The Nigerian educational system is set to include courses that are of value and would be of benefit to the Nigerian people and society. The school is an institution where the students are expected to acquire skills that will enable them to function in the outside world.
One of the courses in the Nigerian curriculum offered by many Nigerian universities is Guidance and Counselling; what is the purpose of it?
We will take a look at the history of Guidance and Counselling and how its benefit to the Nigerian society.
History of Guidance and Counselling in Nigeria
Although new to Africa, many nations have embraced the concept of Guidance and Counselling. Why? This is because Guidance and Counselling equips people with the manpower to develop the society both domestically and internationally
The history of Guidance and Counselling can be traced back to the 1960s, precisely in 1959. This was in St. Theresa’s College Oke-Ado, Ibadan where a group of Catholic nuns made efforts at educating the students of the 1959 academic session. A career workshop was set up, especially in the area of job search and subject selection.
Another major landmark in the history of Guidance and Counselling was in 1963, where another Guidance and Counselling workshop was held at the Comprehensive High School in Aiyetoro where Mr R.O Rees, delivered a paper, titled “The role of Guidance and Counselling in a Comprehensive High School”. This was also instrumental in the development of Guidance and Counselling in Nigeria.
A third major significant landmark was a book written by Mr C.I Berepiki titled “An Approach to Guidance in Schools”.
Through these efforts, the Federal Government was made to recognize the importance of Guidance and Counselling in the development of the nation. The Federal Ministry of Education then appointed Mr Berepiki to oversee the coordination of Guidance and Counselling services in Nigerian schools.
Another factor which cannot be undermined in its contribution to the emergence of Guidance and Counselling is the Nigerian civil war and its aftermath on the people. The post-war trauma, that is social, educational and psychological problems brought with it a dire need to rehabilitate war victims. Professionals in Guidance and Counselling were needed under the circumstances because less trained personals were not as equipped to cope with the situation. A solution adopted by the Federal Government was to provide free scholarships to candidates who were ready to study Guidance and Counselling at the Master’s level in any Nigerian University.
Also, according to the third National Development plan at the time, the government was focused on manpower developments. This led to the establishment of the Counselling Association of Nigeria. This organization was closely associated with the American Personnel and Guidance Association.
In 1981, the concept of Guidance and Counselling was implemented into the National policy of Education. This provided the chances of having counselling units in educational institutions all around Nigeria.
Difference between Guidance and Counselling
Guidance is an act of showing the way or a solution to another person. For example, a teenager who cannot seem to find or decide on the right career path. Guidance entails directing, pointing, leading and accompanying.
Guidance is giving directives to the confused, fearful or uncertain.
From an objective point of view, guidance is an aspect of the counselling profession. It is called directive counselling. Secondary school and even University students need guidance when they are confused about choices to make regarding their future. This is not to mean that adults do not also need guidance in making choices.
The work of a guidance counsellor is to help the person who has come for guidance see a world of opportunities.
Usually, guidance takes place in schools.
Counselling is many times regarded to be a little more than guidance. It is referred to as both an art and science. An art of healing hurts. It is a science because it offers counsel, companionship or assistance. However, it is also an art because it deals with the complexities and dynamics of humans.
A counsellor must have knowledge of the basic principles and techniques of counselling and must also be able to apply this knowledge to real-life situations. Counselling is often seen as a relationship where a person shares his life problems and hurts and the counsellor seeks to find means to help heal. A counsellor must also be able to relate to the counselee without being too close or inappropriately intimate or too distant to be considered intimidating.
A counsellor must be empathetic, sensitive and be able to interpret non-verbal clues of the counselee in order to resolve complexes.
Principles of Guidance and Counselling
Although it has been reported that Guidance and Counselling in the western sense runs into its own clash with the African culture and other issues typical of a developing nation, there are, however, universal principles that guide the concept of guidance and counselling. Examples of these are:
- Every individual is different and this is expected to influence the approach taken by counsellors to each one.
- The human dignity of a person is sacred and must be upheld.
- The backgrounds and experiences of a person are of primary significance in counselling
- Individual must be seen to act according to their discernment.
- The process of guidance must start in childhood so as to help avoid many life mistakes.
- Every individual has the ability to learn and be taught
- All individuals at one point or the other need guidance and assistance.
Admission Requirements for the study of Guidance and Counselling in Nigeria
Guidance and Counselling as a course is under the Faculty of Education in Universities. In UTME, a candidate is expected to pass the English Language so as to be eligible to apply for this course. This and the three (3) other JAMB UTME subject combination needed to study Guidance and Counselling are any education-related subjects.
Guidance and Counselling today Nigerian Educational Institutions
A school is expected to provide counselling services to the students. This helps to build a society of well-rounded persons, equipped to handle the challenges of life. Guidance helps secondary school pupils to be given a proper guide into the University life and the same for the University students for the next phase of their lives. Although the system of Guidance and Counselling is not perfect in Nigeria, it can certainly be noticed and more efforts are being made in this area by the government and organizations.