Counselling in Nigeria

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COUNSELLING IN NIGERIA: AN OVERVIEW

BY

C.N. UGWUEGBULAM, Ph.D., JP.
ALVAN IKOKU COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, OWERRI – IMO STATE, NIGERIA

AND

CUUU KADURUMBA (Ph.D.)
COLLEGE OF FOOD PROCESSING AND STORAGE TECHNOLOGY, MICHAEL
OKPARA UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE, UMUDIKE, ABIA STATE, NIGERIA HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING IN NIGERIA

Man from pre-historic times have been having challenges and solving them. Nigerians in the traditional set-up before the advent of formalized guidance and counselling had problems and they were solving them through what Iwuama (1991, 2003) called traditional guidance. This is any type of assistance given to somebody in need. Their needs were personal, social, vocational or traditional education. The counsellors then were those who had experiences that accumulated as a result of age. They included parents, elders, diviners, fortune-tellers etc. It is actually difficult to chronicle the development of traditional guidance and counselling because of its fluidity arising from the illiterate society at the time of old. However, something can be charted for formalized guidance and counselling in Nigeria.

Western education came into Nigeria through the missionaries. They introduced western education and managed it with transparent passion. Historical evidence available are all agreed to the fact that what can be most appropriately likened to guidance and counselling started from a vocational guidance point of view. Iwuama (1991, 2003) and Njoku (2003) traced the development of guidance and counselling in Nigeria to some Reverend sisters, who in 1959, where incharge of St. Theresa’s College Oke-Ado, Ibadan, Oyo State of Nigeria. Records has it that these Rev. Sisters, in line with their calling, were challenged with what will become of their graduates on completion of their secondary education. At that time the widest opportunity open to girls on completion of their education was to get married. In as much as this was good, the Rev. sister thought it better to get their graduating students empowered. To this effect, an experiment was performed. They invited twenty people from different walks of life to talk to their sixty graduating students on their different professions. This may have implied giving them occupational information that would facilitate them to take informed decisions about certain occupations. The activity could be likened to a career day activity. After the exercise, a follow-up revealed that fifty-four out of the sixty graduating students of St. Theresa’s College in 1959 benefited as they were placed in various jobs. This result fascinated both the Rev. sisters and their resource persons such that in 1962 the resource persons came together to form Ibadan Career Council. The activities of this council interested other people and in 1967, they followed suit to form career council in major cities in Nigeria. It was from this humble beginning that counselling in Nigeria began till 11th November 1976 when the Counselling Association of Nigeria was born and in 1977 it affiliated to the American Personnel and Guidance Association.

Apart from the above humble origin of formal counselling in Nigeria, there were a few significant events that equally had facilitating effect on the development of counselling in Nigeria. Record has it that in 1962 sixteen education officers and educators were sent by the Federal Ministry of Education to France, Sweden and the United States of America. Their charge was to study the educational system of those three countries with a view of identifying and importing into Nigeria for adaptability of educational practices. On return the team recommended the establishment of comprehensive schools. This led to the establishment of Comprehensive High School Aiyetoro as a demonstration school. The school was to channel learners into courses of study suitable to learners abilities, aptitudes and interests. This school had among its team a...
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