Challenges that necessitate the need for counselling education essay

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INTRODUCTION

This paper is aimed at dealing with issues of the actual challenges in all societies regardless of their departmental level and how the international guidance community is coping with these challenges. It deals with the importance of guidance in a changing society quality assurance, access to service and qualification of guidance and counseling.

Social structures and personal values also continue to change and become more diverse. Emerging social groups are challenging established groups, asking for equality. People are on the move too, from rural to urban areas and vice versa and from one region of the country to another in search of economic, social and psychological security.

The following are the challenges which call or prompt for guidance and counseling.

GLOBAL CHANGES

Facing the enormous changes and consequences of globalization at the beginning of the new millennium and its impacts on human social life there is an urgent need to rethink guidance and counseling. The globalization process forces economies on local, regional and national level to react to the impulses of the world market and the international competition as the free flow of capital in search of cost minimization, the more ability of manufacturing capacity of information, goods, service and even people bring one state a loss of investment and employment accompanied by a win in other regions of the world. This competitive movement results in an extreme pressure to increase productivty by taking advantage of technical changes of all kinds. It affects the marketing distribution and general administration processes. While new technologies changed the nature of work in industry, services, computers, bio-technology and especially in information and communication technologies and lead to job loss and unemployment, new workplaces are created elsewhere. This process requires adaptability and qualification adjustment of workers and enterprise alike.

SOCIAL CHALLENGES

All these changes are creating complex challenges for students as they anticipate the future. A rapidly changing work world and labour force; violence in homes, schools and communities; divorce; teenage suicide which is the killing of a teenager. Although the suicide rate among the youth significantly decreased in the mid 1990's suicide deaths remain high in the 15 to 24 age group with 3,971 suicides in 2001 and over 132,000 suicide attempts in 2002; substance abuse and sexual experimentation are just a few examples of the complex challenges students face today. They are not abstract aberrations. They are real and have and will continue to have substantial impact on the personal, social, career and academic development of the students.

As these and other changes are taking place in society, many organizations and groups of interested and involved individuals are providing programmes and services at national, state and local levels to help students deal effectively with these complex challenges within the education community, school counselors have been and continue to be in the forefront of efforts to assist students to respond to these complex challenges through their work within the structure of comprehensive guidance and counseling, concept that institutions, especially schools, should promote the efficient and happy lives of individuals by helping them adjust to social realities fo programs in schools and districts across the country.

To understand how school counselors are working with students within comprehensive, guidance and counseling programmes; it is important to first understand how guidance and counseling evolved in schools. A lot can be learnt from the past that will help professional school counselors' structure and implement guidance and counseling programmes to assist students to deal with the complex challenges they face today and tomorrow.

CHALLENGES OF GIVING DIRECTION IN SOCIETIES AND INSTITUTIONS

(Miller, 1961, p.3) says on the purpose of guidance and counseling that "Guidance is a coat of many colours". In the beginning, the early 1900's the term for school guidance and counseling was vocational guidance. It had a singular construction. In law, singular frequently includes the plural. It was seen as a response to the economic, educational and social problems of those times and concerned the entrance of young people into the work world and the conditions they might find there. Economic concerns focused on the need to better prepare workers for the work place while educational concerns arose from a need to increase efforts in schools to help students find purpose for their education as well as their employment. Social concerns emphasized the need for changing school methods and organization as well as exerting more control over conditions of labour in child-employment industries.

LIFELONG LEARNING NEEDS LIFELONG GUIDANCE

Within this context of the major social and economic trends is the rise of knowledge-based society which brings the need along to create education and training within a lifelong learning system to offer every citizen learning facilities to adapt the latest knowledge and skills.

Further UNESCO recommends in this concern a human-centered lifelong learning society, "which holds a culture of peace and environmentally sound sustainable development as its central feature" (Tang, 2001). The foundation of such a new human oriented society is the requirement of values, attitudes policies and practices which will encompass inclusiveness and wider access to all levels of education and at the same time a shift to human and career development needs which enable people for an equal participation in education and the world of work. UNESCO argued that this can only be achieved through a policy of providing skills for all with no exclusions and making education and training an accessible basic human right precondition is to achieve the UNESCO's main goal to achieve "education for all by 2015". Such a new holistic approach for education combines the preparation for life and the world of work and includes all domains of learning incorporating general and vocational education as a continuum of knowledge, values, competences and skills. Under this view guidance and counseling become a crucial role to enable people for the new learning needs and empower them to balance life, learning and work.

THE CHALLENGE OF CAREER GUIDANCE

In the recently updated Revised Recommendation Concerning Technical and Vocational Education (2001) UNESCO stated clearly that "career guidance should be viewed as a continuous process…" and its role should be extended to "preparing students and adults for the real possibility of frequent career change which could include periods of unemployment and employment in the informal sector" (UNESCO AND ILO, 2003). To manage and to adapt to the ongoing changes will also be a major goal of guidance. In this sense UNESCO also sees guidance as a lifelong process to accompany the lifelong learning journey with many pathways, thresholds, barriers and chances. For ILO too, education, and training are a "right for all" which should be universally accessible… In addition to education and training career guidance and job placement services (career development service) embracing career education, career counseling, employment counseling and education, vocational and labour market information, all have a crucial role to play in human resources development.

Thus a "career development culture" among the youth and adults has to be developed and will be of particular importance for ensuring their employability and facilitating their transition form education and training to work or further training (UNESCO/ILO, 2003).

International Association for Counseling (IAC) supported UNESCO by a contract in compiling a book on Technical and Vocational education and training in the twenty first century: New Roles and Challenges for Guidance and Counseling (UNESCO/IAEV/IAC, 2002) where several international experts focus on the crucial role to enhance the development of technical and vocational education and training.

CHALLENGE OF NEW UNDERSTANDING OF CAREER DEVELOPMENT

Under consideration of the ongoing changes in work, employment, technologies and social life and the visions of the international organizations for the future development of a learning society career and career development have to be re-conceptualized. The new mode of employment generates a new understanding of career on the objective side. Stable, waged employment with clear-cut job descriptions is being replaced by some flexible forms which do not guarantee long-term job security and influence the whole system of social security. As modern careers are more fragmented so called patch-work biographies become more and more common and need appropriate assistance through guidance and counseling career transitions. Under the subjective understanding of career it has been questioned, how individuals make sense of their careers and their personal histories and skills, attitudes and beliefs they have acquired (Arnold and Jackson, 1997). Another view suggests not only acquiring career skills but also building up a career identity (Meijers, 1998).

This is similar to the constructivist or socio-dynamic approach (Peary, 2000) which emphasizes that individuals are building up their own personality within their social framework under consideration of wholeness, capacity, identity, self creation and transformation with reference to work, employment or its absence, the question is "How shall I live?" and "How does my job or my work, or its absence, fit into and influence my life plan or career?" Career has to be seen as a connected relation of life and work and career planning which turns more into life management. Career development has to be combined with overall life planning. And guidance and counseling has to support the development of life planning skills which equip people to cope with the permanent changing social and individual life situations. Choosing a career or work has to implement the self-concept and to bestow a meaningful social identity to the person if it enables an individual to perform productively for the community and thereby become self-supporting, successful, satisfied, stable and healthy in his own personal life (Savickas, 2000).

CHALLENGE OF THE PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE OF PRACTITIONERS

To ensure quality of guidance delivery and services as well as an adequate behavior towards clients Ibero American Conference achieved the adoption of a code of ethics for counselors and for guidance services. Many member associations have directly endorsed international standards to their national associations or have them adapted under special consideration of their cultures and regional social conditions. The internationally approved and recognized ethical standard describe the ethical responsibilities of the counselors to their clients, attitudes to colleagues and professional associates, the attitudes to the government and other community agencies the responsibilities to research and relate processes and finally the responsibilities as an individual practitioner.

THE CHALLENGE OF COUNSELOR RESOURCES CENTRE (CRC)

Besides the ethical behaviour, counselors' professionalism is marked by a permanent updating of their professional knowledge and a reflection of his own daily work through exchange of practical experiences with other practitioners and organization working in the area of educational, vocational and career guidance and counseling. Ibero American Conference and Human Resource Development Canada (HRDC) has set up an internet based International Counselor Resource Centre (CRC) in five languages; English, French, Spanish, German and Finish which serves the increasing needs of counselor self-care and is organized around the types of questions and problems professionals typically ask and support individual counselors in both their practical work and their professional development.

The aim of International Counselor Resource Centre (CRC) is to support career counselors' world wide in getting established in their own profession in helping them to serve clients in special situations and addressing special needs of special types of clients, in helping each other group through a professional discussion offer and in providing counselors with future perspectives.

THE CHALLENGE OF COMPETENCIES AND QUALIFICATION OF GUIDANCE PRACTITIONERS

One of the main criteria of quality guidance is the identification, recognition and assurance of competencies. It is necessary that those who deliver the service to the clients really have the competencies they need to deliver quality educational and vocational guidance.

There are "international competencies for educational and vocational guidance practitioners" that focus on the skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to provide quality services. They are divided into two major sections core competencies that all practitioners need regardless their work setting and ten areas of specialized competencies depending on the type of job setting and clients groups.

Core competencies are:

Ethical behaviour and professional conduct

Advocacy and leadership in advancing clients learning and personal concerns.

Awareness and appreciation of client cultural differences

Awareness and appreciation of client cultural differences

Ability to apply theory and research to practice.

Designing, implementing and evaluating guidance programmes

Awareness of one's professional limitations.

Ability to communicate effectively with colleagues and clients

Knowledge of updated information.

Social and cross-cultural sensitiveness.

Co-operate effectively in a team of professionals.

Knowledge of lifelong career developement process.

In addition to the core competencies for all practitioners there are ten specialized competencies; only be acquired by some practitioners, depending on the nature of their work. They are:

Assessment, educational guidance, career development, counseling, information management, consultation and co-ordination, research and evaluation, programme and service management, community capacity building and placement. Every area has a specific set of various competencies.

CHALLENGE OF PROFESSIONAL PERSONNEL

A teacher who visits and instructs sick or disabled children in a public school system, school nurses, school physicians and vocational counselors made guidance and counseling one of the services available in schools. This organizational structure continued to flourish in the 1940's and 1950's. By the 1960's it had become the dominant organizing structure for guidance and counseling in the schools. Only by the 1960's had it become pupil personnel services. According to the council of chief state school officers which is a national non-profit organization in the United States which represents public officials that head elementary and secondary education departments (1960), pupil personnel services included guidance, health, psychological services, school social work and attendance.

With the passage of the National Defense Education Act of 1958, funds were available to prepare large numbers of individuals to become school counselors. The dominant way of organizing guidance and counseling in schools was to make it a part of pupil personnel services. Many state departments of guidance and the positions of school counselors administratively under the pupil personnel services umbrella. In addition, text books written in the 1960's on the organizational and administration of guidance adopted the pupil personnel services model as the way to organize guidance in the schools.

The pupil personnel services model fits nicely with the clinical model of guidance and its position orientation that had been evolving since 1920's. As a result, guidance became a sub-set, a group of commands or functions that do not include all the capabilities of the original specification. Software or hardware components designed for the sub-set will also work with the original. The services to be delivered by school counselors who occupied positions within the broader framework of pupil personnel services. The number of these guidance services varied depending up the authority quoted, but usually there were six, including orientation, individual inventory or appraisal, counseling, information, placement and follow-up.

THE CHALLENGES OF TEACHER EDUCATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY; THE KENYAN EXPERIENCE

Education in any form, traditional or modern shapes the destiny of society. Today, education is considered the critical software for development. But of it to play this role effectively, there must be a cadre of competent teacher counselors. The education programme that prepares and supplies such a crop of teachers to educational institutions is called teacher education.

Education and by extension teacher education, is a dynamic process. It is usually influenced by changes in society which tend to create new demands on it. These demands, more often than not, manifest themselves as emerging issues, problems or new perspectives in education. This paper is therefore set out to discuss the challenges implications and the way forward for teacher education programme in this millennium in Kenya.

THE CHALLENGE OF STRENGTHENING GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING SERVICES IN KENYAN PRIMARY SCHOOLS

Kenya is among the countries in the world that have experienced rapid changes in education in the 1990's. These changes have at times had overwhelming negative effects on both the individual and the society he lives in. In the primary educational institutions, these changes have been manifested in varied forms. The problems encountered by the children and the youth in Kenyan primary schools are vast and varied. The children need to be provided with a tool to enable them to make responsible decisions in life. This paper therefore examines the need and role of guidance and counseling in the Kenyan primary schools and makes recommendations on how guidance and counseling can be strengthened in Kenyan primary schools.

THE CHALLENGE OF MORALITY AND EDUCATION

This discussion addresses the crossroads at which moral education is found. The home and church, due to the ever-changing set-ups in society, seem to have delegated most of its responsibility of child care to the school. The question therefore is whether the teachers are able and willing to take up more concerns on social welfare other than mere classroom instruction.

A growing number of educators around the globe have been working on the ways of introducing value based education in response to the increase in violence, suicide, form of drug addition, abortion, corruption and child abuse. There is now an increasing recognition that there is a missing link in the education system. This is mainly the lack of focus on the effective domain, skill, development and the little concern given to the latent curriculum. Using a primary school management model by Paisey (1987), the paper presents a discussion on how aspects such as physical assets, managerial skills, values and objectives can favourably be accustomed to promote personal social and moral education.

THE CHALLENGE OF POTENTIAL IMPACT OF THE CHILDREN ACT (2001) AND THE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (2003) ON EDUCATION OF LEARNERS WITH DISABILITIES IN KENYA

Special education in Kenya was established by religious and charitable organizations in the mid-1940. Starting as a modest outfit, the sector continues to expand. For instance, in 1968, there were 1,373 children enrolled in 26 special schools and units (Ndurumo, 1993). The number rose to 14,600 children and 479 programs in 1998 (Koech report, 1999). While the government's support of special education is evident through the training of teachers at Kenya Institute of Special Education, developing curriculum at the Kenya Institute of Education and in the management and supervision of the sector at the Ministry of Education Headquarters, legal instruments addressing education of learners with special needs have been absent. The breakthrough, however, came with the enactment of the children Act in 2001 and the persons with disabilities Act in 2003.

CHALLENGES FACING THE FINANCING OF EDUCATION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES e.g. KENYA

Education is both a private and social investment that is shared by individual students, their families, employees, government and other groups including international agencies. The sharing arrangements vary considerably from region to region both in proportions of public ad private funds allocated for education and in the mechanism by which the costs of education are financed. This discussion is therefore aimed at examining and analyzing challenges in financing education, in particular it evaluates the financing of free primary education and the bursary scheme fund employed by the government in secondary schools. The paper also brings forward the deferred student loan programme as a method of financing higher institutions. However, there is feeling among parents, leaders, students and other stakeholders that the current loan scheme tends to benefit the rich more than the poor. Beyond its economic significance, education is viewed widely as a good in itself and indeed a basic human right. For this reason too, efficiency in financing education is often a focus of public debate.

CHALLENGES FACING WOMEN IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS

We try to examine the effectiveness of tertiary institutions in training and empowering women, with compliancy technological advancement, so that they may fully participate in the development process at both the private and public sector. We also scrutinize other impediments within and without these institution that impact negatively on women's successful attainment and completion of desired training programmes in their career pursuit.

The paper presents the findings of enrolment and examining the gender disparities, course relevance and marketability of the graduates. The study found that the enrolment gender disparities in specific courses, loop-sided cultural beliefs and a discriminatory employment market have severely reduced women productivity and capacity to promote development hence need for counseling.

CONCLUSION

Generally we have discussed the issues of the actual challenges in all societies regardless of their departmental level and how the international guidance community is coping with these challenges. The discussion has dealt with the importance of guidance and counseling in a changing society, quality assurance, access to service and qualification of guidance and counseling.

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