Relevance of counselling services provided to re-entered pupils in selected secondary schools in Lusaka district,Zambia

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Ziwa, Mwaka
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The University of Zambia
The purpose of the study was to investigate how relevant the counselling services offered to re-entered pupils in four selected secondary schools of Lusaka District have been. Sixteen (16) re-entered pupils and four (4) school counsellors participated in the study. The study employed the Phenomenological research design as the researcher relied heavily on the participants’ own perspectives in order to describe the phenomena under study. Through the use of qualitative methods of data collection (interviews and observation) and thematic analysis, it was found that despite re-entered pupils in public secondary schools in Lusaka district having a number of counselling needs which ranged from emotional, financial and psychological, the counselling services offered to them were appreciated and were relevant. It was observed that without relevant counselling services, most re-entered pupils would fail to continue being in school and the benefits of the re-entry policy may not be realized in Zambia. Concerning the type of counselling services provided to the re-entered pupils, the study revealed that all the four secondary schools under study were providing individual and group counselling in which social, educational, guidance and career counselling services were provided even to their parents or guardians. The study also established that school counsellors played a pivotal role in addressing the numerous challenges that re-entered pupils faced, such as offering rehabilitation counselling and carrying out house visitations to the parents of re-entered pupils in order to keep them in school. It was observed, however, that the number of school counselors was not adequate to cater for the day-to-day teaching responsibilities, provide guidance and counseling services in schools and do home visitations to support the re-entered pupils and their parents. Based on the study findings, it was recommended that guidance and counselling should be taught to all student teachers from all the higher learning institutions in order that as they graduate, they have skills in various guidance and counseling services. Sensitization by the Ministry of General Education and other stakeholders on the re-entry policy and support for re-entered pupils should also be intensified. Further, teachers trained in guidance and counseling should be deployed in public secondary schools by the Ministry of General Education and relevant materials useful in the area of re-entry should be distributed.
Re-entry policy--Counselling services--Zambia