The quality of guidance and counseling services provided to secondary school students in Kenya is paramount for it to have meaningful impact on students’ performance. The study was conducted to determine the quality of guidance and counseling services as a tool for improving students performance given by teacher counselors in public secondary schools in Voi district, Taita Taveta county. The study sought to find out the level of training of teacher counselors, the extent of awareness of guidance and counseling services by students, the availability of necessary facilities and resources that aid in the provision of guidance and counseling services to the students and the impact of guidance and counseling services on the overall performance of students.
A stratified random sampling was used to obtain the study sample; questionnaires for the students which had both closed and open ended questions, interview schedules for teacher counselors and head teachers were used to collect the data. The study was conducted in 6 public secondary schools distributed as 3 boys only schools, 2 mixed boys and girls school and 1 girls only school. The target group in this study was 392 respondents comprised of 380 students respondents, 6 teacher counselors and 6 head teachers. Quantitative data that was collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics; mean, frequency distribution tables, percentages and charts. Qualitative data from the interviews were recorded and inferences made on the responses to establish the themes
The study revealed that teacher counselors have the requisite training, however, they gave priority to their classroom work which is their core mandate; guidance and counseling is done when time permits. The teacher counselor’s workload and teacher-teacher counselor roles conflict were identified as barriers in the provision of guidance and counseling services to the students. The study also found out that most of students were aware of the guidance and counseling services offered by the teacher counselors as they were able to identify issues they would present to a teacher counselor when need arises. Resources availability was also noted as inadequate in all the schools and little or no budgetary allocation for guidance and counseling department by school management, and as such, teacher counselors had to do with what was available. The study also established that the guidance and counseling services offered by teacher counselors had some impact on the students.
The study therefore recommends that; to ensure quality and to enhance the impact of guidance and counseling services offered to students in public secondary schools, a review of guidance and counseling policy should be put in place by the Ministry of Education Science and Technology such that professional guidance and counseling specialists who are not classroom teachers be employed and be deployed in public secondary schools to be in charge of the guidance and counseling department on a full time basis.
School management should also allocate enough funds and resources to the guidance and counseling department to facilitate the provision of quality guidance and counseling services to the students. This would in effect increase tremendously the uptake of guidance and counseling services, resulting in improvement in the general performance of the students in public secondary schools.
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