The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of guidance and counselling services offered in high schools in order to ascertain its relevance to the changing needs of Zambian children in schools. The study was guided by the following objectives: (1) to establish the status of guidance and counselling services in schools, (2) to find out whether pupils are guided in the choice of subjects to study, (3) to determine whether pupils are exposed to entry requirements to higher education, (4) to determine whether pupils recieve help in the selection of their career path, (5) to find out how pupils with interpersonal problems recieve help in schools and (6) to determine causes of indiscipline among pupils in schools.
The study was conducted in Central (Mumbwa, Chibombo, Kalonga and Mukobeko high schools), Copperbelt (Mpongwe, Ibenga girsl, Kasenshi and Chingola high schools) abd Southern (Hillcrest, Njase, Linda and Pemba high schools) provinces.
The sample had 910 respondents which included 858 pupils (429 boys and 429 girls) and 52 school teachers/counsellors. Since the study had a large sample, a survey design was used. Questionnaires were used to collect data from the sample.
As regards to the status of guidance and counselling services in schools, it was found that, out of 858 pupils who participated in the study, 628 (73.2%) indicated that guidance and counselling services were available in their schools. Similarly, out of the 52 teachers who participated in the study, 39 (75%) of them indicated that guidance and counselling services were available in their schools.
The study also revealed that both the pupils and teachers percieved the guidance and counselling services to be effective although a substantial number of pupils (31%) were of the view that these services were ineffective. Reasons given by these pupils were that the counselling unit lacked confidentiality and at times instilled a sense of fear in them.
Aas regards guidance on the choice of subjects to study, it was found that most of the pupils (60%) agreed that the guidance and counselling unit helped them in choosing subjects. On whether the guidance and counselling unit gave help to pupils in the selection of a career path, the study revealed that most of the respondents indicated that the guidance and counselling unit advised them to work towards their career choices.
As regards to whether pupils were exposed to entry requirements to higher education, the majority of pupils and teachers said that the guidance and counselling unit provided pupils with information on entry requirements for higher institutions. However, 47% of the pupils indicated that the guidance and counselling unit did not give pupils adequate information on entry requirements to higher institutions. They also stated that some personnel that talked to them were not qualified and also that the information given was scanty. In trying to find out how pupils with interpersonal problems recieved help in schools, it was found out that most of them talked to their fellow pupils about the problem. They went to the counselling teacher as a last resort because of lack of confidentiallity among most school counsellors.
The study further sought to find out the causes of indiscipline among pupils in high schools. The following factors were found to contribute to indiscipline in high schools: beer drinking, late coming to school, vandalism, peer pressure, bad company, lack of parental guidance, smoking, teachers not coming to teach when they should, lack of guidance and counselling services in some schools, male teachers being too friendly to female pupils, fighting, insulting, wearing wrong uniforms, too many small rules, male teachers drinking beer with with male pupils and schools being over populated. As regards measures of addressing these factors, most commonly proposed measure was that school authoirities should apply stiffer punishment to offenders.