Counselling is a helping relationship between the counsellor and the counsellee. It is aimed at helping the counsellee adjust properly to school, family, peer groups, and society.
Counselling departments are established in secondary schools that have full-time guidance counsellor with the aim of assisting the students meet up with the problems and challenges of the adolescents.
Some of these problems and challenges are: Negative peer group influence, lateness to school, truancy, examination malpractices, poor academic performances, fighting, bullying, stealing, noise making, disobedience to school rules and regulation (like improper dressing), scrambling for food or eating double plates of food for boarders etc.
A functional counselling department – where the guidance counsellor is performing his/her function very well takes care of all these challenges and problems by providing counselling services for achievement of academic excellence and change in behaviour of deviant students.
The guidance counsellor who should have professional certificate in guidance and counselling, should be provided with a standard office, made accessible to staff and students.
In addition to the above, the counsellor should have good qualities via; be friendly, smart, approachable, easy going, knowledgeable in the job, keep office secret, does not allow personal/family problem to interfere wither the school work. His relationship with clients must be cordial.
The major counselling services rendered in schools are on educational, vocational, orientational, informative, appraising, counselling, referral, follow-up, consultancy and family counselling.
Educational – The counsellor provides information on school calendar, JSSCE, WASSCE/NECO examinations, cowbell competitions. Others include equipping the students with study skills, keep records of academic progress of students (Special need students, gifted and under achievers/repeaters, handicapped students) for proper attention. He administers psychological tests, score, interpret and use them for counseling the students.
Vocational counselling services: The counsellor organises career talks/career day for students. He invites resource persons to deliver talks on different occupations. This enable the students to set their goals and work towards achieving such goals by selecting relevant subjects for successful career choice.
Orientation service – is the heart beat of counselling programme. It helps the students to make plan to adjust to school environment.
Information service: Information should be provided to the students through the school bulletin board, general morning assembly, school notice board, class visit, different clubs meetings and P.T.A meeting.
Placement of students: The counsellor makes sure that students are placed in the right class, right programme/activities that meet with their interest and development.
Individual and group counselling should be organized for the students on daily basis. This is to help the students understand themselves and their situations and be able to manage themselves and can even solve some of their personal problems; like lateness to school, trance, noise making etc, when such is done satisfaction is achieved.
The guidance counsellor should from time to time refer cases to professionals who are in a position and are more competent in resolving the client’s problems, for instance health problem should be referred to a medical doctor.
Parents can be consulted to discuss issues/matters affecting their children. This strengthens the relationship between the school and the home. Parents are assured that their children are being taken care off, therefore take their roles seriously at home.
Counselling services are indispensable when they are well rendered and received, the students become psychologically well adjusted and perform excellently in their various examinations. Therefore, stakeholders in education in schools should join hands to see that counselling departments in their school is functional and dynamic.