Problems of Marketing guidance and counseling services in secondary schools

Complete Chapter One



Guidance and counseling is an integral part of an ideal educational system. The New Encyclopaedia Britannica defined counselling as the process of helping an individual discover and develop his educational, vocational and psychological potentialities and thereby achieve an optimal level of personal happiness and social usefulness.
According to Anamaeze (2002), counselling is a personal relationship between a counsellor and a counselee in which, the counsellor helps the counselee to learn more satisfying behaviour necessary for solving his problems. Guidance and counseling programmes for secondary school students are designed to address the physical, emotional, social, vocational and academic difficulties of adolescent students. Counseling is a form of education which the students receive from their counselors.
The essence of incorporating guidance and counseling into the school system was to eliminate overwhelming ignorance of many young people on their choices of career prospects and personality maladjustment among school children. This is to complement learning in the classroom and also enhance academic performance/achievements of students.
Guidance and counseling plays a vital role in preventing educational, personal, social, mental, emotional and other similar problems among secondary school students. Ministry of Education and principals of schools are aware of the heavy reliance placed on guidance and counseling services for most aspects of the new 9-3-4 educational system to actually succeed.
These services are presented by Nwachukwu (2007) as information services, placement services, appraisal services, vocational guidance services, counseling services, referral services, evaluation, follow-up, consultancy and research services.
The importance of guidance and counseling programme in secondary schools cannot be overemphasized because there is a need for the students to have an increased understanding of the educational, vocational and social information needed to make wise choices. Thus, counselling is imperative in order to correct the anomaly observed in Nigerian secondary schools.
Ifelunni (2003) stated that there are three (3) main areas in which every individual requires counselling.  These areas are: vocational counselling, socio-personal counselling and educational counselling.  Students can adequately be counselled under these areas.  Vocational counselling aims at helping students match their personal attributes and background with suitable jobs and employment opportunities.  Personal socio counselling takes care of problems of students such as boy-girl relationship, manners and etiquettes, personal appearance, home and family relationship.  Education counselling addresses issues related to students’ academic excellence such as study habit, examination techniques, time management, procrastination, and how to choose subjects.
The above can be actualized only when the counselling services are made attractive enough to students and are well marketed. However, in Nigeria today guidance and counseling services are not marketable. This is due to a lot of factors and shortcomings which needs to be addressed to make guidance and counseling services attractive enough to generate income.

Guidance and Counseling services occupies a very strategic position in any educational system. The Federal Government is aware of this fact; this is why the re-emphasis is on the need for guidance and counseling services in the new national policy on education (9-3-4) system. Also most principals and teachers are aware of the counselor’s functions/services. Despite this fact, it has been observed that the programme/services are not encouraged at the secondary school level as it should be and are not well marketed. This is because guidance and counseling services are not available in some schools or are non-functional. Even where such services exist, they are not attractive enough for students to use. In a few cases, some students are not even aware of such services in their school.
As a vital component of any type and any level of education the absence of and/or non-utilization of guidance and counseling services in the present day school system has led to the unprecedented rise in the crime wave, violence among students, fuelled cultism, wrong career choice, and wrong subject combination among other issues. Apart from academic problems of failure and dropout of students, from schools, other numerous psycho-social; vocational and personal-social problems abound among students in our secondary schools.
Marketing of guidance and counseling services is a cumbersome task in Nigerian secondary schools today. This is in fact due to a lot of factors such as false perceptions and beliefs that those needing counseling have deficits and have failed in some aspects of their lives. With this perspective, students are reluctant to talk to counselors or seek help where needed.
The difficulties in marketing guidance and counseling services are also compounded by the expectations from both parents and the society at large that immediate observable changes will occur. Overburdened teachers, like managed care providers are frustrated with student’s academic problems and behaviours, hence they send the youth to a counselor “for a quick fix as if the counselor has a magic wand”. Failure to rehabilitate an individual instantly can result in teachers losing confidence in the counseling process.
Inadequate financial provision for guidance and counseling services in schools is also part of the difficulties faced in providing effective counseling to students. This is because, most times in secondary schools, counseling sessions are not paid for and this limits the number of sessions a student may have with a counselor.

The main objective of the study is to determine the factors that affect marketing of guidance and counseling services in secondary schools in Nigeria, a case study of Oredo Local Government Area.
The other objectives include:
To find out if guidance and counseling services are available in secondary schools in Oredo Local Government Area
To find out if guidance and counseling services are marketable in secondary schools
To find out the problems facing the marketing of guidance and counseling services in secondary schools
To find out if guidance and counseling services are adequately funded in secondary schools.

The Research work then attempted to answer the following research questions.
Are guidance and counseling services available in secondary schools in Oredo Local Government Area?
Are guidance and counseling services marketable in secondary schools?
Are guidance and counseling unit in secondary schools adequately funded?
To what extent do staff and students make use of guidance and counseling services to meet their various psycho-social needs?

This study is significant because the findings and recommendations will;
Help policy makers in the formulation of proper policies related to the effective strategies of marketing guidance and counseling services to students in secondary schools.
Sensitize the school administrators, principals and teachers on the need for effective management and adequate funding of the guidance and counseling unit towards making their services attractive and enhancing its marketability to secondary school students.
Enlighten parents on their roles in enforcing and strengthening the measures and strategies used by school counselors and teachers to effectively counsel their children and the need for parents to pay for such counseling services.
The study will also be useful in many aspects of guidance and counseling, especially on the quality of teaching and learning in the educational institutions and the strategies to put in place to boost the impact of guidance and counseling services so as to encourage its marketability.

The scope of this study was on the Problems of marketing guidance and counseling services in secondary schools in Nigeria; a case study of Oredo Local Government Area. The study was confined to students, teachers, principals and staffs of guidance and counseling unit randomly selected from public secondary schools in Oredo Local Government Area who are also the direct beneficiaries of this study.

The study was faced with several limitations which included poor road networks in the district which made assessing the schools a challenge. The researcher also faced financial constraints due to high cost of traveling and questionnaire production.

Within the context of this research, the following terms are defined:
Guidance: according to Taylor et al. (2006) Guidance is the process of helping individuals to understand themselves and to direct their efforts in a way that will enable them to use their potentials so as to achieve personal satisfaction thereby make themselves useful to society.
Counseling: is the process by which students are helped to understand themselves and their problems better.
Marketing: is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to prospective and potential customers for the purpose of making the product or service attractive enough for patronage.
Counselor: is a professional trained and licensed person who gives advice to people on personal problems, or in other specialties such as career, education, behaviours and health.
Student: is a learner or someone who attends an educational institution.
Secondary school: is a school that is intermediate in level between elementary school and college and usually offers general, technical, vocational or college preparatory curriculum.
Guidance and counseling unit: this is a centre created in most educational institutions at all levels to help address various challenges that may be faced by students while studying in a school to enable them realize their academic and personal goals.

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