The Role Of School Administration In Promoting Effective Guidance And Counseling Services In Secondary Schools
The research design used was descriptive survey design. Purposive sampling, stratified sampling and simple random sampling techniques were used to select the study sample. The target population included school principals, teacher counselors, Education officers and students. The sample size consisted of eight principals, eight teacher counselors, five education officers and three hundred and fourteen students. The study area was Bungoma West Sub-County. Questionnaires, interview schedules, and observation checklist were blended together to capture exhaustive data. Quantitative data collected was sorted, classified and analyzed using descriptive statistical techniques.
Qualitative data was recorded in verbatim, transcribed and organized into themes and sub-themes. The study revealed that the school administration has a direct influence in promotion of Guidance and Counseling services in schools through appointment of heads of department to co-ordinate counseling activities as well as the counseling committee, provision of basic counseling facilities, advocacy and publicity of the services, and monitoring and evaluation. However, it was also revealed that in many schools, the administration accords low priority to Guidance and Counseling services since many schools lacked basic facilities for Guidance and counseling like offices and reference materials, teachers in-charge of Guidance and Counseling are overloaded with their teaching subjects and emphasis is put on attainment of good mean grades.
It is recommended that there is urgent need for the school administration to prioritize counseling services of all categories of learners as they go hand in hand with holistic development of the learners. The Ministry of Education should put disciplinary measures against school administrators who do not implement viable and sustainable Guidance and Counseling services that cater for all learners in secondary schools.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Gender distribution of teacher counselors basing on how they were appointed.
Time Tabling Guidance and Counseling Activities
Provision of Counseling Offices
Facilitation of teacher counselors for Seminars and Workshops
Advocacy and Publicity
The study sought to establish the role of school administration in promoting effective Guidance and Counseling services in secondary schools in Bungoma West Sub- County. The specific objective of the study was to find out how the school administration promotes effective Guidance and Counseling services that addresses the needs of all students including special needs learners. The study was carried out in 8 secondary schools and the education office in Bungoma West Sub- County. The research design used was descriptive survey design. Purposive sampling, stratified sampling and simple random sampling techniques were used to select the study sample. The target population included school principals, teacher counselors, Education officers and students. The sample size consisted of eight principals, eight teacher counselors, five education officers and three hundred and fourteen students. The study area was Bungoma West Sub-County. Questionnaires, interview schedules, and observation checklist were blended together to capture exhaustive data. Quantitative data collected was sorted, classified and analyzed using descriptive statistical techniques. Qualitative data was recorded in verbatim, transcribed and organized into themes and sub-themes. The study revealed that the school administration has a direct influence in promotion of Guidance and Counseling services in schools through appointment of heads of department to co-ordinate counseling activities as well as the counseling committee, provision of basic counseling facilities, advocacy and publicity of the services, and monitoring and evaluation. However, it was also revealed that in many schools, the administration accords low priority to Guidance and Counseling services since many schools lacked basic facilities for Guidance and counseling like offices and reference materials, teachers in-charge of Guidance and Counseling are overloaded with their teaching subjects and emphasis is put on attainment of good mean grades. It is recommended that there is urgent need for the school administration to prioritize counseling services of all categories of learners as they go hand in hand with holistic development of the learners. The Ministry of Education should put disciplinary measures against school administrators who do not implement viable and sustainable Guidance and Counseling services that cater for all learners in secondary schools. This study was significant in that it would challenge the school administrators on their role in promoting guidance and counseling
Key words : Counseling, Guidance, Effectiveness, School Administration. Special Needs Learners.
Guidance and Counseling in secondary schools in Kenya is of major concern especially after the ban on corporal punishment. School administrators in learning institutions have been given the mandate to establish and maintain effective Guidance and Counseling services that cater for the needs of all categories of learners including those with special needs. However, the situation on the ground reveals that Guidance and Counseling services are not effective in many schools. In Kenya, the need to establish and provide Guidance and Counseling services in learning institutions goes way back to independence when the government embarked on major reforms in the education sector. This has been captured in various government policy documents, legal guidelines in education, session papers and national development plans (Were, 2003). The Ominde Report (1964) recommended establishment of a Guidance and Counseling structure in schools. The Kamunge report (1988) recommended that heads of schools were to participate in guidance and counseling and supervision of these services. The Commission of Inquiry into the Education System in Kenya (TIQET,1999) noted that Guidance and Counseling has remained very weak at all levels of the education system and that where it existed, its management and provision was far below the expectations (Koech Report, 1999). A study conducted by Eyo, Joshua, and Esuong (2007), in Nigeria revealed that school principals and teachers constitute the greatest obstacle to the success of guidance and counseling services in schools. The report showed that negative attitude of school authorities to guidance services has stifled the success of the department in some schools in Nigeria.
Many children today go to school without knowing what they are supposed to do and leave school without any idea of what type of jobs or careers they should follow (Kochhar, 1984). In addition, they have little understanding of themselves especially those with learning difficulties, vulnerable children, emotionally and behaviorally disturbed among others. While some school principals have made time available for teachers to provide counseling services, other principals feel it is a waste of time allocated to examinable subjects. Other principals have relegated it to an extra-mural activity and therefore to be provided if students are free or regarded it as an after school activity. Wanga, (2007) reported that for a long time, Guidance and Counseling services in schools had been uncoordinated with no clear course of action. This has led to a sorry situation where the entire Guidance and Counseling services are left entirely at the discretion of the teacher counselors. In effect, this has tended to leave the services juggled up depending on the school and personal initiatives of the teacher counselor.
The success and effectiveness of these services is wholly dependent on the goodwill of the school administration, particularly the school principal. This is because it is the school principal who creates an enabling environment for the teacher counselors to exercise their professional skills and techniques as they organize various services in the counseling department. This can be done by appointing heads of department who have relevant skills for psychological counseling of all categories of learners. The students in any given school are of mixed abilities with varied needs. The teacher counselor should therefore possess skills to counsel learners with special needs and those without. Besides, the appointed person should have high integrity, be mature, confidential and should win the respect and confidence of the students and other clients. Ngaroga, (2004). A study done by Lutomia, (2002), revealed that the principal should also incorporate other members of staff, both teaching and non-teaching such as class teachers, the school nurse, or librarian to form a Guidance and Counseling committee. The counseling committee may is expected to help lay the foundation for the counseling services required and develop an organization that is effective and flexible to all members of the school community. The members of this committee should represent the diverse interests of learners in the institution (Kenya Institute of Education, 2003).
The deputy principal is responsible to the principal of the school by participatory involvement in the overall school management. They are also responsible for drawing up the school’s daily routine in conjunction with other members of staff and coordinating the drawing of the school time table in which Guidance and Counseling is inclusive. In spite of the fact that deputy principals are in charge of discipline, they work in collaboration with the Guidance and Counseling teacher particularly on matters relating to discipline of students (Guidance and Counseling Teacher’s Handbook, 2005). Guidance and Counseling plays a role in the discipline process because it questions motives that led to the act of indiscipline (Susan, 2004). The deputy principal refers indiscipline cases to the Guidance and Counseling teacher for corrective and rehabilitation measures (Gichaga, 2009). The heads of various departments who form part of the administration help to identify students with learning difficulties, gifted and talented learners and the poor and assist them or refer them to relevant personnel. In addition, effective school administrators should engage in advocacy and publicity of the existing services. They should promote the idea of counseling in the school through networking and education to all stake holders (Gladding 2004).This can be done during school assemblies, staff meetings, academic and parents days and special days in the school (Gichaga 2009).
An effective Guidance and Counseling services is one in which the services are provided on a continuous and regular basis. Besides, the counseling programs and services also cater for the varied needs of all learners both with special needs and those without. (Wangai, 2007). For effective counseling services to exist in a school, the teacher counselor together with the administration must identify the counseling needs of learners and put in place a comprehensive curriculum that touches on the diverse needs of learners (Gichaga, 2009).This may vary from one school to the other. The UNESCO manual (2000), recommended that an effective Guidance and Counseling program should have clear and well stated objectives, mission and vision, appropriate support by all stakeholders with the principal taking the leadership role, Sound advice and reassurance for all students and parents at important times of transition , appropriate counseling sessions with the students and parents on a regular basis and confidentiality assured, service provision is continuous and on regular basis, with prompt responses in crises, Comprehensive curriculum that touches on the diverse needs of learners, Effective forms of records and of record-keeping, A well constituted guidance and counseling committee that is inclusive of all departments in the school., Trained teacher and peer counselors, A special room within the institution designated for counseling services with adequate resource materials to be used for guidance and counseling such as text books, newspapers and magazines, posters and videos, comprehensive data base of referral services and professionals to provide specialized guidance services, the guidance and counseling services are time tabled and teachers and students are aware of times set aside for guidance and counseling. The school administration has the mandate to establish effective counseling services since they are the chief financial controllers of the school, usually responsible for the institution’s budget, its make-up and utilization.
Gladding (2004) observed that supervision is another way of improving professional counseling skills. Supervision is an interactive and evaluative process in which someone with more proficiency oversees the work of someone working at a lower level. According to the Education Act (1980) the head of a school ought to supervise and control heads of departments and all the staff working under him or her. They should give directions to the school to offer a suitable, approved and diversified curriculum for Guidance and Counseling that caters for the diverse needs of learners and the ministry guidelines. Frequent evaluation of a counseling service and its results is of paramount concern to all education stakeholders and school administrators regardless of their theoretical and philosophical biases. Okoth (2002) noted that measuring the outcomes of counseling is basically a question of measuring human behavior, for if counseling has been successful, positive behavioral changes have taken place and can be observed.
It is important to have structured times for guidance and counseling so that it is offered in a systematic and purposeful way. Mutie and Ndambuki, (2003) observed that an effective guidance service should be accepted as an essential part of a school by the school administration; in particular and by the educational administrators in the country. They noted that if the head of the institution believes in the guidance services, it will receive support from teachers and parents and non teaching staff. The activities will be provided for in the school timetable as well as in the school routine. The school administration should facilitate the implementation of decisions made during Guidance and Counseling meetings. For example, if the counseling process indicates the need for a change in the students’ routine program, it should be administratively possible to make the changes without interfering with the learners interests.
Becoming a counselor is a lifelong process. It continues well past the formal education of obtaining a masters or doctorate degree and includes participation in the professional counseling related activities. Counselors must obtain Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to stay-up-to-date, get needed supervision to ensure excellence in treatment, and advocate for both their clients and the profession of counseling (Gladding, 2004). The author observed that there is need for continuing education for all counselors; even after graduation from a well planned counselor education services. The reason is that new ideas in the treatment and practice of the clients are always evolving and must be evaluated, incorporated, and if necessary mastered. The Kenya Education Sector Program (2005-2010) which dealt with delivering quality education and training to all Kenyans observed that counselors who stop reading professional publications or stop attending in-service workshops and conventions quickly become outdated in the delivery of skills. Therefore, counselors must obtain a certain number of CEUs annually to stay abreast of the latest and best methods of applied in guidance and Counseling. Engaging in such continuous efforts is sometime expensive in terms of time and money. It is therefore imperative that the school administration facilitates such education units through funding the seminars and in-service workshops.
The school principals, by virtue of their position, are responsible for the Guidance and Counseling services in the school. They are in essence the chief counselors because the nature of their appointment requires that they assume the responsibility of providing Guidance and Counseling to the whole school. The staff and the school community look upon the principals for guidance on all matters pertaining to the welfare of the school (Tindi, 2008). Besides, Lutomia and Sikolia (2002) observed that school principals should support the counseling services fully, in fact, they should be the first counselors ready to guide all students regardless of their cognitive development, gender, class or background. In Bungoma West Sub-County, Guidance and Counseling has become increasingly important because there are many issues raising concern in the schools that may impact negatively on the welfare of learners and the education system as a whole. Some of these issues may include poor academic performance, early pregnancies and marriages, peer pressure, poverty in families, school violence and strikes, high dropout rates and child abuse in addition to other societal demands. This makes effective Guidance and Counseling a core service in every school and should therefore be accepted by school administration as an essential part of the school activities (Mutie and Ndambuki, 2003).
Descriptive survey research design was considered appropriate for this study since the researcher wished to gather information on the basis of the current status and it is economical in collecting data from large samples (Kothari, 2004). This study was conducted in public secondary schools in Bungoma West Sub-County, Bungoma County, Kenya. The Sub-County has a total of eighteen secondary schools. Six are single sex schools and twelve are Co-educational. One school is full boarding, eight are pure Day Secondary schools and nine are both Boarding and Day Schools.
The researcher chose the study area because of the low academic performance by most learners in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (K.C.S.E.) examination as noted in the K.C.S.E. examination results analysis reports over several years. The results indicate that performance in most schools has remained poor with no clear explanation. Some of these students join the various secondary schools with good marks in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (K.C.P.E.) examination but end up performing poorly in the K.C.S.E. examination. This means there is perhaps little value added to the previous performance (Bungoma West Sub-County Education office, 2010). The frequent wave of unrest and strikes among students in some schools within the Sub-County called for concern on the status of guidance and counseling services in the schools.
The study population comprised of 18 principals, 18 teachers in-charge of counseling, 4 Area Education Officers, 1 District Quality Assurance and Standards Officer and 5783 students.
Purposive sampling technique was used in sampling schools on the basis of administrative divisions to ensure that each of the four divisions in the district is represented. Two secondary schools were sampled from each division. One unisex school and one co-educational school from each division. Purposive sampling was used to sample principals and, teachers and Education Officers in charge of Guidance and Counseling. They were purposively sampled because they had the required information with respect to the objective of the study. Stratified random sampling was used to sample students from the sampled schools. First, the students were stratified into four categories according to their classes. Then, small papers with numbers were put in a container and students picked the numbers randomly. Those who picked numbers 1-12 from each class in unisex schools were included in the sample. In co-educational schools, students were further stratified into male and female students before random sampling technique was used to select the representative sample. Stratified random sampling was used with the aim of achieving a desired representation from the various sub groups in the student population. A total of eight principals, eight teachers’ in-charge of Guidance and Counseling, 314 students and five Education Officers were sampled. In total, there was a sample size of 335 respondents as indicated in table 1 . According to Kothari (2004), the main factor considered in determining the sample size is to keep it manageable. This enables the researcher to obtain detailed data at affordable costs in terms of resources, time and finances. Kerlinger (2004) also observed that an ideal sample should be between 10% and 30% of the target population.