understanding of himself to a certain degree enabling him to take positive steps in the light of new orientation.

Joseph and Jerez also in Makinde (1990) summarized the definition of counselling as:

An interactive process conjoining the counselee, who is vulnerable and needs assistance and the counsellor who is trained and educated to give this assistance, the goal is to help counselee learn to deal effectively with himself and reality of his environment. It is also regarded as a service designed to help an individual analyze himself by relating his capabilities, achievements, interests and mode of adjustment to new decision he has made.

In short, counselling is the heart of the work of guidance counsellors. It is concerned with feelings, attitudes and emotional dispositions of an individual about himself and situations he faces. In summary, counselling is the heart of the guidance services in schools.


2.3    Types of Guidance Services in School

The following are Guidance services provided in our schools:

  1. Orientation services
  2. Appraisal services.
  3. Information services.
  4. Counselling services
  5. Placement and follow up
  6. Referral services


2.3.1 Orientation service

Orientation is an effective method of introducing new students into schools. It helps to guide them on courses, school rules and regulations, tradition, communication strategies in the school coping with fagging, time schedules, effective study methods, educational advice and many others.

Orientation helps students to make effective adjustment especially during critical transition from one school to the other. Specialized orientation focuses on the need in a cross cultural experience.

Kankom and Omuya (2000), this forms a crucial aspect of the entire efforts by the school guidance team to make guidance services available to the generality of students especially the new students. The orientation services consist of activities provided to the students in helping them to adjust to the school environment and experiences.


2.3.2           The information services

The Information Role is an Important Aspect of Guidance Services inSchool. This is due to the fact that no individual can make an effective and sound decision on an issue without adequate and usable information making wise choice or sound decision involves awareness of the alternatives open to the individual in a given situation. The individual need information about the self, education and the world of work. This role is very vital to the success of any counselling encounter. It helps the individual to survey possibilities as Norris,Zerran, Hatch and Egelkesi (1966) put it that “it is difficult for a student to make an adequate adjustment without knowledge of occupational, educational and social environment in which he lives. That occupational information deals with training facilities and social information with understanding self and others.

According to Norris et al in Shertzer and Stone (1976) information is define as “valid data about all types of present and probable future education or training opportunities and requirements, including curricular and co-curricular offerings, requirements for entrances and conditions and problems of students life”.

The information services involve the provision and interpretation of information regarding higher or further educational opportunities, careers and trends him the world of work. What a counsellor does relative to career or vocational guidance depends on the situation; but it will offer include assembling information about occupation (in Nigeria) and educational prerequisites for them, the presentation of the information so that students understand it in terms of their own interests, abilities and financial resources. If these facts are brought to bear on the information situation, students and parents can make wiser decisions than they are making higher to (Maisamari, 2005).


Objectives of Information Services

According to Olayinka in Lannap (2004) stressed the objective of information services include:

  1. Creating awareness among students of what facts and figure that is available about educational, vocational and social personal opportunities.
  2. Assisting youths and adults with technique to obtain mastery and use of information for decision making.
  3. Helping adults to narrow down choice among several alternatives
  4. Helping children to understand themselves in relation to what they want to do in life.
  5. Helping youths with accurate information to resolve their socio personal issues and facilitating realistic educational and vocational issues.


2.3.3 Counselling Services

The counsellor’s role in this regard is to counsel students on their personal and social problems. Personal counselling helps to provide the individual towards growth and maturity while social counselling emphasizes social growth and social adjustment.

The counsellor could do this on an individual basis or in group. His role includes academic counselling and educational guidance. Students need help in terms of what subject to choose, or what subject to combine. They need information on courses, college’s entry requirements and a lot of other things. However, many students have problems with time scheduling, with effective study habits, assignments as well as some concentrations and students in class when studying. While some experience anxiety during examination periods, such cases require counselling.

Nwoye (1990:6) sees “counselling as all means through which students are given personalized attention a qualified school staff, to help them resolve any obstacle to handle those decisional problems relating to their vocational, educational, family, material, social, interpersonal and life needs. He further noted that “the counselling service is usually referred to as the core or backbone of any guidance programme”.

Genside (1991) sees counselling as something to do with individual’s emotions, feelings and behaviours. In agreement with this, Lannap (2004) sees counselling as the feeling and emotional disposition of an individual about himself and situations facing him.

According to Durojaiye (1986) counselling involves the development of interaction between the counsellor and a person in a perceived temporary state of decision, confusion, malfunction, habit disorder distress or despair. The process of counselling, which necessarily lasts over many short duration (some half to one hour meetings) between counsellor and the counselee, helps the counselee to make his own decisions and choices, to resolve his confusions, to correct his behaviour disorders, to evolve new habits to educational, personal and vocational areas of life.

Ikeotuonye (1983) defined counselling as a special kind of interaction between the trained helper and helpee meant to facilitate the helpee effort to achieve self-direction.


2.3.4 Placement and Follow up Service

Placement here refers to placing students in appropriate educational programme, activities or any experience helpful for them according to their needs and capabilities. The counsellors largely have to be responsible for placing students in streams for arms of classes, depending on their areas of interest. Capability and ability in the pre-occupational class/subjects.The right course according to their senior secondary school help students to choose the right course according to their needs. Placement also involves follow-up of the students on the job or in higher institutions.

Her and Crammer (1979) see placement as designed for “facilitating students entry into jobs or post-secondary educational opportunities” Shertzer and Stone (1981) defined placement as the selective assignment of a person to a position. According to them, it involves both in-school (curriculum, subjects and school activities) and out-schools (part time and full time work).

Omotosho (1995) argued that follow up services is designed to assess the extent to which the guidance programme is meeting the need for which it was established. The services are concerned essentially with success, failure, problems and feedbacks from those who have benefited from the programme. This is in agreement with Denga (2004) who said that follow-up-service consist of activities involving visit to place such as other institutions and employment establishments, collection of data, conducting research, keeping up past students and updating educational, vocational and social data. These activities are necessary for planning and evaluation services and for the purpose of helping students move effectively.

Lannap (2004) sees follow-up as monitory of individuals with a view to obtaining regular progress reports on their performance and how satisfied they are with either their jobs or academic performance.

Follow-up is needed to obtain and update data for information about truants, dropout, and students who had graduated. Follow-up visit are also made to obtain information about other opportunities and services for referrals when the problem is beyond the scope of services available within the guidance programme (Idowu 2004).




2.3.5 Appraisal Services

Appraisal Services deals with collecting, organizing, synthesizing and interpretation of data of the individual. With accurate relevant data, an individual will be in a good position to make realistic and effective choices.

According to Ikeotuonye (1990) Appraisal is one of the services considered very important in the school guidance programme. Hence, it is one of the basic skills a counsellor must possess in measuring and interpreting human behaviour.

In another development, Saka (1993) states that appraisal services involves data collection, analysis and interpretation aimed at helping the client to understand himself and also to enable his significant others to understand him.

Bulus (1990) described appraisal services as involving “the use of psychometric instruments to collect information on individuals as well as to enable others who are concerned about the development and welfare of those individuals to get an insight into their circumstances.


2.3.6 Referral Services

It is an already established fact that counselling has its limitations, so also do counsellors have their limitations. In fact, this should be made clear to the client on the onset. Ideally, referral should take place in the first stage of counselling, or just as soon as the client’s individual needs become apparent (Houph, 1996). Because of these limitations, counsellors often have to refer client to other helping agencies or personnel who have specific or specialized expertise which the client may need.

Lannap (2004) defined referral services as the process by which the student or client is referred to personnel who can render invaluable services to him. These personnel include the counsellors, principals, teachers, students, parents and many others even outside school community.

According to Ikeoyuonye (1983) the counsellor is not a Mr. Know-all and should not be seen as such, hence, he makes referral on issues beyond his competence with the consent of the client to the appropriate quarter. There are cases that are out of his professional competence, the only thing he can do to help a client in such conditions is to refer cases to professionals who are competent to attend to them.


2.4    Problems Facing Guidance and Counselling Services in   Schools

At the initial introduction of guidance and counselling in our schools particularly in higher institutions in Niger state, there was minimal understanding and cooperation from the administrators, lecturers, students and parents. They were not properly informed as to what guidance and counselling implies or entails in terms of its actual meaning and the benefits acquired from the services. This had consequently affected the patronage given to students and cooperation from the staff. Moreover, lacks of operational materials affect the successful implementation of guidance services in the schools. The problems could be discussed under the followings:


2.4.1 Lack of Facilities

Lack of facilities has been a major factor, which hinder effective operation of guidance and services in our schools. Makinde (1987) making contributions to this effect, states that inadequate physical facilities, saddling counsellors with teaching and clerical duties alongside with counselling work, poor time-table, inadequate material and non-availability of hardware and software hinder effective guidance services in our schools. Lack of facilities, which include test and documents such as cumulative folders, are deterrents of the services. Miller (1968) supported the view by stating that, counselling space is often considered last in the guidance design, but counselling as patronized relationship requires privacy to ensure confidentiality and therefore, it needs an office property screened from outside interference. The physical atmosphere in which counselling takes place, should guarantee optimal physical comfort necessary for promoting the attainment of psychological conveniences.

Lack of tools such as appraisal instruments necessary for understanding students’ abilities, interest, aptitudes and other personality variables to facilitate rational decisions-making in educational or personal socio decision creates a set-back in the implementation of guidance services.

Denga (1989) stated that, the cost of expertise in the use of psychological tests for appraisal in counselling is another deterrent factor. However, it has been proved that choice based on factual data may help reduce the present dictation from parents pressuring their children to fulfill their occupational dreams, which they had no opportunity to attain.

Moreover, the non-availability of indigenous test is another major problem school counsellors face. There is need to adapt or modify personality appraisal instruments to suit the Nigerian conditions, since most of them requires expertise which are seriously lacking in our higher institutions particularly in Niger state.


2.4.2 Inadequate Communication

Inadequate communication between the counsellor with the administrators, lecturers and parents is another major problem common in school guidance services. The counsellor’s role are not well understood, their constant interaction with the students irritate lecturers and school administrators while parents try to indicate their children’s educational and vocational choice. Denga (1989) and Miller (1968) pointed out that effective counsellor’s communication with administrators is indeed important because students and parents’ correct perception of guidance services are required for the good image of the administrator’s project.


2.4.3 Lack of Qualified Personnel

Guidance services in selected higher institutions in Niger state need enough qualified personnel to effectively implement it. Shertzer and Stone (1976) pointed out that, guidance is overwhelmed by extremes in number. There are few counsellors and many students, which results in unrealistic students-counsellors ratio. Denga (1989) stated that counsellors hardly satisfy counselling needs of their students. The situation is worsened by the fact that most existing counsellors combine teaching with counselling. On the other hand, Miller (1968) was of the opinion that counsellors are often jack-of-all trade operating quasi administrative functions, which make them unable to perform their primary assignment. The above statement clearly gives the picture of a counsellor in the higher school setting where every qualified staff is utilized to supplement the area lacking. Some higher institutions are yet to be fully equipped with qualified counsellors particularly in Niger state.


2.4.4 Lack of Power to Influence

Counsellors lack the power to influence change. This is due to the fact that their responsibilities are not recognized. Counsellors are not called upon to participate in programme are designed for students, planning and implementation, formulating college rules and regulations, code of conduct, time schedule, designing strategies for preventing disciplinary behaviour, (Denga 1989), e.t.c.

However, contrary to Denga’s views with the appreciation of guidance services rendered to student by many principals and lecturers, an active counsellor could easily make his presence known through diplomacy whereby he could be an active participant instead of a passive one in the school.


2.4.5           Lack of Funds

Guidance services have been retarded in schools due to lack of sufficient funds. Without budget allocation for the purchase of equipment, it is absolutely difficult for a counsellor to implement guidance services effectively.

Denga (1989) stated that this problem could be overcome when the schools or government includes a budgetary allocation in her yearly plan for guidance services.

Anagogo (1988), points out that finance is required for the training of personnel, the award of scholarship to individuals for studies in guidance and counselling and also for the maintenance of clinic in higher institutions. She added that one of the characteristics of this discipline is that its success huge more on the use of psychological tests. For the purchase of psychological tests adequate funds must be provided.


2.4.6 Lack of Time Allotment on Time-Table

Guidance services need time allocated on the school time-table for its services. Since guidance and counselling is not a teaching subject in some schools, counsellors are expected to create time for counselling sessions. Counsellors find it difficult to slot in their time during the regular period and other extra-curriculum activities. School administrators should create time in the school time-table for counsellors to conduct workshops and seminars for students to participate fully.


2.4.7 Sex Inequality

According to Denga (1989) sex inequality has become a peculiar problem in Nigeria. Conventional stereotyping retards the entry of women into some areas of labour force. Teaching, nursing, clerical, tailoring etc. are regarded as feminine occupations while engineering, armed forces and politics are view as men occupations. He further stated that counsellors in developing nations need to combat this sexist occupational segregation by widening women’s access to education. This view is gradually changing; women now undertake various courses in the universities, which were having women doctors, lawyers, engineers and lecturers. Counsellors could be used to raise women’s concept and expose them to a variety of occupations from which they can choose.


2.5    Review of Previous Studies

Several studies have been conducted by various authorities in guidance and counselling services in schools in different parts of the country.

Denga (1975) studied the “relationship between students’ potential and their career aspirations”. This was in the then North-Central State (Kaduna State) of Nigeria. This study showed that many students made choices above their ability levels. Denga conducted that vocational guidance services and vocational information were lacking. Hence, vocational information exerted the least influence among the factor influencing the students’ choices career.

Okon and Ikeotuonye (1980), conducted a research in which they found out that: students had academic, marriage and family, sex, health, emotional career and interpersonal relationship problems which can be handled if there are guidance and counselling centers in school

Olubunmi (1990) carried out a study on the extent of students’ patronage of counselling services in selected secondary schools in Oyo State. His findings that:

  1. a) Most students’ patronage of counselling services is significantly affected by parents’ educational status, but it is not significantly affected by the student sex age, self-concept, extroversion-introversion tendencies, level of religion and perceived academic ability.
  2. b) That most students’ who patronize counselling services had favourable and positive concepts of themselves and were extrovert.
  3. c) Those who patronized the counselling services perceived themselves as academically weak.
  4. d) Students who visited the counsellor were mostly from parents with secondary and post-secondary education.

Therefore, Olubunmi recommended the establishment of counselling units in all secondary schools with adequate facilities and also the role of the counsellor be explicitly spelt out in the school curricular.

The study conducted by Bolarin (1994) “the impact of guidance services in selected secondary schools in Zaria, Kaduna state” revealed that:

  1. Age has no significant effect on students’ need for counselling.
  2. That guidance services have not made any appreciable impact in most of the school studied.

Bolarin made the following recommendations:

  1. The school administration should give infrastructure, adequate furniture and funds for guidance programme.
  2. The teaching load of counsellor/career masters be reduced to given them adequate time for guidance services.
  3. That principals, teachers and parents should be deeply in love in school guidance programme.

While Bolarin’s study concentrated on the assignment of educational and vocational guidance on the ability of the students to make relevant choices and decisions, this study assesses the strength and limitation of guidance services with a view to improve on the present services rendered in selected higher institutions in Niger state.


2.6    Summary

In this chapter, an attempt has been made to give an overview of the concepts of guidance and counselling, types of guidance services provided in schools. The chapter also emphasized the major problems facing provision of guidance and counselling services in Nigerian schools.

Maisamari (1983) carried out a research on “the preparation of students for career planning in some selected secondary schools in Zaria local government area of Kaduna state” and found out:

  1. An overwhelming majority of the secondary school students and graduates alike know relatively little about the whole world of work before they complete secondary school.
  2. Nigeria girls have vocational problems and that their choice of occupation is extremely limited.
  3. Enough employment opportunities do not exist for our youths.
  4. Most of the existing opportunities cannot always be taken up by our youths because they were not properly guided towards it when they were in school.

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