This study was carried out to examine the influence of guidance and counselling services on career choice of secondary school students using five selected secondary schools in Otukpo Local Government Area, Benue State as a case study. Specifically, the study was aimed at examining the effectiveness of guidance and counselling services to students in secondary schools under review; determine the extent to which these services provided affects students ‘choice of career; and explore the factors influencing the career choice of students in secondary schools under review. The study employed the survey descriptive research design. A total of 120 responses were validated from the survey. From the responses obtained and analysed, the findings of study revealed that Guidance and counseling has influence on students’ career choice. The study therefore recommend More guidance and counselling center should be set-up with more professional counsellors employed in the schools. More so, Students should be motivated to share and discuss the choice of career with their counsellors and understand the relationship of subjects to a particular career.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Education has been described as a vital and indispensable key to any form of development (Jibrin, et al., 2012).Education in its broadest sense encompasses all the process individuals go through in life to develop and optionally utilize their potentials through the acquisition of knowledge,skills,abilities and attitudes that are necessary for effective living in society (Umar, et al., 2012).In projection, it is a process that starts from birth and ends with death which means that education is a lifelong process. Education is an instrument for economic, political and scientific development of all nations (Jibrin, et al., 2012).
According to Umar, et al., (2014), secondary school education is the engine room of knowledge acquisition, a stage at which students come in contact with various subjects, which determine the field of study they will like to pursue in higher secondary school education is kind of level after the primary education and before higher education. Its position in educational system also speaks of its importance. The National policy on Education (FGN, 2004) stated that the aim of education is to inculcate in the child, the spirit of inquiry and secondly, education should equip students to live effectively in our modern age of science and technology. Furthermore, attention was drawn to need for counselling programmes in school.
The place of counselling programmes in schools cannot be overemphasized especially with the daily expansion in the enrolment of students in schools, growing needs of youths in Nigeria, the continual unrest in schools and the repeated changes in the educational system (Bolu-Steve, et al., 2017). Counselling services has become an essential programme in schools and this cannot be done in isolation. Contextual to this paper, Guidance has been defined by Umar, et al., (2014) as the total programme of a number highly specialized activities implemented by specialist to help individual make wise and intelligent choice and decisions. Eyo, et al., (2010), averred that guidance is a programme of services to individuals based on their needs and the influence of environmental factors. She went ahead to state that guidance and counselling is a professional field which has a broad range of activities, programmes and services geared toward assisting individuals to understand themselves, their problems, their school environment and their world and also to develop adequate capacity for making wise choices and decisions. Furthermore, guidance programmes for secondary school students are designed to address the physical, emotional, social, vocational and academic difficulties of adolescent students. This is to complement learning in the classroom and also enhance academic performance/achievements of students (Eyo, et al., 2010).
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, ascend, mature and step up, educationally, vocationally and socio personally, (Ebizie, et al., 2016). In other words, counselling is a transformative process of helping people to learn all that are to be learnt both in and outside the School. On the other hand, a career is defined as one’s lifework in order words, career is ones profession which includes a number of occupation, vocations or jobs one person engage in during his or her working life (Eremie, et al., 2018). Career is the course of events that constitute a life, the sequence of occupations and other life roles which combine express ones commitment to work in his or her total pattern of self-development. Umar, et al., (2014), averred that career choice previously was not as difficult as it is today. There were fewer job opportunities and more importantly, parents, teachers and religious bodies were aware of the existing opportunities as well as requirements for entry into them.
Career counsellors on the other hand do offer a wide range of career related programmes to students which are aimed at assisting students to plan their career, make informed decision and choose a career which will land him or her into the right vocation so as to make students enjoy their work (Eremie, et al., 2018). The strategic position of counsellors in secondary schools enables them in assisting to mould the students’ educational, emotional, behavioural and psychological challenges. These counselling services is done in tandem with other school personnel (Orewere, 2012). Again Eremie, et al., (2018), posit career guidance and counselling makes it possible for an individual to see and explore his or her unlimited endowed options. it is an undeniable fact that the major service areas of guidance and counselling are, educational guidance and counselling which assists students in their choices of career, vocational guidance and counselling which assists the individual to choose and prepare for an occupation that is compatible with his interests and aptitudes, and personal and social guidance and counselling which assists the individual to behave appropriately in relation to other members of the society (Eremie, et al., 2018). It is believed that guidance and counselling services in school shall develop, assess and improve educational programmes; enhance teaching and improve the competence of the teacher and reduce cost for the children (Ebizie, et al., 2016). According to Orewere, (2012), for guidance and counselling to be effective, there must be a series of programmed activities to help students’ develop a positive attitude towards it. This enables students with information and guidance with regards to personal, academic and career option. Hence, guidance and counseling play a vital role in the career choice of the students.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
There exist numerous problems encountered by students in their process of Career choice. The problem of this study is that some secondary school students are not properly guided due to lack or no guidance and counseling services, counseling services are not encouraged and even where they exist they lack professional counsellors. Also inadequate information to guide students on different career prospects. Authors such as (Eyo, et al., 2010; Eremie, et al., 2018) concur that personal-social, educational background, physical, and economic factors affects students career choices. It was observed that few principals and teachers have shown concern but still forget the major role the professional counsellors in secondary schools play. Students find it difficult to make wise career decision, this study therefore attempts to look at the effectiveness of the guidance services on career choice of senior secondary students.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of guidance and counselling services on career choice of secondary school students. The specific objectives include:
1. To examine the effectiveness of guidance and counselling services to students in secondary schools under review.
2. To determine the extent to which these services provided affects students ‘choice of career.
3. To explore the factors influencing the career choice of students in secondary schools under review.
The following research questions guided the study
1. What is the effect of guidance and counselling services to students in secondary schools under review?
2. To what extent do these services provided affects students ‘choice of a career?
3. What are the factors influencing the career choice of students in secondary schools under review?
H0: Guidance and counseling has no influence on students’ career choice
HA: Guidance and counseling has influence on students’ career choice
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Naturally decision-making is very important, it is the hardest thing to make in life. Youths are usually the people concerned with choosing careers, which may hopefully be helped by guidance and counseling officers. The study will help to solve the conflicts that exist between parents and students in the area of career choice. The research is essential to parents, students, community and government because it will reveal the areas of weakness in the guidance profession and reasons why students should have good performance and careers if they are well counseled. This research