INFLUENCE OF COUNSELING ON THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS (2) STUDENTS IN BOKKOS METROPOLIS PLATEAU STATE
A counselling in a school assist students to harmonize their abilities, interests and values and thereby develop their full potential. All this is geared towards improving the self-image of the students and facilitating better achievement in academic performance. This study sought to establish the influence of counselling on academic performance of secondary school students in Bokkos metropolis of Plateau State. This study adopted an ex post facto research design. It targeted all the 1385 Form Four students, 21 teacher counsellors and 21 head teachers of the 21 selected public secondary schools in the study area. A random sample of 196 students, ten teacher counsellors and ten head teachers were selected from the ten schools. Data was collected through administration of questionnaires with the selected respondents. The collected data was then processed and analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 11.5 for windows. The study established the following findings: Secondary schools in the study area differed in the number of guidance and counseling services that they had implemented. Teacher counsellors had little training in guidance and counselling. Stakeholders adequately supported counselling in the schools. Students were aware of the role and importance of career counselling in their schools. There was poor academic performance among students. Counselling has a positive impact on the academic performance of students. Based on these study findings, the following recommendations were made: There is need for the teacher counsellors to implement all the services required for a counselling. There is need to improve the level of training of teacher counsellors in guidance and counselling. Teacher counsellors should take advantage of the positive attitude of the students to enhance career counselling in their schools. Counselling should be strengthened in order to improve the academic performance of secondary schools in the area.
Guidance and counselling are two closely interrelated concepts and each determines the availability and efficient of the other. According to Makinde (1984) and Patterson (1977), “guidance” refers to a abroad area of all educational activities and services aimed at assisting individual students to understand themselves and adjust to school life. In Nigeria, the Ministry of Education (1977) considers guidance as a continuing process concerned with determining and providing for the developmental needs of „learners‟. Mutie and Ndambuki (1999) defines “counselling” as a learning-oriented process which usually occurs in an interactive relationship with the aim of helping the client learn more about him/herself. Guidance and counselling is therefore aimed at bringing about maximum development and self-realization of human potential for the benefit of the individual and the society. In a school, the programme assists students in harmonizing their abilities, interests and values and enables them to develop their full potential. It directs students on appropriate career and subject choices; solving discipline, education, social and psychological problems; and general adjustment to school life (Gerardo, 1996).
The development of guidance and counselling originated from Europe and the United States of America in 1900‟s. A person named Goodwin in 1911 organized a wide guidance programme in USA that catered for students. The emphasis was on vocational information, awareness of the world of work, location of employment and reduction of examination anxiety (Makinde,1984). He noted that since 1950‟s, popular views of guidance and counselling have changed rapidly and that understanding youth‟s problems are among the functions of school guidance and counselling. A random sample of 100 counsellor education programmes with evaluating the effect of counselling on students was carried out in USA. The study found out that guidance and counselling significantly influence academic performance of a student. This is an indication that most institutions have put emphasis on need for academic excellence and more so the intervention of counsellings. This development made teacher counsellors to provide guidance and
counselling services at secondary schools, not only to students who are underachieving, maladjusted, but also to gifted children who do not know what to do with their abilities.
In Africa, the genesis of modern guidance and counselling is dated back to 1960s. For example, Makinde (1984) observes that the first organized formal careers guidance service for the students in Nigeria was held in Ibadan. The service resolved to expand counselling activities in the country by the end of 1970, and form a larger association to embrace career masters and counsellors. In Nigeria, the genesis of formal counselling dates back to as early as 1960s (Kilonzo, 1984). The programme was introduced in the country in 1963 during the first Guidance and Counselling Career Conference held to discuss career choices among students in learning institutions (Oketch & Ngumba, 1999). It includes all services aimed at helping a student understand himself, his attitude, interests, abilities, physical, mental and social maturity for optimum development, and general adjustment to school life (Mutie & Ndambuki, 1999). The programme was later reinforced and emphasized by the 1975 National Committee on Educational Objectives and Policies (NCEOP), Government of Nigeria – G.o.K. (1976, 1988, 1999, 2001).
All these commissions reinforced and emphasized on the need to reinforce and empower guidance and counselling in order for it to effectively achieve the above set objectives in schools. The Ministry of Education has directed all learning institutions in the country to establish counselling as a continuous sequential education process aimed at bridging the gap between one education level and another. The need to strengthen guidance and counselling has been further reinforced by the government directive to ban corporal punishment in schools (G.O.K., 2001). Gichinga (1995) observes that guidance and counselling has had impact in the secondary school students‟ lives and noted that there is relationship between the programme and academic performance. However, according to G.O.K., despite the ministerial directive to implement and effect counselling in all learning institutions in order to uplift the academic standards of students, academic performance in most secondary schools in the country has been declining while disciplinary problems have been increasing over time.
For instance, Plateau State has been registering poor and fluctuating academic performance over the recent years in the national Nigeria Certificate of Secondary Examination (KCSE). The district with a total of 160 secondary schools registered a mean score of 4.697 in the year 2000, 4.794 in 2001, 4.747 in 2002, 5.18 in 2003 and 5.26 in 2004 out of a possible maximum of 12 points (Plateau State Education Office, 2006). These mean scores are far below average when compared to the possible maximum points and the national averages. Bokkos metropolis in Plateau State has also suffered and experienced the same low levels in academic performance over the same period. For example, the division with a total of 21 schools registered a mean score of 4.678 in the year 2002, 5.125 in 2003 and 5.165 in 2004. This poor academic record necessitated the need to find out whether counselling had any influence on academic performance of secondary school students in Bokkos metropolis of Plateau State.
Academic performance of secondary schools in Bokkos metropolis of Plateau State has been declining over time (Plateau State Education Office, 2006). This has a negative reflection on the various programmes put in place to promote academic performance in the area. The main concern was the role of counselling in improving the self-image of the students and facilitating better achievement in academic performance. Little information was available on the extent to which counselling has been used to assist in raising the academic performance of secondary school students. This study sought to provide some insights into these issues and establish the relationship between guidance and counselling and academic performance of secondary school students.
This study sought to assess the influence of counselling on academic performance of selected public secondary school students in Bokkos metropolis of Plateau State.
The study aimed at achieving the following specific objectives:
- To establish effectiveness of counselling in secondary
- To determine the professional qualifications of the teacher counsellors handling counselling in
- To identify the role of school administration and other teachers in enhancing counselling.
- To determine the attitude of students towards educational/career counselling in their schools.
- To examine academic performance among secondary school
- To establish the relationship between the level of effectiveness of guidance and counselling and academic performance of secondary school
- To identify the challenges facing counselling.
The study addressed the following research questions:
- What is the effectiveness of counselling in secondary schools?
- What are the professional qualifications of the teacher counsellors handling counselling in schools?
- What the role of the school administration and other teachers in enhancing counselling?
- What is the attitude of students towards educational/career counselling in their schools?
- What is the academic performance among secondary school students?
- Is there any relationship between the level of effectiveness of guidance and counselling and academic performance of secondary school students?
- What are the challenges facing counselling in schools?
- Significance of the Study
Secondary school students face various challenges that if not well handled affect their academic achievement. Therefore, in order to adequately address these challenges, emphasis has been placed on the existing programmes within the schools. Guidance and counselling is one of these programmes. Detailed studies are needed to evaluate the influence of counselling on academic performance. This study was based on the premise that it is important to understand the extent to which the programme is used in addressing challenges facing students in schools. Such a study helps in providing useful information that could be useful in redesigning and giving impetus to the programme by those concerned including the Ministry of Education, administrators of the institutions, teacher counsellors and students so as to boost the academic performance and overall self-actualization of secondary school students. The teacher counsellor will use this study to evaluate the impact that guidance and counselling will have on academic performance in their respective schools. The Ministry of Education will also use this study in evaluating whether counselling is an effective measure in addressing the challenges facing secondary school students in the country. The study will also assists school administrators in assessing their contribution to counselling and its influence on academic performance of students in their schools. When counselling is well conceptualized by the Ministry of Education and implemented by the teacher counsellor with the support of the school administrators, the students will benefit by improving their academic achievements and self-actualization.
- The Scope and Limitations of the Study
The study focused on the influence of counselling on academic performance of secondary school students in Bokkos metropolis of Plateau State. Bokkos metropolis was chosen as a research site due to the available evidence of poor academic performance among students in national examinations (Bokkos metropolis Education Office, 2005). Only Form Four students were involved in this study because they have been in the school for a higher number of years. Therefore, they were in a better position of evaluating counselling more objectively and also have established academic trend.
This study encountered a number of limitations which impeded effective answering of the research questions. These limitations include:
- Academic performance of students in a school is determined by very many factors including the ability of the individual student, the quality of the teachers, the staffing level, availability of facilities, and guidance and counselling, among others. Therefore, it is not practically possible to isolate one factor and link it to the level of academic performance. However, in this study, the researcher is confined to the academic areas that are of concern to the counselling
- All secondary schools in the country were expected to have implemented counselling as directed by the government through the Ministry of Therefore, effective analysis of the influence of the programme in the country requires a consideration of as many schools as possible. However, due to time, manpower and financial resource constraints, it is not practically possible to cover all the schools in the country. This means that only a small sample of the schools was be involved. Thus, the 10 public secondary schools in Bokkos metropolis, which are a very small fraction of the total number of schools in the country, were involved in this study. The findings of this study were therefore confined to the sampled schools and students in Bokkos metropolis and can not be overly generalized to all secondary schools in the country.
The study is based on the following assumptions:
- Poor and falling academic performance in the study area is due to inefficient and ineffective counselling.
- Counselling face a number of challenges in addressing the academic problems of students in secondary
- The views expressed by the sampled respondents are a true reflection of counselling in their respective
Definition of Terms
In this section, operational definitions are presented as used within the context of this study.
Academic performance: This refers to the academic achievement of a student which is usually measured in terms of grades or marks attained in a test.
Counselling: Involves helping an individual to deal with or remove frustrations and obstacles that interfere with their lives and develop his most acceptable self by thinking through the situation him/herself in an accepting atmosphere.
Effective counselling: Producing a desired result. In this case, effectiveness refers to the ability/capacity of counselling to offer its required services in a school. In this study, the effectiveness of guidance and counselling will be measured on a likert scale by examining the extent to which the programme is able to offer various components of academic/career/educational counselling in schools.
Guidance: A process of helping learners to develop self understanding,
capabilities for making realistic career decisions, overcome personality deficits and make optimal academic progress.
Guidance and counselling: Includes all services that help an individual understanding of
him/herself, his/her attitude, interests, abilities, physical, mental and social maturity for optimum development.
Public schools: These are schools facilitated and controlled/regulated by the government.
Teacher Counsellor: A school teacher who has undergone formal training in guidance
And counselling including theory and practice.
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