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1.1   Background of the Study

The need for guidance and counselling services in all secondary schools cannot be overstated due to increasingly complexities of modern life that have placed heavy demands and responsibilities on secondary school students.

These students are faced with numerous personal, academic, social and emotional needs and problems in which if unattended could lead to host patterns of undesirable behaviours (Aminu, 2009). Virtually, all countries have established channels to intensify and improve guidance and counselling services in their respective learning institutions in attempt to address tenets of students’ behaviours. The prospects of guidance and counselling around the world varies greatly based on how different countries and local communities have chosen to provide personal, academic, and social competencies among the post primary students. The goal of high school guidance counselling services is to help every student develop abilities of self-understanding, decision- making, life planning studies on the modification of behaviour among students and action taking to be able to adjust to social and emotional adjustment (Combs, 2007).

According to Makinde (2014), African states need to establish guidance and counselling programmes in education sector to curb undesirable behaviour and inculcate desirable behavioural patterns among students. In Nigeria, guidance and counselling is an initiative that is aimed at providing information and skills to impart self- awareness and optimal use of students’ potential for holistic growth and development (Muriithi, 2007).

Dondo (2014) holds the view that school guidance and counselling in Nigerian context, employs ‘whole person approach’ in addressing the increasingly and complex needs of the secondary school students which include social and emotional challenges. Guidance is often seen as a kind of direction or leadership offered an individual to assist him or her to makes decisions about his or her present and future life. Counseling on the other hand is seen as a psychological process of helping an individual to be equipped with self-understanding and skills of problem solving of everyday life in the society, home and school.

Okorodudu (2014) views guidance as a programme of activities which has provided us with the gateway out of the existing numerous problems in our present age of complex scientific and technological development. Essuman (2010) maintains that guidance and counselling should form an essential part of Nigeria’s educational system. Olayinka (2011) opines that obtaining good grades in examination to acquire certificates either for admission into higher institution or obtain good employment is the main goal of education to many people and not the acquisition perform poorly because they lack the right attitude to study and do not have the right orientation from home and from the society.

The attitudes of human beings play significant role in their behaviours. The study of human habits and attitudes is relevant and essential to counseling, as it can help in the understanding of the rationale for their behaviour and provides basis for prediction and assistance. Abiri (2010) argues that if the society is not to be plaque by a band/group of disgruntled, frustrated and unrealistic individuals, it is desirable that adequate guidance and counseling and career information be provided, to enable the school and society arrive at a realistic vocational choice for their children/wards with due realization of their potentialities.

Guidance and counselling is an integral part of modern academic programmes. Stakeholders in education are faced with a myriad of problems albeit social, religious, financial or psychological. The worst victims have also been students and their educators. Whereas guidance and counselling is seen to be an effective management tool for peoples’ problems whether this has been transcended to the field of academics and specifically academic performance is still seeking solutions. According to a report by the West African Examination Council in 2009 revealed that more 0.73% of candidates who sat for the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination in Nigeria failed in all subjects. The question one will ask is; what then is the impact of guidance and counselling on academic performance after the Ministry of Education and the Nigeria Education Service have made it a policy for all second cycle institutions to have guidance and counselling coordinators.

Guidance and counselling are two closely interrelated concepts and each determines the availability and efficient of the other. According to Makinde (2014) and Patterson (2014) views guidance as a abroad area of all educational activities and services aimed at assisting individual students to understand themselves and adjust to school life. In Nigeria, the Ministry of Education (1977) considers guidance as a continuing process concerned with determining and providing for the developmental needs of earners. Mutie (2009)  stressed that counselling as a learning-oriented process which usually occurs in an interactive relationship with the aim of helping the client learn more about him/herself.

Guidance and counselling is therefore aimed at bringing about maximum development and self-realization of human potential for the benefit of the individual and the society. In a school, the programme assists students in harmonizing their abilities, interests and values and enables them to develop their full potential. It directs students on appropriate career and subject choices; solving discipline, education, social and psychological problems; and general adjustment to school life (Madaki, 2011).

The Ministry of Education has directed all learning institutions in the country to establish guidance and counselling programme as a continuous sequential education process aimed at bridging the gap between one education level and another. The need to strengthen guidance and counselling has been further reinforced by the government directive to ban corporal punishment in schools (Fafunwa., 2009).  Gichinga (2008) observes that guidance and counselling has had impact in the secondary school students’ lives and noted that there is relationship between the programme and academic performance. He maintained that despite the ministerial directive to implement and effect guidance and counselling programme in all learning institutions in order to uplift the academic standards of students, academic performance in most secondary schools in the country has been declining while disciplinary problems have been increasing over time. 

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Academic performance of secondary schools in Nassarawa, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State has been declining over time (Joel Education Secretary, 2013). This has a negative reflection on the various programmes put in place to promote academic performance in the area. The main concern was the role of guidance and counselling programme in improving the self-image of the students and facilitating better achievement in academic performance. Little information was available on the extent to which guidance and counselling programme has been used to assist in raising the academic performance of secondary school students. This study sought to provide some insights into these issues and establish the relationship between guidance and counselling and academic performance of secondary school students. Hence, there is a need to carry out this research in the study area.

 1.3 Purpose of the Study

This study sought to assess the impact of guidance and counselling programme on academic performance of secondary school students. A case study of selected Government Secondary Schools Nassarawa and Trikania, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State. 

The study aimed at achieving the following specific objectives:

(i) To establish effectiveness of guidance and counselling programme in secondary schools.

(ii) To identify the role of school administration and other teachers in

(iii) To identify the challenges facing guidance and counselling programme.

1.4 Significance of the Study

Secondary school students face various challenges that if not well handled affect their academic achievement. Therefore, in order to adequately address these challenges, emphasis has been placed on the existing programmes within the schools. Guidance and counselling is one of these programmes.

Such a study helps in providing useful information that could be useful in redesigning and giving impetus to the programme by those concerned including the Ministry of Education, administrators of the institutions, teacher counsellors and students so as to boost the academic performance and overall self-actualization of secondary school students.

The teacher counsellor will use this study to evaluate the impact that guidance and counselling will have on academic performance in their respective schools.

The Ministry of Education will also use this study in evaluating whether guidance and counselling programme is an effective measure in addressing the challenges facing secondary school students in the country.

The study will also assists school administrators in assessing their contribution to guidance and counselling programme and its influence on academic performance of students in their schools.

When guidance and counselling programme is well conceptualized by the Ministry of Education and implemented by the teacher counsellor with the support of the school administrators, the students will benefit by improving their academic achievements and self-actualization. 

1.5 Research Questions

The study addressed the following research questions:

(i) What is the effectiveness of guidance and counselling programme in secondary schools?

(ii) What the role of the school administration and other teachers in    enhancing guidance and counselling programme?

(iii) What are the challenges facing guidance and counselling programme in schools?

1.6 The Scope and Limitations of the Study

The study focused on the impact of guidance and counselling programme on academic performance of secondary school students. A case study of selected Government Secondary Schools Nassarawa and Trikania, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Government Secondary Schools Nassarawa and Trikania were chosen due to the available evidence of poor academic performance among students in WAEC examinations. Therefore, they were in a better position of evaluating guidance and counselling programme more objectively and also have established academic trend. This study encountered a number of limitations which impeded effective answering of the research questions. These limitations include:

(i) Academic performance of students in a school is determined by very many factors including the ability of the individual student, the quality of the teachers, the staffing level, availability of facilities, and guidance and counselling, among others. Therefore, it is not practically possible to isolate one factor and link it to the level of academic performance. However, in this study, the researcher is confined to the academic areas that are of concern to the guidance and counselling programme only.

(ii) All secondary schools in the country were expected to have implemented guidance and counselling programme as directed by the government through the Ministry of Education. However, due to time, manpower and financial resource constraints, it is not practically possible to cover all the schools in the state. This means that only a small sample of the school will be involved.

1.7 Assumptions of the Study

The study is based on the following assumptions:

(i) Poor and falling academic performance in the study area is due to inefficient and ineffective guidance and counselling programme.

(ii) Guidance and counselling programme face a number of challenges in addressing the academic problems of students in secondary schools.

(iii) The views that will be expressed by the sampled respondents are a true reflection of guidance and counselling programme in their respective schools.

1.8 Definition of Key Terms

In this section, operational definitions are presented as used within the context of this study.

Academic performance: This refers to the academic achievement of a student which is usually measured in terms of grades or marks attained in a test.

Counselling: Involves helping an individual to deal with or remove frustrations and obstacles that interfere with their lives and develop his most acceptable self by thinking through the situation him/herself in an accepting atmosphere.

Effective counselling: Producing a desired result. In this case, effectiveness refers to the ability/capacity of guidance and counselling programme to offer its required services in a school. In this study, the effectiveness of guidance and counselling will be measured on a likert scale by examining the extent to which the programme is able to offer various components of academic/career/educational counselling in schools. Guidance: A process of helping learners to develop self understanding, capabilities for making realistic career decisions, overcome personality deficits and make optimal academic progress.

Guidance and counselling: Includes all services that help an individual understanding of him/herself, his/her attitude, interests, abilities, physical, mental and social maturity for optimum development.

Public schools: These are schools facilitated and controlled/regulated by the government.

Teacher Counsellor: A school teacher who has undergone formal training in guidance And counselling including theory and practice. 

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