Effectiveness of Counselling Services on Academic Performance and Retention Rate of Undergraduate Students in Selected Universities in Kenya
Nyutu, Jane Gathoni
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Counselling is an essential pillar in student support services. However, there is a shortage of empirical data on the effectiveness of counselling services in enhancing academic performance and retention rate in all universities in Kenya. The study focused on establishing the effectiveness of counselling services in improving academic performance and retention rate of undergraduate students in universities in Kenya by employing the common factor and self-determination theories. The study used a quasi-experimental design and phenomenological design. The target population was 514 first-year undergraduate students taking bachelors of medicine and surgery programme and 6 counsellors in two public universities in Kenya. The accessible sample population was 140 students. Purposive sampling was used to select the two public universities for the study. Simple Random sampling was used to obtain a sample size of 104 students. All the 6 counsellors were incorporated in the study as respondents. Data was collected using observation, questionnaires, and focus group discussions. The independent variable in this study was counselling services, while the dependent variables were academic performance and retention rate. Validity was ensured by comparing the first semester results with results of the second semester to counter the testing threat. The reliability of the instruments ranged from Alpha indexes 0.76 to 0.91. The researcher trained four research assistants who helped in administering the research instruments to the participants. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics, namely frequencies, percentages and inferential statistics (2-way ANOVA) with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS-20). Hypotheses were tested at a 0.05 level of significance. The qualitative data was analysed thematically according to the objectives of the study. The study found that the status of counselling services in the two selected universities was favourable with adequate counselling rooms, adequate basic facilities, appropriate location and accessibility to counselling services. There were statistically significant differences between the experimental group and control group means as determined by a two-way ANOVA (F (1,99) = 4.470, p = .037), revealing that counselling services significantly influences students’ retention rate. Counselling equipped students with knowledge and skills that helped them deal with developmental issues that often interfered with their studies hence higher retention rate. On academic performance, the study revealed that students who seek counselling services perform academically better than those who do not as determined by a two-way ANOVA (F (1,96) = 4.441, p = .038). Counselling facilitated the acquisition of problem-solving and study skills, including time management that enabled the students to do well in their studies. Despite the availability of counselling services, not many students benefit from the service due to challenges such as high student enrolment against thin counselling staff and negative attitude towards seeking counselling help due to peer influence. Based on the findings, the study recommends that psycho-education be integrated as a mainstream programme in counselling services; more students should be enrolled in the psycho-education programme.