Perception of the teacher counselor's role in the implementation of secondary school curriculum: a case of central division, Machokos district
Kimathi, Faith Kananu
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The need for guidance and counseling services has been recognized in various government reports and educational commission since Kenya's independence in 1963. Development plans and policy papers have made various recommendations as regards provision of guidance and counseling in schools and colleges. These recommendations were all aimed at enhancing student's adaptability in school and later in life in terms of education and vocational opportunities. The Presidential Working Party on Education and Manpower Training for the Next Decade and Beyond (1988) recommended the establishment of Guidance and Counseling programme and a senior teacher to be responsible. The programme was to assist students to appreciate their roles and develop right attitudes towards discipline and management of time. Today almost all schools have established a proper guidance and counseling programme headed by a head of department (preferably a trained teacher counselor) together with at least five teacher counselors, to offer guidance and counseling services in schools. Since its introduction many emerging issues that require guidance and counseling services have continued to persist, for instance drug abuse, physical and emotional abuse, undesirable sexual behavior, generation gap, unemployment, religious pluralism, peer-pressure, violence and many others. As a result the secondary schools have given greater emphasis on improving their guidance and counseling services so as to decrease or eliminate these challenges which affect the achievement and overall development of students. The purpose of this study was to investigate the perception of the teacher - counselor's role in the implementation of secondary school curriculum. The study focused on how the head-teachers, teacher-counselors and students perceive the roles of teacher-counselors in schools. This was guided by the principle that perception of the counselor's role determines client's desire to seek for counseling services whenever faced by a problem or a need. The research was conducted in central-division Machakos district and involved five head teachers, fifteen teacher-counselors and a hundred students in form three from four Dublic secondarv school and one private school. Data was collected through questionnaires, which were administered to the teacher-counselors and students. Interviews were used to collect more information from head teachers while observation schedules were used to ascertain information on the resources and facilities used in the counseling centers. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics such as frequency distributions and percentages. Qualitative descriptions (discussions) were also used in the presentation of data. The main finding of the study was that, teacher counselors are aware of their roles in school, that is to help student in their educational, social and personal problems. Students would seek for counseling services to solve their academic, vocational and social problems but preferred non formal help givers to teacher counselors for the personal difficulties. Further information revealed that teacher - counselors performed their duties almost fully and majority appreciated the support given by the school members, invited guests and the parents. For the teacher counselors to be more effective, according to the respondents, there is need more support from the ministry of education, stakeholders, parents, all the members of school, adequate resources, facilities, relevant reading material and in-service courses where the practicing teacher-counselors can acquire counseling skills and techniques since majority of them are not trained counselors. Based on the findings, the study concluded that the members of the school are aware of the counseling services in the schools but have limited information on the roles of the teacher-counselors. The counseling programme has contributed to effective learning, high academic performance, change of attitude towards guidance and counseling for teachers and students and discipline.