The role of principals in enhancing guidance and counselling programmes in secondary schools: a case of Gatanga district, Murang' a county
Njoroge, Dorcas Njeri
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The problem to be addressed by this study was that, while teachers and school administrators recognize the important role played by guidance and counselling in student management, it has been observed that guidance and counselling in most of the schools in Kenya was not effective. The status of guidance and counselling in schools suggests that teacher counsellors were not given adequate support by the school administration. This could lower their effectiveness, whereby they feel incompetent in offering guidance and counselling to students. The purpose of the study was to find out the role of school principals and their effectiveness in enhancing the delivery of guidance and counselling services in secondary schools of Gatanga District. The objectives of the study were to: establish the responsibility of the principals in the establishment of guidance and counselling programmes in secondary school; determine the challenges faced by principals in the management of guidance and counselling programmes and find out the support provided by principals to the guidance and counselling teachers. The study was based on Role Theoryproposed by Goffman (1961) and later developed by Biddle (1986). The study employed the descriptive survey research design, and was carried out in Gatanga District. The population covered by the study comprised all the 30 public secondary schools in Gatanga District. The study sample comprised of 15 principals, 30 teacher counsellors and 150 students, a total of 195 respondents. Data was collected using questionnaires for teacher counsellors and students and interview schedules for principals. A pilot study was conducted to improve reliability of the questionnaire using the split-half technique. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics including frequency counts and percentages. Results of the study were presented in summary form using frequency distribution tables and pie charts. The study established that the major roles of the schools principals in provision of guidance and counselling services in school were: recommending and supporting in-service training for guidance and counselling teachers, ensuring that there is a trained teacher for the counselling in the school; ensuring that the guidance and counselling programme is allocated time in the school timetable; providing resources and materials ;ensuring there was a counselling room in the school and motivating teacher counsellors for their good efforts. However, the major challenges faced by the principals in the establishment of guidance and counseling programmes in school were: inadequate funds, lack of government support, lack of cooperation from the parents and teachers in strengthening of the programme in the schools, lack of enough counselling teachers, lack of facilities and lack of time for supervision of the programme. The study recommends that: All schools should provide basic resources for guidance and counselling. These include a counselling room equipped with reference materials as well as adequate resource materials; school administration should provide the guidance and counselling department with all the necessary assistance and support it deserves such as financial and moral support; among other recommendations.