Factors affecting the effectiveness of guidance and counselling programmes in Kenyan secondary schools a case study of Thika town of Ruiru educational zone
The need for guidance and counseling programmes in secondary schools has been recognized in various government reports and educational commission since Kenya's independence in 1963. These programmes were 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 together with at least five teacher counselors. Their work is 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 behaviour, peer-pressure, unrest in schools, violence, acts of arson and many others. The purpose of this study was therefore, to investigate the factors affecting the effectiveness of this guidance and counseling programmes in schools. The study focused on the content of the programme in terms of the manner in which it was conducted, the approaches used and the personnel involved in guidance and counseling programmes. This was guided by the principle that these aspects determine how effective any guidance and counseling programme is going to be. The research was conducted in Thika town of Ruiru Educational Zone. It involved five head teachers, fifteen teacher counselors and a hundred students in form three. Four of the schools were public secondary schools with one being a special school and partly sponsored by the government and the Salvation Army Church. The data was collected through questionnaires, which were administered to the teacher counselors and the students. Interviews were used to collect more information from head teachers, while observation schedules were used to ascertain information on the resources and facilities in the counseling centers. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics such as frequency distributions and percentages. Qualitative descriptions (discussions) were also used in the presentation of data. It was concluded that on the whole guidance and counseling is established and operational in schools students considered the programme helpful. Heads of institutions were also supportive of the programme. Its strengths however, depended to a large extent on the commitment of the guidance department personnel. Teachers carried out guidance and counseling with a certain degree of proficiency. According to the findings, there were several factors that affected the effectiveness of the programmes in schools. The teacher counselors for example, were constrained by inadequate training, they lacked the necessary skills and techniques in counseling. Resources were also inadequate. The head teachers did not consider funding the programmes priority due to insufficient funds in the schools. official guidelines on the guidance and counseling programmes were also lacking. This was a problem emanating from the Ministry of Education. Support from parents and the neighbouring community were also minimal. The study also found out that students were aware of the importance of the guidance and counseling programmes in their schools. Very few however, sought these services voluntarily. The system needed to be reviewed and popularized. Teacher selection was more subjective than objective. Some non-interested teachers were appointed to the guidance and counseling department. Lack of time to provide counseling also influenced the quality and tempo of counseling services at the institutions. It was recommended that the members of the school would appreciate more support from the ministry of Education, the Kenya Institute of Education, the parents and the neighbouring community. More research especially in the professionalism of guidance and counseling in schools were recommended.