What's the historical development of guidance and counselling in Nigeria? African nations are in a hurry to educate citizens in order to modernize and enhance their social, economic and political development. The concept of guidance and counseling, although relatively new in Africa has been embraced by most developing nations with enormous enthusiasm. This is because counseling is being regarded by most nations as an educational service through which efficient manpower for development can be attained.
Counseling practice, however, does run into frequent clashes with African traditions and development goals typical of developing countries. In order to become fully acceptable at this initial stage, the guidance and counseling profession in Africa must tolerate some compromises and modifications from its original philosophy in the Western sense. Several events led to the institutionalization of guidance and counselling in Nigerian school system.
Most prominent was the efforts of a group of Catholic nuns at the St. Theresa's College, Oke-Ado, Ibadan. The Catholic nuns developed a career workshop for all the school's graduating students during the 1959 academic session, especially in the area of subject selection and job search. A major outcome of the workshop was the distribution of the much needed career information that enabled 54 out of the 60 graduating students to gain full employment upon their graduation.
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The workshop on guidance and counselling held at the comprehensive high school, Aiyetoro in 1963 where Mr. R. O. Rees delivered a paper titled "The role of the guidance counsellor in a comprehensive high school" was also instrumental to the emergence of guidance and counselling in Nigeria. So, was the book written by Mr. C. I. Berepiki entitled, An approach to guidance in schools. This book inspired the Federal Government of Nigeria to develop a workshop on guidance and counselling in schools.
Through these efforts, the Federal government was able to appreciate the role guidance and counselling needed to play in the nation's overall development that later motivated the Federal Ministry of Education to appoint Mr. C. I. Berepiki to take full charge of the coordination of school guidance and counselling services in Nigeria's school system. Another force that led to the emergence of professional counselling in Nigeria has to do with the events that cropped up after the Nigerian civil war. At the end of the civil war, there arose the dire need to rehabilitate the war victims.
The post-war social, political, economic, religious and educational problems, which students, workers and the general public had to face, became enormous such that the less trained career masters/mistresses could not cope. This necessitated a very high demand for guidance counsellors who were expected to provide veritable counselling interventions in the rehabilitation of the war victims. One approach then was for the Federal Government of Nigeria to grant scholarship to most candidates who desired to pursue masters' degree in guidance and counselling in any Nigerian universities.
The introduction of the new National Policy of Education in Nigeria (commonly referred to as the 6-3-3-4 system of Education) for the whole country in 1977, with major revision in 1981, which had among its features, the introduction of a new educational focus for the primary and secondary levels of education also influenced the emergence of guidance and counselling in Nigeria. This policy was a major break away from the existing educational policy that was bequeathed to the nation by the British colonial masters at independence.
Under the previous arrangement, secondary school students were expected to spend five years in the secondary school. In addition, the curriculum tended to emphasize much of liberal type of education. But the new policy extended the number of years in secondary school from five years to six years. It further divided secondary education into two levels: junior secondary school (where the student was expected to spend three years) and the senior secondary school level (where the student was expected to spend the remaining three years).
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