Chuka University

CHALLENGES FACED BY PEER COUNSELLORS IN PROMOTING BEHAVIOUR CHANGE AMONG PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN MERU SOUTH DISTRICT, KENYA

CONNY KAARI KAARIA

ABSTRACT

The current social-economic changes, technological developments and educational demands have contributed greatly to a number of challenges which have affected the entire society, students inclusive. In view of this, the Ministry of Education recommended the establishment of the Peer Counselling Programme in schools to assist in  promoting behaviour change  among students. However, despite its establishment,  the overall behaviour change among students has not been realized. This has put to question the effectiveness of peer counselling in  promoting  behaviour change. The purpose of the study was to  determine the challenges faced  peer counsellors in  promoting  behaviour change among public secondary school students in Meru South District. The  target population was  600 peer counsellors  and 30 teacher counsellors  in Meru South District. Purposive sampling method was used to obtain 15  teacher counsellors while simple random sampling method was used to obtain 255 peer  counselors;  therefore,  a total sample of 270 respondents  were involved. The study was based on four research objectives and related research questions.  Questionnaires, which were validated through professional guidance, were used for data collection. Piloting was done  in 3 schools which involved  3 teacher counsellors and 25 peer counsellors.  Reliability coefficients  of 0.82 and 0.78, respectively, were obtained. The data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics namely:  percentages and frequency counts and by use of a computer programme, the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) versions 17.0. The research established that there existed  numerous areas of counselling services provided

by the peer counsellors.  There were also  certain challenges faced by  peer counsellors in promoting  behaviour change among students, such as personal unresolved issues, lack of resources, poor relationship with the other students and inappropriate training. The recommendation of the study  was  that peer counsellors needed  to be well equipped in both skills and knowledge to enable them handle counselling issues effectively.  Teacher counsellors  were also required  to create awareness on peer counselling among students and help them develop a positive attitude towards it. These findings  were  hoped to be helpful to the Ministry of Education  and the school administrators in establishing effective peer counselling programmes.

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