Factors considered in the appointment of guidance and counseling personnel in public secondary schools in Kiambu West district, Kenya
Kamau, Wairimu Grace
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The purpose of this study was to determine the factors considered in appointment of Guidance and Counseling (G&C) personnel in public secondary schools, in Kiambu West district, Kenya. All secondary schools are expected to have guidance and counseling programmes, but the Ministry of Education (M.O.E) does not give guidelines on how the personnel to run the programme should be appointed. The headteachers appoint the guidance and counseling personnel from amongst the teachers in their schools, using their own criteria which may not be clear to other members of staft' The objectives of the study were to establish the criteria used by the headteachers in appointing the G&C personnel in their schools. The study assessed if there were common factors considered by different headteachers in appointing the teacher counselors, which can be used by the Ministry of Education as a guide to all schools at large, and the challenges facing guidance and counselling personnel. The study assessed the level of training in G&C for the teachers handling counseling programmers'. The findings of the study could help in enhancing effectiveness of G&C in schools which could minimize problems such as drug abuse, unwanted pregnancies and peer pressure among students in secondary schools. The study used the ex-post facto design. The target population was composed of 18 public secondary schools. A sample of 15 public secondary schools was selected for the study using simple random sampling out of the 18 public schools. The target group was headteachers and teacher counselors in the sample schools. The rest of the headteachers and teacher counselors were used for piloting the study. Data was collected by use of two types of questionnaires: headteacher questionnaire (HTQ and teacher counselors' questionnaire (TCQ). Descriptive statistics including frequency counts and percentages were used to analyze the data collected. The results of the data analysis were presented in frequency tables and histograms. The study established that the most important characteristic that headteachers looked for while appointing teacher counselors was ability to be discreet. It also emerged that not only were teacher counselors involved in counseling but also other teachers, principals, deputy principals, motivational speakers among others. Teacher counselors seemed to be overworked with workload that made them not readily available to attend to students when they needed counseling. However, counseling sessions were held once every week during school hours and incase an emergency arose outside school hours, teachers did their best to avail themselves though some cases were too sensitive for the teacher counselors to handle. Counseling impacted much on the students because they found people to talk to; it made them improve on their academic performance and changed their behaviors. Guidance and counseling materials were scarce and there was also lack of trained personnel. The study therefore concluded that training was not given priority in appointment of teacher counselors and even after appointment the counselors were not given opportunities for training, apart from a few workshops and seminars.