Origin And Development Of Guidance And Counseling Practice In Tanzanian Schools
1.1. Background and History of Guidance and Counseling in General in School Practice and other setting
The history of school counseling formally started at the turn of the twentieth century, although a case can be made for tracing the foundations of counseling and guidance principles to ancient Greece and Rome with the philosophical teachings of Plato and Aristotle. There is also evidence to argue that some of the techniques and skills of modern-day guidance counselors were practiced by Catholic priests in the middle ages, as can be seen by the dedication to the concept of confidentiality within the confessional. Near the end of the sixteenth century, one of the first texts about career options appeared: The Universal Plaza of All the Professions of the World, (1626) written by Tomaso Garzoni quoted in Guez, W. & Allen, J. (2000). Nevertheless, formal guidance programs using specialized textbooks did not start until the turn of the twentieth century.
Counseling is a concept that has existed for a long time in Tanzania. We have sought through the ages to understand ourselves, offer counsel and develop our potential, become aware of opportunities and, in general, help ourselves in ways associated with formal guidance practice. In most communities, there has been, and there still is, a deeply embedded conviction that, under proper conditions, people can help others with their problems. Some people help others find ways of dealing with, solving, or transcending problems as Nwoye, (2009) prescribed in his writings. In schools, presently if the collaboration between teachers and students is good, students learn in a practical way. Young people develop degrees of freedom in their lives as they become aware of options and take advantage of them. At its best, helping should enable people to throw off chains and manage life situations effectively. Unprecedented economic and social changes have, over the years, changed the ways in which we manage our lives. Consequently, not all the lessons of the past can effectively deal with the challenges of modern times. Effective counseling, especially in institutions of learning has now become important. Boys and girls, and young men and women, need to be guided in the relationships between health and the environment, earning skills, knowledge, and attitudes that lead to success and failure in life. The need for counseling has become paramount in order to promote the well-being of the child. Effective guidance and counseling should help to improve the self-image of young people and facilitate achievement in life tasks. Counseling should empower girls and boys to participate fully in, and benefit from, the economic and social development of the nation.
2.0. Definitions of Concepts
Guidance is an act of showing the way for some people, like adolescents, who cannot find the right path. It is directing, pointing, leading and accompanying. Guidance is saying “Yes” to someone who is asking for help. It is saying “Yes” to an invitation of someone who wants a temporary companion along life’s way.
Guidance is giving directions to the lonely, confused, unloved, the suffering, the sick and the lost. It is pointing to some possibilities of thinking, feeling and acting. It is leading the person psychologically, emotionally and even spiritually to some newer ways of meaningful living. It is accompanying those who are fearful and uncertain, those who need someone along the rugged path of life’s journey.
From an objective point of view, guidance is part and parcel of the counseling profession. It is called directive counseling. High school and even college students need guidance when they are unsure of what choices to make or what directions to take. The guidance counselor “opens up” a world of choices for these persons for them to choose from. It is like presenting the universe when all that a person sees is the lonely planet earth. The guidance counselor enlarges and widens the horizon of people who sees only a narrow path or a concealed view of that path. Thus, the focus is on possibilities and choices.
Usually, guidance occurs in schools. High school and college students avail of guidance and counseling services in their school. More often, young people are unsure of what to do, how to react or respond, and how to act in certain choices. When this occurs, they need someone older, wiser and more experienced to show them the way, to guide them. This is the role of the guidance counselor to extend assistance when necessary to those who are confused, uncertain, and needing advice. However, some adults may need guidance too.
Counseling is guiding and more. It is a way of healing hurts. It is both a science and an art. It is a science because to offer counsel, advice or assistance, the counselor must have the knowledge of the basic principles and techniques of counseling. The counselor must be able to use any of these basic principles and techniques as paradigms in order for him to counsel well. However, it is not enough to use know these basic principles and techniques. The other important aspect is for the counselor to know how to counsel-the art of counseling. This aspect considers counseling as a relationship, as a sharing of life, in the hope that the person who is hurting will be healed. As a relationship, counseling involves the physical, emotional, and psychical or spiritual dimensions. The counselor must have the ability to relate to the counselee in an appropriate physical manner without being too intimate or too close for comfort or being too distant or aloof. The emotional dimension in counseling includes empathy, sensitivity and the ability to interpret non-verbal clues of the counselee in order to understand unresolved complexes or pent-up feelings. The psychical or spiritual dimension embraces the counselee’s “soul-content”—what lies inside. This is what is called the interiority of the person. The counselor must have the gift or grace of catching a glimpse of the interior world of the person, particularly his spiritual condition, for this is very important in healing the person’s hurts.
2.3. Other Definitions of the Concepts
Biswalo (1996) defines guidance as a term used to denote the process of helping an individual to gain self understanding and self direction (self decision-making) so that he can adjust maximally to his home, school or community environment. This process, however, depends on counseling. He also defines counseling as a process of helping an individual to accept and use information and advice so that he can either solve his present problem or cope with it successfully. He goes further remarking that sometimes the process helps the individual to accept unchangeable situation for example, loss of dearly loved ones and to some extent change it in its favour rather than letting himself be overcome by the situation. Guez and Allen (2000) remarked that it is difficult to think of a single definition of counseling. This is because definitions of counseling depend on theoretical orientation. Counseling is a learning-oriented process, which occurs usually in an interactive relationship, with the aim of helping a person learn more about the self, and to use such understanding to enable the person to become an effective member of society. Counseling is a process by means of which the helper expresses care and concern towards the person with a problem, and facilitates that person’s personal growth and brings about change through self-knowledge. Counseling is a relationship between a concerned person and a person with a need. This relationship is usually person-to-person, although sometimes it may involve more than two people. It is designed to help people to understand and clarify their views, and learn how to reach their self-determined goals through meaningful, well-informed choices, and through the resolution of emotional or interpersonal problems. It can be seen from these definitions that counseling can have different meanings.
3.0. Origin of Guidance and Counseling Practice in Pre-Colonial Era
Counseling in Tanzania in different forms and with different interpretations, has existed in societies for a long time before colonial era. The differences and contradictions in present-day, have their origin in the social and historical forces that have shaped modern culture. In Tanzania people in all societies, and at all times, have experienced emotional or psychological distress and behavioural problems. In each culture, there have been well established ways and methods of helping individuals with their problems. However, there are no sufficient written sources about the origin of guidance and counseling practice in Tanzanian schools. But like other places before colonial era there were outstanding unique elements which held the societies together in their livelihood. The elements include the extended family system, including the clan and the tribe, chieftaincy, taboos, various forms of initiation and close links with ancestors and elders.
The village is the focal point of society. While each one of these elements is important, only a few are used to illustrate the role of guidance and counseling in present-day Tanzanian societies. Basically, traditional chiefs had multiple roles which included serving as a symbol of authority and as a regulator. Since these roles were accepted and respected by all, there was a clear direction in the day-to-day affairs of society. The elders, the chief included, were a valuable source of guidance and counseling for boys and girls. In most cases, the chiefs were regarded as a vital link between ancestors and the present generation. This link was strengthened by the rituals, ceremonies and taboos attached to them. It was easy to guide and counsel the young, since the rituals or ceremonies were also aimed at preparation for adult roles in society. The extended family, the clan, and the village, made society supportive. No individual regarded him/herself as alien. Counseling was readily sought and provided. The forms of guidance and counseling involved were given advice and sharing wisdom.
4.0. The Developments of Guidance and Counseling Practices in Tanzanian Schools
4.1. Guidance and Counseling Practices in Tanzanian Schools Trends
In realizing this perhaps, since we are thinking of the concepts in school setting, we should think the meaning of counseling in education discipline. One could think that the definitions given above on the term guidance and counseling, their meaning can be directed to education grounds and now give the meaning correctly. Guez and Allen (2000) pointed out that a term educational counseling was first coined by Truman Kelley in 1914 in Makinde, (1988), educational counseling is a process of rendering services to pupils who need assistance in making decisions about important aspects of their education, such as the choice of courses and studies, decisions regarding interests and ability, and choices of college and high school. Educational counseling increases a pupil’s knowledge of educational opportunities.
The ever growing complexity of society in Tanzania, coupled with social problems like HIV/AIDS and the rapid development of science and technology, place heavy demands on education. The school, as an important social institution, was required to adapt quickly to changing patterns, and help prepare citizens for tomorrow’s challenges. That is where guidance and counseling in the educational system should help boys and girls alike, to develop their capacities to the full. These include intellectual, social, physical and moral capacities. This help is of the most important in Tanzania as long as the history and age of education provision and in its systems found today.
Guidance and counseling practices development in Tanzanian schools can be traced back from the time when vocational education was emerging right at the colonial period. In the process of establishing counseling services in Tanzania, there was a need to first understand the underlying factors that influence people’s beliefs and perceptions about such practices. However, this is thought that was not taken in to consideration at the time and it may be up to recent time. It is especially important to understand the economic, socio-political, religious beliefs, customs and traditions, and cultural changes that are present in different regions of the country. Young people should be understood within this context, but also within the paradoxical situation of having to face the traditional and the modern world, but this is a big challenge to Tanzania and many developing African countries. During colonial period there were some form of vocational guidance under the career guidance and it was administered by career masters. But the career masters who were selected by the head of schools had no professional training in vocational guidance. In fact the duty was limited to helping students fill out employment forms and writing letters of application. In the missionary schools vocational guidance was confined to religious services. The teachers who were usually ‘fathers’, pastors, or reverends guided and trained spiritually inclined youths to become sisters, brothers, fathers and pastors upon their completion of formal education.
Apart of what could be done in schools in Tanzania, guidance and counseling was more or less a private family affair. Parents and relatives counseled their children on all matters of life management and problem solving. It is true that in many families the duty of general guidance was the traditional duty of senior members of the family, father, mother, uncle, aunt, and grandparents. In case of serious personal or family problems, counseling was done by a specially organized by the community as a competent in handling that specific problem. This is done without any knowledge obtained from formal or informal school system but rather through experience and age wise through collected wisdom. This kind of early form of counseling from school setting and community helped the young to be brought into the bright image of living in the future to the society.
4.2. Guidance and Counseling Practices in Tanzanian Schools in Post-colonial era
In several literatures and sources, guidance and counseling in education sector in Tanzania and some other African countries is regarded as the youngest discipline. This is evidenced by First International Conference on Guidance, Counseling and Youth Development in Africa held in Nairobi, Kenya from 22nd to 26th April, 2002 which pointed out that the Guidance, Counseling and Youth Development Programme was initiated in Africa in April 1994, following the First Pan African Conference on the Education of Girls that was held in Ouagadougou in 1993. It is designed to introduce or strengthen guidance and counseling in African countries. It focuses on capacity building in the countries involved and provides training at both regional and national levels on issues of guidance and counseling of schools and colleges.
What we can call professional guidance and counseling in Tanzania schools begin in the year 1984 following the National October 1984 Arusha Conference, where guidance and counseling services were endorsed by the government as and integral part of the country’s education system (Biswalo, 1996). The aim of the conference is to establish systematic criteria for secondary schools students’ guidance and counseling. Students were then advised, guided and counseled on matters concerning their job selection and student placement for further education. This job was assigned to career masters and mistresses as explained below, however, there were no sufficient guidance and counseling personnel not only in the responsible ministry but also in the schools.
Guidance and Counseling is now becoming slowly institutionalized and spread in educational institutions. Schools, for example, have to a large extent taken over the task of providing psychological support to boys and girls. However Biswalo (1996) comments that in Tanzania policies pertinent to guidance and counseling is still lacking. The Ministry of Education, however, has somehow tried to institutionalize the services within the education system by appointing career masters and mistresses. He continued saying that the personnel are charged with the responsibility of advising heads of secondary schools concerning students job selection and student placement for further education; to try and help students understands and develop interest in appropriate jobs or further education or training; to asses the students talents and capabilities and to encourage them to pursue careers or further education best suited to them and to help students solve their personal problems which may affect their general progress in school.
This is an impossible and realistic burden on these untrained personnel. It reflects the apathy of policy and decision makers regarding the new field of guidance and counseling in schools; the strength of the myth of planned manpower in which career guidance is erroneously regarded as redundant and the gross lack of trained personnel who would provide effective guidance and counseling services in schools. It is unfortunate that even after the National October 1984 Arusha Conference on the strengthening of education in Tanzania, where guidance and counseling services were endorsed by the government as and integral part of the country’s education system, the services are to-date still patchy and ineffective in Tanzania’s educational institutions. Guidance and counseling in this manner is discussed by different scholars in primary, secondary and tertiary education levels together.
5.0. Guidance and Counseling Practices in Primary and Secondary Schools
In primary school levels in Tanzania in actual fact there were and are no specified pupils’ teacher-counselors. However, the activity is left to teachers themselves to decide what is to be done since there is no programmed or time-tabled activity concerning guidance and counseling. Teachers are left to use part of the teaching to practice guidance and counseling in and outside the classroom although not all teachers have gone teacher-counselor training. As children enter school they need orientation on school itself, its environment, school community and the curriculum to motivate and develop positive attitude toward learning and school community as well (Biswalo, 1996). As the pupils grow older and pass through different grades they need to be directed in studying skills, overcome learning difficulties and other school related problems. But this activity is not performed systematically in primary schools in Tanzania.
In the case of secondary schools till to-date there is also insufficient programmed or time-tabled system of guiding and counseling students. In some cases this duty is left to discipline masters and sometimes to class masters and head of schools. At secondary school level, students would seek educational opportunities, information of all kinds and any other help pertinent to educational pursuits. These needs are catered to by educational guidance and counseling (ibid). At this level students are helped with subject choice, study techniques and tests and examination. Biswalo (1996) pointed out that sometimes during subject choice, pride of placing as many students as possible in prestigious streams, such as science, takes precedence over actual abilities, interests and aptitudes of students. He said this unfortunate situation has been born out of the lack of genuine educational guidance and counseling services in secondary schools.
The school has an important role to play in preparing pupils for continued secondary education, paid employment, self-employment and life in the community, as clearly set out by the Ministry of Education in the objectives for its secondary curriculum. Perhaps uniquely, there would be total agreement among pupils, teachers and parents over the relative emphasis a certain schools placed on the preparation for further education, with its focus on academic knowledge and the pursuit of success in the national examinations. That is, the secondary schools where counseling is not well performed placed little emphasis on citizenship and the development of a responsible attitude to life in the community at the local, regional or national level and employment opportunities. However, what is de-emphasized is the informal sector including self-employment but the emphasized is employment in the formal sector with its implied emphasis on white collar jobs.
5.1. Vocational, Career Guidance and Counseling
In Tanzania teachers have the capacity to directly influence their pupils’ choice of careers. The achievements and attitudes of pupils have been shown to be related to the characteristics and achievements of their teachers (World Bank, 1995; quoted in Nyutu, P.N. & Norman C.G. 2008). However, the influence of the school depends on the formal interactions and communication which take place between teachers and pupils in the classroom whereas television and radio, act through the informal interactions pupils have with these media. The influence of parents and siblings is through both formal and informal means.
That is in most cases in Tanzania and may be other states where guidance and counseling is rarely done in schools; parents play the big role to influence on their children’s choice of careers. Others who have lower level careers i.e. teachers, clerks, drivers, personal secretaries, soldiers etc. do not anticipate their children ‘following in their footsteps’ because for the children who are able to study to higher level sometimes saw these jobs as narrow and lacking in interest. However it is suggested that parents’ occupation might have influenced their children’s choice of careers, but this happened to children who have generic skills useful in such jobs, and a few may have job skills relevant to those jobs. Access to information through the media and other forms of technology is giving young people aspirations that, for the most part, cannot be satisfied in their own environment. Choices have to be made and young people must acquire the skills to assess situations and make informed decisions. There is no longer a natural, understandable order from birth to adulthood for the Tanzanian young.
Vocational guidance at secondary school levels is provided but in very few among others because of shortages of school or vocational trained counselors. For those lucky schools with these kinds of counselors, students are helped but vocational counseling is not emphasized because most pupils, teachers and of course parents push students to make long range plans of study so that to prepare well for the envisaged careers. These counselors plan with school administrators and teachers to provide appropriate class placement for students with special abilities or disabilities for course selection by students.
5.2. Tertiary Level
The tertiary level students are provided with orientation and other educational guidance and counseling. In Tanzania tertiary level have at least fulfilled the need of having qualified students’ counselors for both psychological and academics, though they are few in number. Here counselors play a big role in compiling comprehensive information on all aspects of the careers related to the training offered in the institution. Counselors sometimes integrate with administration or practicum department to organize field practices for students and even more rarely might contacts with relevant employing agencies (Biswalo, 1996).
6.0. Notion on Guidance and Counseling in Tanzania
According to the research by Sima (2004), professional counseling is yet to be recognized as a stand-alone profession in Tanzania and in many African countries. Nevertheless, the coming and setting of HIV/Aids in the country has strengthened the base for counseling. This is particularly because of the multifaceted nature of the HIV/Aids pandemic whose attention, unlike other human diseases, goes beyond the prerogatives of the medical profession. Thus, counseling is perceived as a crucial avenue for prevention of HIV infection through provision of adequate and relevant information, and for social and psychological support of people infected and affected by the pandemic. Ibid continued saying that since the emergence of the pandemic in the country, a number of non-governmental organizations have been offering counseling services however, there is lack of clarity on the type and nature of counseling services offered by these organization. The nature and characteristics of counseling clients also remain fuzzy.
In Tanzania the professional counseling as aforesaid is relatively a new phenomenon. Outwater (1995) quoted in Sima (2004) comments that before HIV/Aids epidemic, there was no formal counseling service in Tanzanian hospitals, no professional counselors and no formal system for training counselors. There was a need to fill this gap by training as many counselors as possible to provide optimal care for AIDS patients and their relatives (NACP, 1989; quoted in ibid). Since then many para-professional counselors have been trained in basic knowledge and skills of counseling. Currently there are many counseling centers working not only on HIV/Aids related problems but also different problems affecting Tanzanians. However, as counseling became popular with the advent of HIV/Aids, many people assume that it is only meant for people infected and affected by HIV/Aids and shy away from it for fear of being labeled (Sima, 2002; quoted in Sima 2004).
7.0. Problems and Challenges
The Tanzanian government have not yet formulated in the education policy issues pertaining guidance and counseling in spite of the crucially and necessity in schools. Biswalo (1996) pointed out that in Tanzania policies pertinent to guidance and counseling is still lacking. He continued saying that efforts directed towards fulfilling guidance and counseling needs are apparently thwarted by several difficulties including financial resources to support the even established tiny counseling activities in several schools.
In Tanzania till today counseling is relatively new phenomenon. There are no enough qualified counselors in schools and other education institutions. However, there are limited number of qualified counselors, they are either not utilized well in schools or they are engaged in other activities rather than what they are trained for. Some of school counselors are also teachers and they are fully occupied with teaching responsibilities. More surprisingly counseling is perceived as a crucial avenue for only prevention of HIV infection through provision of adequate and relevant information, and for social and psychological support of people infected and affected by the HIV/Aids (Sima, 2004).
There is slow growth of guidance and counseling in educational systems attributed to lack of funds, training facilities, and high turnover of guidance counselors to green pastures and in adequately trained counselors. For instance in many schools they lack counseling offices, trained teacher-counselors and counseling equipments. In terms of funds there are various options that can be explored to alleviate financial constraints. Special schools on behalf of parents in need can approach non-governmental organizations.
The absence of solid professional counseling association in Tanzania to set standards for the appropriate practice is another challenge (Nwoye, 2008). Also insufficient availability of professional counselor training programs in Tanzanian colleges and universities is another contributing challenge.
There are no efforts to establish counseling curriculum in secondary schools and colleges and guidance and counseling courses in the universities. Guidance curriculum and responsive services can then be structured to address the five content areas, namely human relationships, career development, social values, self development, and learning skills. A guidance curriculum could be taught to students at different levels or in small groups to address issues that are similar to them. For guidance and counseling programs to be effective in Tanzania, trained professionals should be employed to manage and offer services in schools. Such professionals should also be provided with relevant facilities and structural support. At the same time, universities and teacher training institutions will have to establish and develop programs that train professional school counselors and other guidance personnel.
There is still insufficient assistance in higher education institutions to enable students achieves their career aspirations. However, students today indicate a higher need for career guidance than students in the past decade. Students may therefore be encountering an increased need to acquire relevant career information that will enable them seek better paid jobs. Many schools have in the past appointed some teachers as career masters without providing them with the necessary training and facilities for career guidance. Such career masters usually assume that all students will end up in universities and only focus on helping students complete university application forms and no more. It is the high time for the government to set and implement the policy that will enhance guidance and counseling from primary schools to the tertiary level and in turn will develop programs that train professional school counselors and other guidance personnel.
Guidance and counseling sought to prepare pupils in their schooling program to enter into the world of appropriate work by linking the school curriculum to employment. For the school to be successful in this endeavor, subjects should be taught at a pleasant and convenient environment and should be made relevant and interesting to the pupils. Another factor that needs to be considered is the recruitment of competent teachers capable of guiding and counseling learners in relating what they teach to the job market. What is taught and how it is taught can have great influence on the interest and perception of learners. In Tanzania the spirit to plan and use guidance and counseling services in the effective development and utilization of their respective young human resources is evidently strong. However, as Biswalo (1996) said the efforts directed towards fulfilling this need are apparently thwarted by several difficulties. It appears total and enlightened commitment on the part of policy and decision makers is necessary and should be definitely surmount the problems.
The emergence of career development in western countries as a construct suggests that it may be an essential area in developing country like Tanzania where students need assistance; students particularly need assistance in selecting colleges and courses. To this end, the schools should offer a career guidance and counseling programme under the able leadership of qualified school counselors.