DOI: http:/dx.doi.org/10.14303/er.2013.205

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Educational Research (ISSN: 2141-5161) Vol. 4(9) pp. 674-681, September, 2013
DOI: http:/dx.doi.org/10.14303/er.2013.205
Available [email protected] http://www.interesjournals.org/ER
Copyright © 2013 International Research Journals
Full Length Research Paper
An evaluation of the information and consultation
services in the colleges of education in the Volta region
of Ghana
*1
John Sedofia and 2Frederick Ocansey
*1St. Francis’ College of Education, Hohoe, Ghana.
Counselling Centre, University of Cape Coast, Ghana.
2
*Corresponding Authors E-mail: [email protected]
ABSTRACT
The study was conducted to evaluate the information and consultation services in the Colleges of
Education in the Volta Region of Ghana. The research design used for the study was the survey
approach. A sample size of 400 made up of 317 students, 80 tutors and three counsellors was
randomly chosen from three colleges of education in the Volta Region through stratified and
purposive sampling. Data was collected with questionnaire and analysed using frequencies and
percentages. Results showed that the information and consultation services were not adequately
provided in the colleges. It was also revealed that the counsellors were not trained professionally.
Among the recommendations made were that counsellors should intensify guidance activities in the
colleges so as to make guidance services more attractive and accessible to students. In addition,
trained counsellors should be posted to the colleges.
Keywords: Guidance and counselling, evaluation, information service, consultation service.
INTRODUCTION
The complex nature of today’s world brought about by
scientific and technological advancements has rendered
decision-making an ever difficult task for young people
(Ocansey, Forde, Awabil and Otopa, 2005). Decisionmaking becomes difficult when the information that is
required to make the right decisions is lacking. The
information service is therefore one of the services of the
school guidance programme that is very important to the
student.
Ekwe (1991) wrote that the information service of the
school guidance programme aims at making data on
educational opportunities, personal and career issues
available to students to enable them to make choices and
decisions that are authentic, reliable and responsible.
Ekwe added that for the information service to be
effective, information provided for students must not only
be meaningful and relevant. It must as well be accurate,
complete, timeless, and must contain facts that were
hitherto unknown to students or unverified by them. To
Schmidt (1999), providing information on a course of
study, financial aid, and community resources are some
ways in which counsellors can plan and implement the
information service. Numale (2003) wrote that the
information service generates, codes, stores, retrieves
and disseminates information from the environment to
people. According to Ekwe (1991), the information
service should help to provide students with accurate and
reliable information on career, educational, and socialpersonal aspects of their lives.
Information is vital for human growth and
development, especially in the present age and time. If
students can be helped by counsellors to develop to their
full potential and take advantage of the opportunities in
and around their environment, accurate and timely
information can never be left out. Such information may
be on educational, vocational or personal/social issues
that concern students.
Consultation is also one of the important services of
the school guidance programme, even though its
application to counselling as a mental health activity in
schools has been less widely recognised and defined
(Gibson and Mitchell, 1990). Consultation is “a process for
Sedofia and Ocansey 675
helping a client through a third party or a process for
helping a system improve its services to its clientele”
(Gibson and Mitchell, 1990, p. 35). In consultation, the
counsellor meets individuals like teachers, school
administrators, parents, and curriculum experts with the
aim of assisting him/her to overcome certain difficulties
he/she may have while performing his or her duties as a
counsellor (Shertzer and Stone, 1980).
Schmidt (1999) explained that in consulting
relationships, one person (usually the counsellor) serves
as the consultant who leads the process, while the other
person or persons (usually teachers, students, and
parents) serve as the consultee(s). Schmidt affirmed that
the focus of consultation is a specific need or situation for
which information, instruction, or facilitation is requested
by a student, parent, or teacher. Myrick (1987) observed
that one reason for consulting in respect of students is to
discuss various options for helping the child and make a
recommendation for helping him find better ways of
learning and behaving. To Pecku (1991) consultation
helps to create a good atmosphere for children so
that they can learn. In consultation, counsellors are
enabled to plan better ways of helping students. In a
similar vein, consultation helps curriculum planners
to develop curricula that are tailored towards the needs
of students (Pecku, 1991; Oladele, 2000). According to
Faust (1968b), consultation can take place with students,
parents, teachers,
student
services specialists,
school
administrators
and
community
agency
professionals.
Thus the school counsellor needs to constantly
consult and be consulted in the discharge of
his/her duties. The goals here are to: provide requested
information, provide solution to a given problem,
conduct diagnosis that may redefine a problem, provide
recommendations,
assist
implementation,
build
consensus and commitments, facilitate client learning,
and
improve organisational
effectiveness (Turner,
1982).
In contemporary Ghana, guidance and counselling
services are provided not only in the educational
institutions (from the basic through to the tertiary level)
but also in the community (in the churches, Muslim
community, health institutions, and in both government
and non-government organisations) (Essuman, 2007).
Currently at the tertiary level for example, academic
programmes are run in Guidance and Counselling at the
University of Cape Coast, University of Ghana, University
of Education, Winneba, and the Colleges of Education
(Essuman, 2007). Among other things, the school
guidance programme is aimed at providing counselling,
appraisal,
orientation,
consultation,
placement,
information and follow-up services to students (GES as
cited in Amenyedzi, 1997).
Unfortunately however, the available literature on
guidance and counselling in schools in Ghana appear
to paint a gloomy picture about the information and
consultation services. The
Ghana
Education
Service (GES) observed that “the current Guidance and
Counselling programmes in schools and colleges in
Ghana leave much to be desired. In most schools, there
are no systematic Guidance and counselling services”
(GES, 2003, p.3).
Empirical research findings actually corroborate the
GES’s observations. Ndego (2010) studied the
effectiveness of guidance and counselling in selected
Senior High Schools in the Tano North District of Brong
Ahafo. The study revealed that most of the schools
studied did not, as of that time, run guidance services for
students. In a study to evaluate how counselling services
could be used as an intervention for indiscipline in
schools in the Ho Municipality, Fia (2008) found among
other things, that none of the schools studied had a
counselling centre that was well equipped for effective
counselling and that most of the schools lacked trained or
professional counsellors. In a similar study, Braimah
(2010) assessed guidance and counselling services in
Senior High Schools in the Tamale Metropolis and found
that the information, appraisal, placement, evaluation,
consultation and referral services were inadequately
provided.
Research findings on guidance and counselling
services at the Colleges of Education level appear to be
scanty as of now, maybe due to the fact that guidance
itself is relatively new in Ghana (Ackom, 1992). Indeed
Rønning (1997) discovered that the guidance and student
advisory functions in colleges and/or universities were
less committed and more randomly operative than in high
schools.
Mensah (2007) studied the place of guidance and
counselling in Colleges of Education in the Eastern
Region of Ghana and found that most College of
Education students did not benefit from the guidance and
counselling programmes, and that some Colleges of
Education had no laid down systems and structures that
promoted guidance and counselling. Meanwhile,
evidence that guidance services do produce benefits will
increasingly be demanded, but only through research and
evaluation can such evidence be secured (Shertzer and
Stone, 1980). Thus, evaluation of the school guidance
programme is vital for programme improvement and
development. It is through evaluation that data gathered
through other services such as testing and inventory are
investigated, studied and utilised for the purpose of
improving the guidance programme. The main purpose of
this study was therefore to evaluate the information and
consultation services of the guidance programme in the
Colleges of Education in the Volta Region of Ghana. The
following research questions were formulated to direct
the study:
1. To what extent is the information service being
provided in the Colleges of Education?
676 Educ. Res.
2. To what extent is the consultation service being
provided in the Colleges of Education?
METHOD
Design
The research design used for this study was the survey
approach. Survey research involves acquiring information
about one or more groups of people—perhaps about their
characteristics,
opinions,
attitudes,
or
previous
experiences—by asking them questions and tabulating
their answers (Leedy and Ormrod, 2005). Survey
research has the advantage of making available
information on aspects of behaviour that are difficult to
observe directly. It also makes it relatively easy to collect
data on attitudes and opinions from large samples of
subjects (Weiten, 2001). Again, survey research is
conducted in its natural settings, and it is flexible and
adaptable especially at the initial stages of the
investigation. Surveys can also generalize many people
by studying a few of them.
triangulation. According to O’Donoghue and Punch
(2003), triangulation is a method of cross-checking data
from multiple sources to search for regularities in the
research data. Triangulation corroborates evidence from
different sources or individuals since the information is
not drawn from one single source, individual or process
of data collection (Creswell, 2002).
The questionnaire was divided into seven sections;
A-G for each category of respondents. Section A
consisted of four items that sought personal information
from respondents while sections B to G solicited the
views of respondents on guidance programme including
the information and consultation services. There were a
total of 48 questions on both the students’ and
counsellors’ questionnaire while that of tutors consisted
of 47 items.
Content-related evidence of validity was used to
ensure validity of the instrument. The content of the
instrument was discussed with three experts in the field
of guidance and counselling for scrutiny, review and
judgement of its appropriateness. Reliability of the
instrument was .92 for the student questionnaire and .97
for the tutor questionnaire and this was estimated using
the Cronbach Coefficient Alpha.
Population
Procedure for data collection
The population for the study was 1,881 made up of 3
counsellors, 102 tutors, and 1,776 students in the St.
Francis’ College of Education (FRANCO), Hohoe; E.P.
College of Education (AMECO), Amedzofe; and Peki
College of Education (GOVCO).
Sample and Sampling Procedure
Two sampling techniques namely; stratified sampling and
purposive sampling were used to select a total sample of
400 respondents for the study. Stratified sampling
technique was employed to select 317 students out of the
total student population of 1,776, and 80 tutors out of the
total tutor population of 102. These samples were
selected based on Krejcie and Morgan’s table of Sample
Sizes (S) Required for Given Population Sizes (N) (as
cited in Sarantakos, 2005). Purposive sampling technique
was used to select the three counsellors.
Instruments
Questionnaire was the main instrument used to collect
data. The “Ohio Department of Education Evaluation
Criteria for Secondary School Guidance Programme”
which was modified and used by Keteku (1989) and
Amenyedzi (1997), and Starr and Gysbers’ (1997)
“Sample Guidance Programme Evaluation Surveys” were
adapted and used for the present study. There were
three sets of questionnaire; one set for the guidance
coordinators, another for the tutors and the other for
the students. The three sets were used for purposes of
The researchers visited the colleges and personally
administered the questionnaire. The questionnaires for
students were hand-delivered by the researchers. The
selected students were assembled in a lecture hall. After
giving them the questionnaire and explaining the purpose
of the study to them, they were asked to fill them. The
tutors and counsellors also filled their questionnaire and
returned them the same day. In the end the students
filled and returned 311 (representing 98%) usable
questionnaires. The return rate for the tutors’
questionnaire was 93% while that of the counsellors was
100%.
Data Analysis
Data were summarised using descriptive statistics from the
Statistical Package for Service Solution (SPSS). Frequency
and percentage tables were used to organise the data from
the questionnaire. The means of the percentages of the
responses were computed and used to determine the extent
to which the information and consultation services were
being provided.
To be able to determine the extent to which the
information and consultation services were being provided in
the colleges, the mean scores of the percentage of
responses for “Yes”, “No” and “Unsure” were computed. The
following scale was used to interpret the responses that
were “Yes”: a range of 70% - 100% mean indicated that the
service was being provided to a large extent, 40% - 69.9%
mean suggested that the service was being provided to
some extent and 39.9% and below showed that the service
was being provided to a lesser extent.
Sedofia and Ocansey 677
Table 1. Students’ Views on the Information Service
Item
The counsellor makes information on
educational
opportunities
available
to
students.
The counsellor gives students information on
institutions of higher learning.
The counsellor gives students information on
other job opportunities opened to teachers.
The counsellor gives information to students
on entry requirements into occupations.
The counsellor invites professionals to talk to
students on different occupations.
The counsellor gives students information on
healthy boy/girlfriend relationships.
The counsellor gives students information on
healthy family relationships.
Mean (in percentages)
Responses in Percentages
Yes
No
Unsure
25.1
69.5
5.5
28.0
64.3
7.7
26.4
66.2
7.4
18.6
75.9
5.5
10.3
83.3
6.4
32.2
62.1
5.8
25.4
68.2
6.4
23.7
69.9
6.4
Table 2. Tutors’ Views on the Information Service
Item
The counsellor makes information on
educational
opportunities
available
to
students.
The counsellor gives students information on
institutions of higher learning.
The counsellor gives students information on
job opportunities opened to teachers.
The counsellor gives information to students
on entry requirements into occupations.
The counsellor invites professionals to talk to
students on different occupations.
The counsellor gives students information on
healthy boy/girlfriend relationships.
The counsellor gives students information on
healthy family relationships.
Mean (in percentages)
RESULTS
Research question one
How well is the information service being provided in the
colleges? Table 1 gives the opinion of students on the
information service.
In Table 1, the mean score of the responses for “Yes”
was 23.7% while the mean score of the responses for
“No” was 69.9%.
Responses in Percentages
Yes
No
Unsure
48.6
17.6
33.8
48.6
16.2
35.1
50.0
17.6
32.4
36.5
23.0
40.5
16.2
54.1
29.7
41.9
21.6
36.5
33.8
24.3
41.9
39.4
24.9
35.7
Table 2 shows how tutors saw the information
service.
Table 2 displays the responses of tutors on the
information service. The data gathered from the tutors
show that the mean score of the responses for “Yes” was
39.4% while the mean score of the responses for “No”
was 24.9%.
Table 3 displays the counsellors’ opinion on the
information service.
678 Educ. Res.
Table 3. Counsellors’ Views on the Information Service
Item
The counsellor makes information on
educational
opportunities
available
to
students.
The counsellor gives students information on
institutions of higher learning.
The counsellor gives students information on
job opportunities opened to teachers.
The counsellor gives information to students
on entry requirements into occupations.
The counsellor invites professionals to talk to
students on different occupations.
The counsellor gives students information on
healthy boy/girlfriend relationships.
The counsellor gives students information on
healthy family relationships.
Mean (in percentages)
Responses in Percentages
Yes
No
Unsure
100
-
100
-
-
100
-
-
100
-
-
66.7
33.3
-
100
-
-
100
-
-
95.2
4.8
0
Table 4. Students’ Views on the Consultation Service
Item
The counsellor meets students’ parents to
discuss issues of concern to students.
The counsellor coordinates conferences
between students’ parents and college staff.
The counsellor meets college administration
to discuss how to improve guidance
programme.
The counsellor meets college tutors to discuss
issues of concern to students.
Parents meet the counsellor to discuss
students’ welfare.
Class advisors meet counsellor to discuss
students’ welfare.
Students meet guidance committee to discuss
issues of concern to them.
Mean (in percentages)
The data in Table 3 represents the views of
counsellors on the information service. The data from the
counsellors show that the mean score of the responses
for “Yes” was 95.2%.
Research question two
To what extent is the consultation service being provided
in the colleges of education? Table 4 shows how
students saw the consultation service.
The results in Table 4 indicate that the mean score of
the responses that were “Yes” was 8.1% while that of
“No” was 63.4.
Responses in Percentages
Yes
No
Unsure
0.3
98.1
1.6
0.6
92.0
7.4
14.1
26.7
59.2
19.3
17.0
1.9
86.8
11.3
10.3
37.6
52.1
10.0
8.1
85.5
63.4
63.7
4.5
28.5
Table 5 catalogues the views of tutors on the
consultation service.
The data in Table 5 shows that the mean score of
the responses that were “Yes” was 27.8%, an
indication that the consultation was provided to a lesser
extent. The majority of the tutors (Mean= 39.4%) however
said that they were unsure if consultation took place.
Table 6 represents the counsellors’ perspective on
the consultation service.
Table 6 shows that most of the counsellors
(Mean=85.7%) answered “Yes” to the questionnaire
items. None of them reported that they were unsure.
Sedofia and Ocansey 679
Table 5. Views of Tutors on the Consultation Service
Item
The counsellor meets students’ parents to
discuss issues of concern to students.
The counsellor coordinates conferences
between students’ parents and college staff.
The counsellor meets college administration
to discuss how to improve guidance
programme.
The counsellor meets college tutors to discuss
issues of concern to students.
Parents meet the counsellor to discuss
students’ welfare.
Class advisors meet counsellor to discuss
students’ welfare.
Students meet guidance committee to discuss
issues of concern to them.
Mean (in percentages)
Responses in Percentages
Yes
No
Unsure
31.1
32.4
36.5
14.9
44.6
40.5
43.2
23.0
33.8
33.8
36.5
29.7
16.2
41.9
41.9
27.0
31.1
41.9
28.4
20.3
51.4
27.8
32.8
39.4
Table 6. Views of Counsellors on the Consultation Service
Item
The counsellor meets students’ parents to
discuss issues of concern to students.
The counsellor coordinates conferences
between students’ parents and college staff.
The counsellor meets college administration
to discuss how to improve guidance
programme.
The counsellor meets college tutors to discuss
issues of concern to students.
Parents meet the counsellor to discuss
students’ welfare.
Class advisors meet counsellor to discuss
students’ welfare.
Students meet guidance committee to discuss
issues of concern to them.
Mean (in percentages)
DISCUSSION
The Information Service
In the present study, it was found that the information
service was provided to a lesser extent in the Colleges
surveyed. For instance, only 32.2% of the students said
that
information
on
healthy
boyfriend/girlfriend
relationships was provided. Similarly, just 28% of the
students said that the students were given information on
institutions of higher learning. On whether or not
counsellors
invited
professionals
from
different
Responses in Percentages
Yes
No
Unsure
66.7
33.3
100
-
-
100
-
-
66.7
100
33.3
-
-
66.7
33.3
-
100
-
-
85.7
14.3
0
backgrounds to talk to students on different occupations,
only 10.3% of the students answered “Yes”. Table one
therefore shows that the information service was
provided to a lesser extent. The data in Table 2 shows
that like the students, the tutors believed that the
information service was provided only to a lesser extent.
That is, it was not adequately provided. This means that
the accurate and reliable information that students
require on career, educational, and social-personal
aspects of their lives that Ekwe (1991) espoused was not
disseminated to students.
These findings corroborate those of Boafo (2010) and
680 Educ. Res.
Braimah (2010) which concluded that the information
service in general was among the guidance services that
were inadequately provided. It further gives credence to
the conclusion by Amenyedzi (1997) that the information
service needed considerable improvement. The reports
by the students and the tutors, however, fail to confirm
what was found by Yuksel-Sahin (2009) that the
information service was among the top three guidance
services that were provided and utilised.
Even though the students and tutors believed that
even if information was disseminated it was not very
effectively done, the counsellors said overwhelmingly
(Table 3) that they did their work in the information
service excellently. Thus the counsellors’ claim
corroborates Yuksel-Sahin’s (2009) conclusion but fails to
support that of Boafo (2010) and Braimah (2010).
It can be argued that information dissemination
activities unlike counselling are usually not done in
confidence. It should therefore be possible for tutors to
see this being done by the counsellors. But the report by
the tutors shows that it was not being done well. This
therefore leads to the conclusion that maybe the
counsellors did not want to be seen to be ineffective in
carrying out their information service duties.
It is doubtless that, the complex nature of today’s
world has rendered decision-making an ever difficult task
(Ocansey et al., 2005), but with the right information,
decision making can be a much easier task. This fact
makes it imperative for counsellors to make the
information service even more vibrant in schools. This
way, vital, usable and sometimes difficult-to-get
information would be made available to students.
The Consultation Service
The data in Tables 4 and 5 show that in the eyes of the
students and tutors, consultation as a guidance service
was provided to a lesser extent. That is, the consultation
service did not go on very well in the colleges. One
striking revelation about the consultation service is that
as high as 98.1% of the students reported that their
counsellors did not consult parents to discuss any issue
of concern to them (students). This finding was supported
by 32.4% of the tutors and 33.3% of the counsellors.
Also, 36.5% of the tutors reported that the counsellor
never met college tutors to discuss issues of concern to
students, albeit a majority of the counsellors reported that
they carried out their consultation duties. Thus generally,
the consultation service of the guidance programme can
be said to be ineffective in the colleges surveyed.
The results of this study therefore agree with the
findings made by Anyimah (1983), Essuman (2007),
Braimah (2010), and Ndego (2010). These studies found
that the consultation service was not functioning well in
the schools studied.
Consultation is tripartite in nature and parents form
an important part of it (Gibson and Mitchell, 1990;
Schmidt, 1999). It is therefore important that the consultation service is strengthened. Gibson and Mitchell (1995)
argued that consultation provides students with an
opportunity to think through problems and concerns,
acquire more knowledge and skill, and become more
objective and self-confident. The low level of provision of
consultation in the Colleges of Education therefore
implies that teacher trainees would most likely miss out
on this very important function of consultation suggested
by Gibson and Mitchell.
CONCLUSION
Based on the findings of the study and the discussion
that followed, it can be concluded that:
1. Both the information and consultation services were
provided to a lesser extent in the colleges surveyed.
What this means is that the two services were not
very well rendered to the benefit of students.
2. The personnel who work as counsellors in the
colleges surveyed are not professionally trained and
qualified.
Implications for Guidance and Counselling
1. Since the study found that both the information and
consultation services were not rendered very well in the
colleges, it is recommended that counsellors should
publicise the guidance programme very well so that
students would constantly be reminded that such
services exist in the colleges. In addition, counsellors
should explore and employ all strategies including the
skill of persuasive invitation to get students to access all
guidance services.
2. Based on the finding that the guidance personnel in
the colleges were not professionally trained, urgent steps
should be taken by the Ministry of Education to ensure
that trained and qualified counsellors are posted to the
colleges within the shortest possible time. College
managements, on their part, should ensure that qualified
counsellors are engaged.
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