Students’ Perception Of The Role Of School Counselors In The Choice Of A Career

STUDENTS’ PERCEPTION OF THE ROLE OF SCHOOL COUNSELORS IN THE CHOICE OF A CAREER


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Introduction
High school drop-out rates result in unemployment, poverty, low quality of life, high dependency ratio and many other social problems which call for an effective career guidance programme in schools. Ocansey (2001) observes that making a correct or realistic career choice as well as planning for it is a difficult or delicate task. It is therefore important that school guidance programmes keep up with the latest trends, so that guidance services are provided in our schools to equip students to make them well prepared to make better choices in life. Whether students make use of school counsellors or not depends on how students perceive these coun
sellors‟ roles in the choice of a career
(Mittendorff, Beijaardb, den Brokb, & Koopman, 2012). In the school system, the ultimate aim of both teaching, and guidance and counselling is to prepare and guide students into a better future. Though guidance and counseling may not be a time-tabled activity as teaching, McLaughlin (1999) asserts that it carries an educational function. This means its place in the school system is no less important. The failure to offer or effectively provide guidance services has often led to wrong career path decisions that have adversely affected the victims and the nation. Lack of enthusiasm in a chosen field, low productivity at work, emotional depression, and lack of focus in life are some of the consequences of bad career decisions made by students (Fox & Butler, 2007). The need to maximize the benefits of school-based services like guidance and counselling therefore becomes ever important. But getting students to talk to counsellors remains unrealistic given the varying perceptions students hold about counsellors which hinder the natural human conversation process between both parties (Fox & Butler, 2007). Without such a conversation, good career decisions, which are a product of the conversational process, will not be possible. And since counsellors hold great secrets and information in store, these treasures are lost forever to these students.
Statement of the Problem
It is expected that by the time a student leaves Senior High School, they should have decided on the occupation or career they intend to pursue. In contrast, it has been observed that most students complete second-cycle schooling without having an idea as to the occupation to pursue (Kelechie & Ihuoma, 2011). According to Kelechie, & Ihuoma (2011), students do not make informed career choice because they are largely influenced by their peers and
parents‟ preference for certain careers. School counsellors are not significant in
the decision making process because students may have some perception about these counsellors which prevents them from seeking guidance and counselling on career choices.