The role of Guidance and Counseling Services in the prevention of Deviant Behaviour in Secondary Schools. The case of Kumba 1 Municipality
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Deviant behaviours have become a global challenge that is capable of destroying the world. The rate at which norms and societal rules are being violated by youths is an indication that if nothing serious is done now, the future will be very bleak for the youths.
The purpose of this study therefore was to assess the role guidance and counselling services play in the prevention of deviant behaviour in secondary schools in Kumba 1 Municipality, Meme Division in the South West Region of Cameroon.
Specifically, the study sought to find out the role of the orientation, information, consultation and counselling services in the prevention of deviant behaviour in secondary schools. Four research questions and four hypotheses were formulated to guide the study.
Literature was reviewed under the conceptual, theoretical and empirical reviews and it was revealed that guidance and counselling services have a significant role to play in the prevention of deviant behaviour in secondary schools.
The descriptive correlational survey research design was used and the sample consisted of 180 students and 7 counsellors from selected secondary schools in Kumba 1 Municipality. The instruments for data collection were a questionnaire for students and an interview guide for counsellors.
Data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The Pearson product moment correlation was used to test the hypothesis at P<0.05 level of significance. Data was analyse using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.
From analyses it was found out that guidance and counselling services including consultation with teachers and parents’ play a vital role in students’ behaviour management and correction. Guidance and counselling services provide psychological advice and maintain good discipline in the school.
This service play important role in the assessment of emotional and disruptive behaviour of the students. In fact, the existence of guidance and counselling services in the school helps in shaping students’ behaviour in a desirable manner. Through counselling service learners become familiar with good expectations to internalise their behaviour.
It was therefore recommended that more counsellors should be trained and sent to schools including mission and private schools to help curb deviant behaviour in schools. Adequate time should also be assigned for counselling on the time table to allow student have time for counselling.
The Ministry of Secondary Education should also provide necessary facilities and adequate budget for the effective provision of counselling and forums should be created by the ministry of secondary education where seminars on students’ behaviour are held in schools and even over the media like the television to help nurture their behaviour by exposing them to the disadvantages of inappropriate behaviours.
This chapter focuses on the background of the study, statement of the problem , the purpose of the study which is to investigate the role guidance and counselling services play in the prevention of deviant behaviour in secondary schools in Kumba Municipality, Meme Division in the South West Region of Cameroon. The objectives and research questions were developed to seek a better understanding of the role these services play in the prevention of deviant acts in schools. The chapter also includes the hypotheses, significance of the study, the description of scope, and the definition of terms. The chapter is arranged according to the following headings: background to the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and delimitation of the study and the definition of terms.
Historically, guidance and counseling has existed in one form or the other since the very beginning of human civilization (Narayama, 2002). People sought comfort and solace from family and close association. However, it is only in the recent past that counselling has emerged as a component of educational system which has deep roots in the values of individual freedom, rights, dignity and worth as a human being (Narayama, 2002). According to Bobga (2016), guidance and counselling services are essential elements in discipline management of people in all societies.
Formal guidance and counselling movement can be traced to America in the late 1890s and the early 1900s in the city of Boston in the U.S.A (Bobga, 2016). Guidance and counselling services began in America in early 1900 to help students in their educational development and career aspirations (Gysbers & Henderson, 2001). In the United States, counselling developed out of a humanitarian concern to improve the lives of those adversely affected by the Industrial Revolution of the mid- to late 1800s. The champion of this guidance movement who is also referred to as the father of guidance and counseling is Frank Parsons. Frank Parsons founded a Vocational Bureau in Boston in 1908 where he worked with youths in the process of making career decisions (Kochhar, 1992). To Parsons, to choose a career one has to match personal traits to occupations. That is you have to get knowledge of the job, knowledge of yourself in terms of traits, aptitudes, skills and abilities and finally match your skills, abilities and traits with the job requirements.
Parson’s concern and belief was that if individuals can understand their strengths and weaknesses, such knowledge can be used to choose vocational opportunities (Ginter, 2002). The vocational guidance movement was an attempt to reduce problems of unemployment, want and poverty. Through his efforts, guidance and counselling became an organized service and it gained recognition for its important contribution in society. Parsons established the first career institution in the U.S.A, and set the pace for the development of psychological testing. Appraisal and placement services started during World War I with focus on testing and placement practices for great numbers of military personnel (Hollis, 2000). In this process, the Army commissioned the development of numerous psychological instruments, among them being the Army Alpha and Army Beta intelligence tests. Several of the Army’s screening devices were employed in civilian populations after the war and psychometrics/psychological testing became a popular movement and an early foundation on which counselling was based. Psychometric movement came up with fascinating tests of mental altitudes and abilities, interests, attitudes, behaviour, IQ tests etc.
The period during the Second World War and after led to a major breakthrough in counselling and therefore counseling established itself as a profession through the publication of counselling and psychotherapy by Carl Rogers in 1942 (Omoniyi, 2016). Placement, referral, information and orientation services emerged with the advent of World War II when the United State of America government needed counsellors and psychologists to help select and train specialists for the military and industry. The war also brought about a new way of looking at vocations for men and women, many women worked outside the home during the war and women’s contributions to work and the wellbeing of the United States during the crisis of war made a lasting impact and as a result, the traditional occupational sex roles began to be questioned and greater emphasis was placed on personal freedom. After the war, the United State of America government further promoted counselling through the George-Barden Act of 1946, which provided vocational education funds (Omoniyi, 2016). Gradually the guidance and counselling movement developed into an organized service, which has continued to make a significant contribution to the development of society (Nyamwange, Nyakan& Ondima, 2012).
In Africa, guidance existed in traditional African society by educating the youth about traditions and culture of the community. This was done from generation to generation by elders who considered it their social responsibility. The stages were from childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. The objective of the guidance was to mould the individual in such a way that he/she fitted in the society as a responsible member of the community (Mutie 1999).
According to Muithya (1996), in the traditional African society, character formation was achieved through intense formal and informal programme of guidance and counselling. Makinde (1984) notes that guidance and counselling has been an essential part of every society and each society had its own sources of wisdom which controlled and regulated social interactions. He states that in African society’s provision of guidance and counselling was effected through identified people to whom members could turn to when necessary. Witmer (1990) said that African traditions and cultures guided youths in social roles, values, belief system, sex, regimental roles and skills they would need to enhance their culture.
Counselling was informally offered in Africa in the past by elders and clan heads (Mapp-Robinson, 1987). All members of the extended family especially anyone older than other is expected and was looked on to for counselling the younger members of the family. Therefore grandparents, aunts, uncles, older brothers or sisters were involved in informal counseling. Skills in carving, hunting and other occupations needed later on in life were passed on to young people by parents at different stages in the development of each child. Some of the behaviour and skills were learnt either by observing adults, or acquired through other means of training. Guidance and Counselling for individuals have always formed part of the African strategy for combating personality problems and practiced by indigenous counselors (Mapp-Robinson, 1987).
Guidance in schools in Africa is a relatively new concept (Witmer, 1990). Due to economic and social changes which in turn have resulted in the weakening of the structures of the traditional society, the students find it difficult to cope with these changes and the challenges that come due to their physical, psychological and emotional changes. It is often difficult for them to make decisions since the traditional setting is no longer in place (Witmer, 1990). Students in schools need to be fully guided regarding the relationship between health and the environment, life-learning skills, the knowledge and attitudes that lead to success or failure in life, for instance different vocational avenues, understanding the requirement, demands, limitations and prospects of vocational development (Narayana, 2002).
Conceptually, the concepts guidance and counselling, generally take on different meanings. The former refers to helping students’ total development, while the latter is frequently targeted at helping students with problems and challenges (LaiYeung, 2014). In other words, guidance work is preventive and developmental in nature whereas counselling is more of supportive, remedial work (LaiYeung, 2014). The global trend seems to have moved from a casework and remedial approach to a preventive, developmental approach in providing guidance and counselling (Gysbers &Henderson, 1994; Yuen, 2002; Lai-Yeung, 2014). Hence guidance and counselling is a very necessary therapy to school children.
Guidance and counseling is also described as an enlightened process whereby people help people by facilitating growth and positive adjustment through self-understanding. (Kolo, 2000). Guidance is a general label, an umbrella term that covers all the means whereby an institution identifies and responds to the individual needs of pupils/students and thereby helping the individual to develop his or her maximum potential. Bhatnagar and Gupta (1999) define guidance as a process of helping the individual find solutions to his/her own problems and accept them as his own. Counselling, on the other hand, is a subset of the general term called guidance services. Akinade (2012) defines guidance and counselling as a process of helping an individual become fully aware of himself/herself and the ways in which he/she is responding to the influences of his/her environment. It further assists him to establish some personal meaning for this behaviour and to develop and classify a set of goals and values for future behaviour. Okoye (1990) viewed counselling as an interactional relationship designed to facilitate the personal development of an individual leading to effective decision making and awareness of the self.
Counselling is a learning process in which a counsellor helps an individual or individuals learn, understand themselves and their environment and be in a position to choose the right type of behaviours that will help them develop, grow, progress, mature and step up, educationally, vocationally and socio personally (Egbo, 2013). In other words, counselling is a transformative process of helping people to learn all that is to be learnt both in and out of the School. Guidance and counselling is an important educational tool in shaping the orientation in a child from negative ideas that is planted in the child by his/her peers. Guidance in schools is that area of the schools provision that is specifically directed towards helping students realize their full potentials in preparing for adult and working life. According to Oviogbodu (2015) counselling can be defined as a number of procedures in assisting an individual to solve his problems. Counselling is an interaction or relationship between two or few individuals, the client counsellor relationship of trust.
Guidance and counselling has been conceptualized as a programme of activities which has provided the gateway out of the existing numerous problems in our present age of complex scientific and technological development (Okobiah and Okorodudu 2004). Anwana (1989) and Abiri (1996) posited 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 counselling and career information be provided, to enable the school and society arrive at a realistic vocational choice for their children with due realization of their potentialities. An effective counsellor is a good listener, empathic, warm and sensitive to the needs of others.
School guidance and counselling services are introduced to assist students overcome the number of challenges they experience at home and at school. Nziramasanga (1999) states that because of many pressures imposed on the family, parents tend to have little time with their children to give them the necessary guidance. The parents expect the school to provide solutions to indiscipline in secondary schools caused by their children. UNESCO (2002:2) adds that “African adults have become more concerned with earning money and are less occupied with many traditional practices that formerly contributed to the upbringing of young people”. Rapid sociological changes emanating from modernization and urbanization stress students.
Counselling is an interaction or relationship between two or few individuals, the client-counsellor relationship of trust (Purnama & Rahman, 2014; Oviogbodu, 2015; and Bobga, 2016). Counselling is a social service based on the recognition of an individual’s uniqueness, dignity, value and respect, and of the fact that every individual has a right to personal assistance when needed. This service recognizes the need to offer individuals an opportunity for self-knowledge and self-development through individual or small group interventions.
Guidance services are designed to help an individual student analyze himself/herself by relating their capabilities, achievements, interests and mode of adjustment to what new decision they have to make Gichinga (1995). These services are very critical for the students because they need it to solve career, personal and social problems they encounter in life. The school is supposed to provide time, place, and personnel required for skilled assistance of individual students in working out solutions to their personal problems. The services are designed to facilitate self -understanding through individual or group relationships. Kyungu(1994) support this by stipulating that effective guidance and counselling in secondary schools and other learning institutions has become extremely important in guiding students on the relationship between health and the environment, life-learning skills, the knowledge and attitudes that lead to success or failure in life. Effective counselling service should assist in improving the self-image of the students and facilitate better achievement in academics.
The counselling service’s main purpose is to nurture a relationship leading to personal development and decision-making, based on an understanding and knowledge of oneself and the environment. The service provides an opportunity for verbal interaction between the counsellor and the client, with the sole aim of assisting the client to deal with a specific problem which could be physical, academic, emotional/personal, and/or social. Basically, this service offers clients the chance to make decisions and solve problems. This service has a direct link with other services, especially the referral service because, when the need arises, a counsellor may have to refer a client to other specialists. The provision of such a service acknowledges the fact that students need assistance to cope with the complexities of life, since classroom teaching alone may not meet the needs of the client effectively.
Deviant behaviour is generally defined as any behaviour that does not conform to the established rules of a group of individuals or the society at large (Idris, 2016). Hirschi (1995) intimates that deviant behaviours are actions which conflict with the societal norms. Deviant behaviour could also be any form of behaviour that contravenes the rules and regulations or even laws that govern an establishment such as truancy, examination malpractice, substance abuse, bullying, vandalism, and sexual immorality (Esere, 2008).It is a deviation that attracts punishment or sanctions in the society or school. Angel (2015) defined deviant behaviour as any behaviour that lacks conformity and acceptability of people in the society.
Diche (2016) posited that deviant behaviour is a behaviour that violates the laid down rules and regulations of a given organization or group. He also emphasized that deviant behaviour is a common phenomenon in the life of every human being but, stressed that it is rampant among students in schools which has led them to joining secret cults, and committing other heinous crimes in the school. Each year, the number of pupils/students with deviant behaviours in schools is steadily increasing (Hayden, 2007). Deviant behaviour may not only lead to problems that include peer-pressure, bullying, and violence within a school setting, but to also more serious consequences such as social maladaptation and crime (Rodger, 2008; Furniss, 2000). Many students are displaying deviant behaviour and thus destabilizing learning processes within school settings.
Boyd (2015) reported that a lot of youths are involved in the use of tobacco, amphetamines, barbiturates and heroin. In the same vein, Gordon (2001) revealed that smoking and drug use are basically societal problems among in-school adolescents. Idris (2016) explained that there are many cases of cultism, sexual abuse, acts of vandalism, blackmail, threats and intimidations reported by classroom teachers as well as school principals. He further affirms that there is an increase in the rate of moral decadence among youths as a result of the lack of discipline. Such undisciplined acts among students have culminated in juvenile delinquency.
The environment in which students live can influence them, especially when there is lack of parental guidance. The school is a major and important environment where a child develops during the formative years. When parents do not consistently react to the undesired behaviour of an adolescent, the child might continue to engage in more deviant behaviours in the school (Suleimen, 2011). Poor academic performance also predisposes youth to deviant behaviours. Babatunde (2016) noted that some children resort to antisocial behaviour due to their inability to cope with the academic rigours of the school.
The home is an agent of socialization. This is the place where values and morals are transmitted. The poor moral conduct of parents can result in broken homes which negatively influence the students’ behaviour. According to Goode (2007) many parents have lost their leadership roles in the home and poor home training causes students to engage in deviant behaviours. On the other hand, Gbadamosi (2003) observed that the causes of deviant behaviour are linked to faulty curriculum plans, administrative deficiency, inadequate school facilities, harsh school rules and societal problems. Individual differences in personality and psychological problems encountered by students are believed to be some of the reasons some in-school adolescents engage in deviant behaviours. Many of these students cope with their problems by getting involved in behaviours like vandalism, stealing, involvement in illicit sex activities, and drug abuse. All these risky behaviours negatively affect public order and the sense of safety of youths (Ibrahim, 2012).
Deviant behaviour in the class room increases the stress level of teachers and at the same time changes the classroom dynamics. The uses of the psychological principles are the various ways in which deviant behaviours are managed in schools. This approach is based on some systematic application of these psychological principles. Behavioural modification can simply be defined as the systematic application of principles derived from learning theories and experience in psychology (Asonibare, 2016). The techniques are used in extinguishing unwanted behaviour and at the same time helping to increase existing positive behaviours. It can also be used to teach new behaviour patterns. In extinguishing unwanted deviant behaviour among in-school adolescents, there are many strategies that can be employed. The behavioural approach is based on the assumption that negative behaviour can be unlearned and replaced with positive ones (Esere, 2002).
Goode (2007) stated that behaviour that is deviant in one society may not be in another. Even within a society, what is deviant today may not be deviant tomorrow. However, deviant behaviour should be stamped out to allow development and growth. Suleiman (2011) noted that a particular behaviour is antisocial if any of these three criteria are seen; when behaviour does not allow a person to function effectively with others as a member of the society, when such behaviour does not permit the person to meet his or her own needs and when behaviour has a negative effect on the wellbeing of others. Opong (2008) states that deviant behaviour is a disease that is against transparency, justice and fair play.
Students need counselling programmes as a result of these unruly behaviours. Guidance and counselling services within the frame work of education has the potential to help an individual to realistically examine his/her belief and values within the comprehensive nature of the school set up, only good guidance and counselling services can help the student through social adjustment to take the right decisions and understand himself and his world. According to Oladele (2007) no matter how good and well-constructed an educational policy may be, if guidance and counselling is not given priority and made an integral part of the system, it cannot succeed. Guidance services are essential elements in the promotion of appropriate behaviour in all societies. Even the most primitive societies grew out of the necessity of guiding individual behavior patterns in the interest of the group. Society itself could not function without the exercise of appropriate behaviour. Using guidance and counseling to promote appropriate behaviour must continually be practiced if people are to work harmoniously for the achievement of a common purpose.
Theoretically, the study was guided by the ecological system theory (Urie Bronfenbrenner, 1979), social or observational learning theory (Albert Bandura, 1986) and the person centered theory (Carl Rogers, 1967). Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory focuses around the school-family-community/society partnerships that provide the best foundation for promoting the development of all children. Children, their parents, educators and community members are considered partners in children’s overall development.
Bandura’s social or observational learning theory (Bandura, 1986) opines that children are affected by watching the behaviour of others in their environment. His work, focusing particularly on the nature of aggression, suggests that modelling plays a highly significant role in determining thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.To him deviant behaviour is learned through close relations with others, it asserts that children are born good but learn to be bad.Rogers’ person-centered theory viewed human nature as basically good. He believed that if given the appropriate environment of acceptance, warmth and empathy, the individual would move toward self-actualization.
Contextually, according to Ndongka and Leke, (2000), the development of counselling in Cameroon could be traced from 1945, with an in-service unit of counselling opened in the Public Works Department. It however went through a series of changes in name: in 1949 it was called the Centre for Psychological Counselling and Vocational Choices (CPOSP). In 1963, this unit of counselling became the Service of Vocational Guidance and Psychological Studies of Labour Problems (SPOSP). It was thus placed under the Secretariat for Labour and was linked to the Ministry of National Education. The role of the service included carrying out psychological studies, adaptation to the orientation and vocational selection of individuals for the public and private sectors.
In 1966, a guidance bureau was created within the planning service of the Ministry of National Education (Ngoran, 2013). This bureau received technical assistance from UNESCO and was given the assignment of providing parents and students with all necessary information relative to their studies; to orient students to follow the paths corresponding to their aptitudes both physically and intellectually in line with their personal interest and economic needs; to initiate and maintain school files and undertake studies on the most appropriate psychological methods for use in school and Universities. In 1974, following Decree No. 74/406 of 24 April 1974, a department of Planning Orientation and School Equipment with a service of Counselling in the Ministry of National Education (Ngoran, 2013).
With increased awareness and needs of students, a section for training of counsellors was established within the Department of Science of Education in the Higher Teachers’ Training College (HTTC) Yaoundé in 1982 by Decree No. 79/309 of the 10th of August, 1979. Admission into the two-year programme was through a competitive examination (Ngoran, 2013; Nkegoa, 2011). Presently, apart from HTTC Yaounde, there are many other teacher training institutions training academic and vocational counsellors. They include: University of Maroua, Higher Teacher Training College in Bambili, Higher Technical Teacher Training Colleges in Bambili, Kumba, Douala, and Ebolowa (MINSEC).
Cameroon school system has six counseling services as stated in its terms of reference (MINESEC 2009). The terms of reference outlines a summary and recurrent guidance and counselling activities that should be carried out in an academic year in the central and deconcentrated services of the Ministry of Secondary Education as well as in educational establishments under the Ministry of Secondary Education (MINESEC). These services include: academic, orientation, follow up and evaluation, research, vocational and career services.
Today’s children will be the caretakers or leaders of tomorrow. Children are generally expected by society to be of good moral values and character within and out of school, this goes a long way to guarantee their success in school and in life. Unfortunately, one of the major social problems in our schools is the reported increase in the number of students involved in aggressive and violent behaviours daily. From the researcher’s observation of some schools, it is very common to find students nowadays engaged in deviant acts such as stealing, drug abuse, dodging from classes, violence, fighting with their teachers and even with the school administrators. A recent case reported over CRTV (2020) happened in Yaounde where a student killed his Mathematics teacher.
Despite the government efforts to enforce discipline in schools such as the increase in the number of discipline masters, mistresses and counsellors per school, unrest has continued in secondary schools with a new dimension such as killing.
There seems to be lack of effective alternative strategy to contain students’ disruptive behaviour. Students fighting with teachers, among themselves, and all sorts of deviant acts are common phenomena in Cameroon schools nowadays.
It has been seen among students in schools that deviant students suffer disproportionate numbers of suspension and expulsions and have poor academic performance. The researcher also observed that deviant students avoid academic engagements; have low completion rates and exhibit decreased school attendance.
Some end up being dismissed and become nuisance to our communities by indulging in acts such as armed robbery and scamming thus threatening the peace and security of the communities.
Some of these deviant acts such as smoking, drunkenness, arm robbery and scamming are claiming the lives of our future leaders. This thus motivated the researcher to carry out this study on the role of guidance and counselling services in the fight against deviant behaviour in schools.
The main objective of this study was to find out the role of guidance and counselling services in the prevention of deviant behaviour in secondary schools.
Specifically the study sought to:
- To find out the role of the orientation service in the prevention of deviant behaviour in secondary schools.
- To determine the role of the information service in the prevention of deviant behaviour in secondary schools.
- To examine the role of the consultation service in the prevention of deviant behaviour in secondary schools.
- To investigate the role of the counselling service in the prevention of deviant behaviour in secondary schools
What is the role of guidance and counselling services in the prevention of deviant behaviour in secondary schools?
The following research questions would guide the study:
- What is the role of the orientation service in the prevention of deviant behaviour in secondary schools?
- What role does the information service play in the prevention of deviant behaviour in secondary schools?
- What is the role of the consultation service in the prevention of deviant behaviour in secondary schools?
- What role does the counselling service play in the prevention of deviant behaviour in secondary schools?