Relevance of the counseling services provided to students at the University of Zambia

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Ziwa, Ekelesi
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University of Zambia
The study sought to investigate how relevant the counselling services offered to students at the University of Zambia were. It was guided by the following objectives; to determine the type of counselling services provided to UNZA students, examine counselling needs of UNZA students, establish the relevance of the counselling services provided to UNZA students and to examine challenges faced in providing counselling services to UNZA students. The sample was 47 consisting of seven (7) counsellors and 40 undergraduate students on full time studies selected from the eight (8) schools within the University of Zambia main campus. Purposive sampling was used to select the counsellors while simple random sampling was used to select the students. The study used qualitative approaches; specifically it employed a case study design. Interviews and questionnaires were used to collect data. Data was analysed thematically using verbatims. The study established that the UNZA counselling centre offered counselling of various kinds amongst which included career guidance, psychosocial counselling, health, HIV, discipline and peer education. However, the majority of students did not seem to know the counselling services offered by the UNZA counselling center. The study further revealed that the needs of students mostly included academic, vocational and psychosocial problems. This meant that the services offered by the UNZA counselling centre were relevant to the needs of the students. However, the needs varied depending on the student’s socio-economic status, gender, socio-cultural trends and the cultures they belong to. The study also revealed that lack of funding for sensitization activities such as radio programs among others, lack of refresher training courses and insufficient human resource, were the most prominent challenges faced by counsellors. The study further found that the counsellors would play a major role in eliminating barriers to counselling. It was therefore recommended that UNZA counselling centre should implement programs which would educate students about the importance of seeking guidance and counselling services and that counsellors should uphold confidentiality in their work. Key words: Counselling, guidance, relevance
Counselling in higher education--Zambia