The Need For More Guidance And Counseling Services In Nigeria Schools

The apparent ignorance of many young people about career prospects in the view of the personality maladjustment among school children/adults, necessitated the federal government to appoint career officers and counselors in post-primary institutions through the Federal Ministry of Education, hence, the establishment of guidance and counseling in Nigerian school system. However, the low rate of guidance and counseling officers at the moment, which is inversely proportional to the alarming increase in vocational opportunities in our society, creates a great and major problem of choice of career.

The changing nature of the society, the breakdown of tradition, morals and personal convictions concerning good and bad, the changing nature of the community and the demands to fit into the society, in a matter of urgency needs assistance or guidance. Counseling equips the individual with the necessary tools for effective problem-solving when a problem arises in the future. It renders a helping service with the skills and methods of an individual for more meaningful perception of this problem. In view of this, educational counseling is therefore an applied counseling within the educational setting, which provides students the skills to approach and solve their educational problems with self solution that is geared towards meeting the demands, expectations, norms and morals of the society.

It is obvious, beyond every doubt, that the population explosion of youths in the country seeks the concurrence expansion in the enrolment of pupils /students in primary, secondary and even JAMB ( Joint Admission and Matriculation Board ). Those who pass their examinations either by hook or by crook and gain admission, especially in the higher institutions, do so ignorantly probably to find solace under the name of 'Higher Institution', a rush to catch up with friends who might have left them in the village and as such, would want to read what their compatriots are reading, without guidance and counseling. The resultant effect is poor academic performance, as this conflicts with their ability and interest.

Added are the challenges posed by the diversified curriculum that compels the demands of individuals in school to increase number of subjects or courses. By implication, individuals with such academic problem need more information about the subject/courses to be read, their abililties and other future demands of the courses in order for them to reorganize their academic and vocational life goals.

The growing needs of youths in the country also culminate in the call for the establishment of counseling services in our schools. As Okon (1984) observed that the developmental needs of youths, which include attaining individuality, making progress towards an organized personality pattern, developing philosophy of life, achieving a place in the society, maturing plans for future living among others, have raised the need to plan, coordinate guidance oriented. Nevertheless, curriculum to meet the needs of individual pupil/student could be done on a continuous basis from the nursery down to the university levels in the 9-3-4 system of education.

A body with variable personality constellation with different needs and traits populate the Nigerian tertiary education. Many students join secret cults, organise dissent, vandalize school properties and engage in other forms of maladjusted behaviour bordering on examination malpractices. These deviant portrayals make students have defective study habits, the result is the impairment of the level of academic success they ought to have possessed. Thus, guidance and counseling helps to ameliorate the problems of campus unrest and at the sametime, help students to develop appropriate study habit and obstacles responsible for their poor performance.

Counselors will have an increasing impact on the lives that students would have after they leave school. Let's consider the high rate of automation in the world's jobs today. This automation and technological changes as Gayman ( 1972 ) states will cause students to change their jobs more often and relocate more often. They would update and trade in education for models to remain employable and they would have to diversify their practical skills to remain competitive. The implication of this technological revolution for the practice of guidance and counseling should not be lip-serviced, if desired developmental is to take root in our educational system. All potentiality should be set in motion to ensure survival in an uncertain technological future.

As we all know, Nigeria is metaphorically regarded as the " Tower of Babel ". The multi-ethnic linguistic nature of Nigeria has resulted to political instability, despotism, ethnic rivalry, religious intolerance, tribal loyalties and all forms of vices, which serve as albatross to healthy socio-political and economic solidarity of the country. National integration depends largely on the ability of every citizen to possess some measures of common understanding, attitudes, beliefs, skills and purposes. These attributes can be inculcated in youths very early in their educational development. For Nigerian to move forward, the tempo of guidance and counseling must be properly serviced to teach youths, sound value system bordering on respect for the dignity of labour, their freedom, tribalism, dishonesty, fraud and other forms of vices.

Since individuals cannot make all decisions he/she needs alone in life or solve his/her problems all by himself/herself, the need for guidance and counseling becomes apparent. It is a task to be recognized as a responsibility involving the teachers/lecturers, counselors, parents and the government. The government should adequately finance the training and development of guidance and counseling considering the fact that the task ahead is enormous. The government needs to train more counselors for our nation's institutions of learning. Many students do not know why they are in school. They should be given vocational orientation on a continuous basis. Since guidance is for every school child, it is the duty for every person who has any part in the development of the child to explore the ways in assuring total development of his/her abilities, talents and skills for the good future of Nigeria.

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Articles by Divramredje Lawrence Efeturi