There is a general assumption that the introduction of guidance and counseling in secondary school systems would enable everybody to appreciate the significance of guidance and counseling in the school system.
Philosophers pointed out that there is a need for the establishment of guidance and counseling programme in the Nigerian school. In spite of this, there seems to be slow progress in the availability of guidance programme in Nigerian secondary schools. The National Policy on Education (1998) has emphasized on the need for guidance programme in our secondary schools, but in most secondary schools, the counselors or career master is only given the assignment of counseling duties as a part-time assignment while teaching duties are emphasized for such officers.
Due to this, the guidance services have focused much of recent on the objective of psychological growth that is to aid students to learn how to make comprehensive decisions, enhance personal development, liberate students and to meet the peculiar needs of the students for individual learning. The problem that Nigerian secondary schools are currently facing in this era of science and technology are numerous, such as mass failure in school and public examination, examination malpractice, indiscipline, overpopulation and decline in social norms and values. Faced with this problem, secondary school, therefore, needs an established and effective guidance and counseling programmer to be managed by trained counselors.
Guidance is perceived as a process because it involves a series of actions or steps progressively moving towards a goal. Help entails assisting to reduce human difficulties, individuals refer to students in a school setting or client, in a non-school setting. Understanding of self and world means coming to known who they are as individuals, becomes aware of their personal identity, perceive clearly the nature of their person and the person and the people with whom they interact. As individuals, they should be able to know what opportunities are open for them in their world. The assumption is that individuals who understand themselves and their world will become more effective, more productive and happier human beings (Adams, 1998) through guidance individual achieve greater awareness not only of who they are but also of who they can become. Guidance is no a haphazard activity but a planned and systematic approach towards helping the individuals to be able to make wise choices or decisions.
Guidance aims at aiding the recipient to grow in his independence and ability to be responsible for himself. It is seen as a service that is universal, not confined to the school or family. It is found in all phase of life, in the business, industry, hospital, in homes, government and anywhere there are people who need help the central idea of these definitions is that it does not dictate a solution to the individuals. Realizing that with appropriate guidance, the counselee can direct his/herself. Inferring from the definitions of guidance, it is clear that is purpose is to help students understand the totality of their personal experiences, the opportunities available as well as the choice open to them and also helping them to recognize, interpret and act upon their personal weaknesses, strengths, and resources. Understanding oneself can effectively lead to a student’s wise choice of curriculum options and appropriate occupational aspiration that would lead to the discovery and development of potentials for personal happiness first and then social usefulness.
Counseling involves a wide range of procedures including advice giving, support in times of need or trouble, information giving encouragement and test interpretation. Counseling is perceived as part of the guidance programme involving a more personalized process that involves a one on one relationship or small groups. Counseling deals more intensively wit personal and emotional issues, it is very private and confidential.
In Nigeria, not much attention has been paid to the evaluation of counseling programs, perhaps due to the general resistance and lukewarmness about the role of counseling in the society. The early evaluative comments by concerned practitioners (Lambo, 1963; Morgan, 1966) were mainly descriptions of incidence of mental ailments and the various psychological syndromes needing counseling attention. Others (Fapounda, 1974;
The general awareness of counseling need, observed in the West, is still to be realized in the African contexts. Thus, although some have expressed the need for counseling services in the educational system of Nigeria, many are still resistant or lukewarm about its role in improving the quality of life in this Dart of the world. It is no wonder, therefore, that a discipline which had been advertised by psychologists and educators since the early ’60s does not seem to have arrived here by 1976 (e.g. Makinde & Gesinde, 1975; Schemeding, 1964). However, one can see some counseling programs gradually evolving in some states of Nigeria.