THE HISTORY OF GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING IN GHANA

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1 Ife Psychologia THE HISTORY OF GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING IN GHANA J.K. Essuman Counselling Center University of Cape Coast Ghana ABSTRACT This paper examines how formal Guidance and Counselling originated in Ghana and became established ir. the Ghana Educational System, especially in the second and third cycle Institutions, It makes mention of those individuals who pioneered the proftssion's establishment both its service and academic prgrammes and the institutions which opened their doors for them to work The paper also loo'" at some organizations in Ghana which have adopted counselnng in their work. Finally, it comments on why some attempts of the pioneers failed. and concludes by pointing out what remains to be done, 22

2 Essuman, J,K,; The History a/guidance and Counselling in Ghana Introduction This paper is an attempt to document and publish the origin or history of Guidance and Counselling as a profession in Ghana, Sources available are unpublished reports, articles, or student theses, However, the profession is taking root in Ghana, The author believes it is time for such documentation and publishing, How the profession began in America has been published by a number of writers (eg Shertzer and Stone, 1976), The same has been done in Nigeria (Makinde, 1983; Oladele, 1986). To do the documentation successfully, the topic is broken dovvn as described below, a, Voluntary Services Era of Guidance b, Pioneers in the Establishment of Guidance in Ghana c. Formalized Guidance in Second Cycle Institutions of Education d. Counselling in the Tertiary Institutions of Education e. Counselling Services by Other Organizations f Comments and Conclusion Voluntary Services Era of Guidance Before any attempts were made to establish formalized Guidance in Ghana (that is before the 1960s), there existed forms of guiding people through voluntary and nonformalized means. This took place in the form of pastoral care by significant persons in the school, church, home, and community, According to Dankwa (1981), guidance during this era was voluntary and was administered in the scbol system (second cycle educational institutions) especially in the boarding schools by heads of institutions. 23

3 Ife Psychologia house-masters and mistresses. teachers. chaplams. and e\en school prefects Such voluntary services were in the form of: a. Providing places and opportunities for the youth to socialize and recreate; b. consulting and advising the youth on moral issues: c. assisting and advising the youth,yith their financial problems and issues: d. organizing orientation programmes for new pupils or students: e. assisting the youth to solve their personal problems: and f. guiding the youth through Sunday school lessons and discussions to develop morally and spiritually. Outside the school (especially boarding schools) parents. guardians. and family elders, being custodians of their children, 'wards and family members. guided them as naturally expected by society. In the churches. pastors. priests, and Sunday school teachers formed the significant persons who gave guidance. All of this is apart from the informal peer-counselling which took place among age-mates or classmates. This seems to be the situation before attempts were made to begin guidance and counselling formally in the country. These voluntary services still exist and are found even where guidance and counselling has taken root Pioneers in the Establishment of Guidance in Ghana During the 1960s and the 1970s, a number of individuals and institutions In Ghana contributed greatly towards the establishment of guidance and counselling in the country. From the writings of Dankwa (1981) and Ackumey (1989) and the memory of 24

4 E~suman. J-K.: The History r{[guidance a/jd Counselling in Ghana the present author, the following individuals and institutions are known to have contributed greatly. D.O.K. Dankwa. Dankwa has come to be known as the father of guidance and counselling in Ghana. He contributed through: agitating seriously for the establishment of guidance and counselling in second cycle educational institutions in the country; initiating the suggestion that guidance and counselling courses or programmes be mounted at the University of Cape Coast; drawing up programmes for vocational courses and tenn-time attachments for secondary school teachers at the University of Cape Coast; and delivering public lectures on the need to establish guidance and counselling services in the schools. Nathaniel Kofi Pecku: Nathaniel Kofi Pecku devoted most of his working life as a lecturer at the University of Cape Coast from the 1970s up to the 1990s. As a lecturer :"e contributed greatly through: delivering lectures to conferences of heads of secondary schools and teacher training colleges in the country to support the public lectures of D.O.K. Dankwa; participating in the training programmes of the Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (lepa) at the University of Cape Coast. This programme was 25

5 Ife Psychologia mounted to give vocational courses for selected teachers who were to act as guidancecoordinators (teacher counsellors) in their schools after the training. Pecku participated in the organization and delivery of lectures in the programme; and in helping to mount the graduate programme in guidance and counselling and to introduce counselling courses in the undergraduate education programme. J. Opoku. Opoku was a lecturer at the University of Cape Coast but is now deceased. He contributed through: writing a number of articles in the newspapers to 6nlighten the public on guidance and its importance for the country; and assisting to mount guidance and cpunselling courses in the educational programmes at the University of Cape Coast. Professor Cooke. Cooke was a renovvned visiting professor from Canada who began the teaching of guidance and counselling as a discipline at the University of Cape Coast in This was as found in undergraduate studies, Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) and the Diploma in Advanced Studies in Education (DASE) programmes. Joseph Kpakpoe-Allotey and E. T. Akwettey. These two individuals worked as civil servants in the Curriculum Research' Development Unit (CROU) as national coordinators of guidance and counselling. Their contributions are found in their: 26

6 Essuman, 1.K.: The History of Guidance and Counselling in Ghana experimenting on use of cummulative record cards in elementary schools and teacher training colleges; and working hand-in-hand with IEP A to mount vocational courses for training guidance coordinators for secondary schools. This author worked with them on the above as an officer at CROU for twoyears ( ). Bulley As a lecturer in the Psychology Department at the University of Ghana, and a specialist in psychological testing, Bulley introduced the use of tests for vocational selection into the military, industrial, and commercial areas of the country. J.K. Okyere. J.K. Nimo, and S.K. Atakpa These are three university lecturers at the University of Cape Coast who contributed in the organization of the lepa vocational program and the delivery of lectures in the programme. A number of institutions in the country within which the above persons worked for the establishment of guidance and counselling in the country need mentioning. These are: a. Ghana Secondary School, Koforidua; b. Curriculum Research Development Unit (CROU) now known as the Curriculum Research Development Division (CROD) of Ghana Education Service (GES); and c. University of Cape Coast (Faculty of Education and Institute of Educational Planning and Administration -- IEPA). 27

7 Ife Psychologia Ghana Secondary School, Koforidua This is the school where most of the conferences for heads of institutions, namely secondary schools and teacher training colleges, were held by some of the pioneers mentioned af)ove. Curriculum Research Development Unit (CRDU) Accra. This is the institution where the planning, organization, and coordination of the establishment of guidance and counselling for the nation's schools (first and second cycle) began. The unit was formed in the late 1960s in Accra and guidance and counselling was one of the programmes- handled by that unit Universi~j! of Cape Coast (Faculty of Education and Institute of Educational Planning and Administration -:-IEPA)' It was at the University of Cape Coast where training in guidance and counselling began. TIlroligh the lep A, vacation courses were mounted to train guidance coordinators (who served as teacher counsellors in their schools). The Faculty of Education contributed through providing staff to help in the IEPA programme, initiating a graduate programme in guidance and counselling and incorporating guidance and counselling courses in undergraduate educational programmes. This is just a brief account on the pioneers who helped to establish guidance and counselling in Ghana and the institutions within which they worked to make their goals materialize. Other activities of these pioneers which are not mentioned above include: a. writing of proposals for. in-service training for teachers in guidance and 28

8 Essuman, J.K.: The History a/guidance and Counselling in Ghana counselling b. collection and review of materials in career opportunities in Ghana; c. consulting services in guidance and 'Counselling for scnools or colleges; and d. working toward professionalism and improved conditions of service for guidance coordinators. Formalized Guidance in the Second Cycle Institutions of Education The first attempt to establish formalized guidance in Ghana was in 1955 when the Ministry of Labour and the Ministries of Social Welfare and Education carne together to establish a Youth Employment Department. This was as a result of the outcry of Ghanaians for meaningful education for their children which reflected the manpower needs of the country. The Youth Employment Department was created to cater for the unemployed middle school leavers under 20 years of age, with regard to placing them into suitable jobs after giving them vocational guidance. The goverm'l'lent that was in place at the time also used it as a means of reviewing the progress of ej:l1ployment in the country. By 1961 about 30 such Youth Employment Centers had been established in the country (Ackumey, 1989). According to Ackumey, the need for vocational guidance had become so strong by 1962 that the Ministry of Labour and the Chief Education Officer agreed to establish a national system of Vocational Guidance with the rollowing alms: a. to introduce occupational literature into the schools (possibly first and second cycle institutions) through the Ministry of Education; 29

9 Ife Psychologia b. to develop lines of communication between the various ministries and the Employment Service Center; c. to incorporate clerical manpower so as to ensure more efficient selection and placement procedures; and d. to improve contact between the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education which together constituted the Youth Employment Committee and took charge of it. Serious work in establishing guidance and counselling in the schools, however, began in the late 1960s when the CRDU (Curriculum Research Development Unit) was instituted to cater for programmes in School Welfare Services, Education for the Handicapped and Guidance and Counselling. Professionals in guidance and counselling experimented with introducing cumulative record cards in Ghana's schools. 1beir earlier attempt failed because of their inability to determine whic!1 educational level they should work in. In 1971, however, they launched the cumulative record cards in elementary schools in some districts of five regions in the country; namely Eastern, Western, Volta, Central and Greater Accra. They also introduced the cards to students of teacher training colleges. The students were taught how to "se the cards (Dankwa, 1981.). Ackumey (1989) gives us some insights into what happened during the 1970s. By J 973 about six Ghanaian experts, trained overseas (United Kingdom, United States of America and Canada) had arrived in the country to contribute to the guidance and counselling field. However, the political conditions in the country did not allow them to 30

10 Essuman, lk.: The History o/guidance and Counselling in Ghana work effectively. A military coup had taken plac~ in In 1975 some teacherllt who were not below the rank, of Assistant Superintendent wen; trained to serve as welfare officers in elementary schools. They were to help pupils, teachers, and parents in problem resolution. In 1976, a great stride in the ~stab\ishment of guidance and counselling occurred. The Ghana government came out with a policy, through a directive issued. by the Ghana Education Service (GES), for the establishment of guidance and counselling in the nation's second cycle institutions. GES wrote to all second cycle institutions stating: The Ghana Education Service has decided to establish a sys~matic Guidance and Counselling Programme in all second cycle institutions, i.e., Secondary, Secondaryrrechnical ICommercialNocational schools and Training Colleges... The directive also made the University of Cape Coast responsible for thc< training of counselling personnel to serve in second cycle institutions as guidance coordinators (teacher counsellors). In 1982 another' directive from GES stated the desire of the government to begin or to introduce guidance and counselling in the first cycle institutions, in other words the elementary schools. With the above policy statement. the IEPA ( Institute of Educational Planning and Administration) of the University of Cape Coast was authorized to train selected teachers from secondary schools as guidance coordinators. The staff for the training comprised lecturers from the lepa, the Department of Educational Foundation (Faculty of Education), and counselling experts from CRDU. By 1981, about 200 guidance 31

11 Ife Psychologia coordinators had been trained and were working in second cycle institutions or In regional or district offices of the GES. Some Factors which contributed to the Establishment of Guidance and Counselling in Schools A number of factors contributed to the establishment of guidance and counselling in schools: 1. The search for a more meaningful educational structure and content which took into account manpower needs in the country was one factor. In 1974 the new structure and content of education in Ghana was introduced by the government. In this new policy of education, the structure of education was to be modified to phase out the four years of middle school and the five years of secondary education. In its place were tobe three years of the Junior Secondary School (JSS) and three years of the Senior Secondary School (SSS). The six years of primary education remained the same. University education was to last for four years (in general) instead of three years The curriculum or content of education was to take into account the vocational needs and skills of pupils. Thus, vocational, business, and technical subjects were introduced in the curriculum at the JSS and SSS levels of education. These changes made guidance and counselling very important for course selection and placement purposes. For example JSS students needed to be guided toward an awareness of their vocational interests, aptitudes, and personalities for educational and vocational development and for placement into SSS and beyond SSS into tertiary institutions and occupations. 32

12 Essuman, J.K: The History a/guidance and Counselling in Ghana 2. The establishment of the Curriculum and Research Division Unit (CRDU) in the late 1960s opened the way for experts in guidance and counselling to focus their efforts on the planning, organization, and establishment of guidance and counselling in the various institutions. 3. The availability of a core of experts in the country also helped. For example, by 1973 about six Ghanaian experts in guidance and counselling had arrived in the country. Counselling in the Tertiary Institutions of Education Counselling in the tertiary, educational institutions is examined in this paper by looking at the three oldest universities in the country; namely the University of Ghana, Legon, (UG), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and the University of Cape Coast (UCC) The University of Cape Coa.~t The University of Cape Coast,(UCC for short) was established as a university with the main aim of training teachers. educationists at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Counselling at UCC therefore can be looked at in two ways: namely in the form of academic programs, and in the fonn of rendering scl\iccs to the uni\crsity community and beyond. Academic Programme: The University of Cape Coast was the first tertiary institution to begin academic programs in guidance and counselling. According to Ackumey 33

13 Ife Psychologia (1989), courses in guidance and counselling were included in the undergraduate and the Post Graduate Certificate of Education programs for training teachers in The objective of including these courses these programs was to produce teachers who could teach guidance subjects in the teacher training colleges. In 1976, a graduate program in counselling was initiated. This was to produce counsellors at the master's level. Since the 1970s, UCC has continued to run these programs up to date. At present, there are intentions to expand the programmess to the Ph.D. level. In addition to the above, the Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (IEPA), in conjunction with GES, (specifically CRDD) and the Faculty of Education, ran vocational courses for selected teachers from secondary schools and trained them as guidance coordinators for their schools. As already mentioned above, by 1981 about 200 such guidance officers had been trained. Counselling Services: One would have thought that being a university for training teachers and educationists, UCC would have been the pace-setter in establishing counselling services for its community some years ago. For some reason, this was not the case until recently. Counselling services operating at the professional level began in November, 1997 (Counselling Center, UCC; 1998). However, some form of "counselling services" had been in existence. Before 1976, tutors were appointed to take up the academic and social welfare needs of the students. After an unrest by students during the academic year, it became obvious that the services as then provided were not effective. A new system called the "Hall Counselling System" was instituted. Some fellows (lecturers and administrators) of each residence hall were 34

14 Essuman, 1.K.: The History of Guidance and Counselling in Ghana appointed by the Vice-Chancellor as "Hall Counsellors" to counsel students residing in the halls on their socio-personal problems (Essuman & Montford, 1996). Meanwhile, in the faculties some academic staff were appointed as "academic counsellors" for students in each department. They were there to help students with their academic difficulties. These two systems have been in operation up to this date. The "Hall Counselling System" has not faired well with students. Many of them complained about its inadequacy. Two studies (Duku, 1991; Irvin, Essuman, & Montford, 1996) have so far revealed that this system or approach of counselling students is woefully ineffective. In the 1996 study, for example, only six percent of respondents (400 second and third year students of VCC) indicated that they met their hall counsellors for counselling purposes. The remaining 94% either never met their hall counsellors or met them for entertainment, or 0h a casual basis. In this study also, a majority of the respondents (88%) indicated their desire for professional counselling services. Based on this background then, a proposal was put forward and the Centre came into reality in November of Among about II statements of major aims outlined for the Centre are the following 5. The Centre: a. offers counselling services to students, staff of the university community, and to individuals outside the university community; b. organizes seminars, workshops, conferences, and orientation courses to the university community and beyond: c. collects and disseminates educational, vocational, and personal-social information to students (and staff); 35

15 Ife Psychologia d. organizes outreach programs for schools within the Cape Coast municipality; and e. intends to provide a source for post graduate counselling practicum (Counselling Center, VCC, 1998), University of Ghana The University of Ghana, Legon (Accra) was the first university in the country to establish a Centre for Counselling Services for students. According to the Centre's brochure which gives infonnation on the aims, history, and activities of the Centre, in November 1970 the Centre was set up but was then called the Careers Advice Center. Its main function was to assist in the deployment of the university's graduates on employment opportunities within the general economy of the country. The Centre was also to review, from time to time, the perfonnance and effectiveness of graduates in employment and collect other relevant infonnation on graduate employment as feedback for the progranunes review. In 1971, the Centre was given the added responsibility of administering the vocational training schemes initiated by the Science Faculty and later adopted by the School of Administration and the Geography Department. It was in 1975 that the Centre began offering comprehensive counselling services as provided today. By 1977, a number of changes had taken place. The placement services offered by the Centre were drastically reduced because the National Service Scheme (NSS) had been introduced in 1974 and students had to serve for a year on the NSS. While doing the one year service, many of them took the opportunity to find jobs in the areas of their choice.. Requests for placement therefore went down. However, other functions of the 36

16 Essuman. J.K.. The HlsiOry u(c;uldame alld Cmmsel/mg ill Ghana Centre increased due to an increase in student population,and changes in curriculum offerings. Thus in 1977, the Centre's name was changed from the Careers Advice Center to the Counselling and Placement Center It... to reflect its increased role in counseling, as well as its placement furrction." Presently, the Centre offers the follo\\ ing programmes a. counseling services jhr students. b. occupational orientation and placement services--this comprises. colloquia between students and employer~ vocational guidance in which students are helped to impro\e their performance at interviews and how to write.applications for.jobs placement of unemployed graduates compilation and dissemination of career and educational information c. administration of the Vocational Training Scheme.Iiii' science. pp;graphy. and administration students (students are placed into \ariolls orgal1lzations for relevant work experience during their vacation: d. orientation programs jar secondary sch()ol.\ on lin!veflily wlirses and other training opportunities for secondary leavers: and e. preventive counselling programmesfhr students. Academic programmes in psychological courses apart from the counselling senices offered by the Counselling and Placement Centre, the University of Ghana also has a 37

17 Ife Psychologia Department of Psychology in which academic programmes in psychology up to the graduate level are offered, Some of the programs are in the areas of clinical, developmental, occupational and most recently, eounselling psychology (Counselling in an applied form of psychology) Kwame Nkrumah University-of Science and Technology(KNUST) The University of Kumasi. KNUST, established a counselling centre m November 1993 Since then. the Centre has been offering the following programs: a, orientation courses for freshmen: b. awareness campaigns for students: c, counselling services for students. staff. and the conul1unity: d. preventive counselling seminars (like discussions on study habits. self-concept. time management. assertiveness training and so on) e. a project to monitor the progress of failing freshman students: and f. career conventions for second cycle schools (Bonsi. 19(7). Counsdling Services by other Organizations Apart from the c0unsclling services tound 111 educational institutions. many organizations or institutions in Ghana have realized the need for counselling and have instituted counselling services for their clientele, Hospitals and clinics now see the need for counselling in a number of areas like AIDS counselling. prc\'entive counselling against STOs (sexually transmitted disease): counselling on nutrition. 311

18 Essuman, 1.K.: The History ofgtlidal1c~ and Counselling in Ghana sanitation, genetic counselling, and many other areas. In the churches, marriage and family counselling is now firmly established in many denomirations, in addition to spiritual and moral counselling. The Muslim community may have begun, or is on the verge of fohowing in the footsteps of Christians in marriage and family counselling In the prisons and borstal institutes, counselling services are being introduced: Many other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOS) working with youth, disadvantaged children and adults, 'women, mral dwellers, the unemployed community etc. have instituted counselling services in their work. The Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) for example, offers counselling services for family plmming and population control purposes. Comments and Conclusion Counselling has come to stay in Ghana even though there are many unresolved teething problems and hurdles to overcome before Ghana has a full~ fledged counselling profession in the country. Within the past four decades, many professionals, both foreign and indigenous. have stmgglcd for Its establishment in the schools. as a service, and in the uni\ ersities as a sen ice and academic course offering The government has helped \\ith a pollc~ statement and some tllllding. Ghana has come some of the way. but much more needs to be done. During the course of the pioneering \\'ork, for some reasons, a number of cfforts and policies did not bear fruit S0111e e\.amin:ltion of some of them is needed. One of the objectives of the pioneers \\'as to \\ ork for prot-":ssiijllalism and impn:l\ ed conditions of work for guidance coordll1ators. \Vhile the latter has been :lchic\ cd partiall~, the foflner

19 Ife Psychologia has not. In the 1976 government policy on the establishment of guidance and counselling it was stated that teachers assigned to do guidance work should teach a maximum of 12 periods (a period is 45 minutes in length). Some schools adhered to this directive and have made guidance work succeed. However, over the years, many of the heads of the secondary schools did not honour this ruling by GES. They loaded their guidance counsellors with so much.teaching that the instructors had no time to guide or counsel. The directive still stands though. Perhaps what is needed is to mount orientation courses for these heads of schools on the importance of guidance and counselling in their schools. The work on professionalism by the pioneers did not materialize. At present, there is no professional association for counselling in Ghana. Some attempts are now being made at this time. This began in (1997). It has been stated above that in 1975, welfare officers were appointed to help pupils, teachers, and parents to resolve problems in the elementary schools. This welfare service has not worked very well. It seems to have died out of the system. At present, there is a debate on the need to establish guidance and counselling in the first cycle of the educational institutions. The cummulative record card program launched by CROD in 1971 in the elementary schools appears not to have worked either. The elementary schools seemed not to have had an interest in using the cards. This author's hypothesis is that the program was imposed on the' teachers and they found it as additional work outside their prescribed work schedule. The author and one of the officers at CROD, did a follow-up in 1977 on the use of the cards. The author observed that in many schools the cards were simply lying idle and not being used. The introduction of continuous assessment 40

20 Essuman. lk.: The History of Guidance and Counselling in Ghana in the first and second cycle institutions may have revived the use of cumulative records now. The above and many more, suggest a number of tasks to be undertaken for counselling to have a professional status in Ghana. A professional association needs to be formed. Counselling ahs to become a core service manned.by professional counsellors and not just a peripheral service manned by paraprofessionajs. A lot of training and educating must be done in order to raise the status of our guidance coordinators in the second cycle institutions into competent, knowledgeable, professional counsellors. The pioneers have done their part, it is now up to the present generation of counsellors to face the challenge squarely and make this noble profession one that will stay firmly in Ghana. 41

21 Ife Psychologia REFERENCES Ackumey. M. A. (1989). An evaluation of the guidance and counselling course ofthe Bachelor of Education degree programs at the University of Cape Coast. An unpublished M.Ed. thesis. Faculty of Education, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana. Bonsi, E. E. (1997). Report on CR 2428-GH. Tertiary Education Project Contract for the Provision of Career Advisory Services in Ghanaian Universities. Counselling and Placement Centre, University of Ghana, Legon Accra, Ghana. Counseling Centre. (1998). University of Cape Coast Cape Coast, Ghana, Aims, history, and activities of the Counselling Centre. Dankwa, D. O. K. (1981) Guidance. and counselling in the Ghana education service: History and policy. An unpublished document, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana. Duku, E. K. (1991). Students' perceptions of the counselling services at the University of Cape Coast, An unpublished M.Ed. thesis, Faculty of Education, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana. 42

22 Essuman. JX : The His/my o/(;uidollcl! alltl ('olllm:!!illg ill Ghana Essuman. J, K.. & Montford. R, B, (1996) A proposal for a counl>elling centre for the University of Cape Coast An unpublished document. University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana, Irvin, V" Essuman, J. K., & Montford, R,B, (1996), An evaluation of the hall counselling system at the University of Cape Coast. A paper read at the Career Services Workshop on 8'1. and 9 th October University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana. Makinde, O. (1983). Fundamentals of guidance and counselling. London: MacMillan. Oladele, J. O. (1986). GUidance and counsel1ing, AjimcflOnal approar.h Lagos Johns Lad. Shertzer, 8., & Stone, S. C. (1976) Fundamentals o!'guidance, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 43

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