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close this bookGuidance and Counselling for School-age Girls in Africa (UNESCO, 4 p.)
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The future social and economic development of Africa depends, to a large extent, on its children and young people - its boys and girls, its young men and women. These future leaders, however, will only be able to assume their great responsibilities, if they are given the high quality of education necessary, to enable them to carry out all the tasks with which they will be entrusted. African Ministers of Education, therefore, recognized some years ago that the education services, then available needed to be more holistic to meet the continent's future development needs. Among the problems that had to be urgently addressed, was the lack of competent Guidance and Counselling services, not only in educational institutions, but elsewhere as well. They then decided that Guidance and Counselling should be an essential part of the education of all African children. In due course a 'Guidance, Counselling and Youth Development Centre' was established in Malawi, to provide the necessary training for teacher educators, and for youth and social workers, from all over the continent. This was made possible through the governments and with assistance from both international and regional organizations, agencies, and NGOs.

The training programme needed reading materials for its courses, and the Centre has now prepared eight Modules in support of its work. These have, for the most part, been written by highly qualified African specialists in Guidance and Counselling, who have had wide experience working in different countries of the continent. They, therefore, take into careful consideration African culture, conditions and constraints. Special emphasis was given to the problems of girls and young women, and to the educational guidance they need to help them remove the many obstacles to their progress, and prevent them from contributing fully to social and economic development. The modules have been used extensively in the Centre's training programmes, and subsequently underwent revision. They can be used, not only in training courses for teacher educators and social workers, but also by practising teachers working in schools, and by the general readers wishing to learn more about guidance and counselling. A set of these Modules are now available for a contribution of US $ 50, excluding postage.

The Modules are as follows:

Module 1. Guidance


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This module provides a comprehensive overview of the development of Guidance, first in the western world, from the end of the 19th century and throughout the 20th, and in Africa from the middle of the 20th century onwards. The various ways of helping young people to choose occupations, find employment, and plan their careers, are explored. Practical advice is given on how to apply for a job, prepare a curriculum vitae, write letters of application, and prepare for an interview. The many, and often new, problems facing young people in the modern world: such as stress, drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (including AIDS), delinquency and suicide, are covered in detail, and ways of dealing with them are proposed. The importance of human rights, in the making of career and occupational decisions, is highlighted. The use, and sometimes the limitations, of different kinds of tests for evaluating an individual's ability, and suitability, for certain occupations, are dealt with at length. The need for enterprise education as a means of encouraging entrepreneur-ship, and preventing unemployment, is given special emphasis. Advice is also given on how to provide appropriate information, and library facilities, for young people looking for job vacancies, and career opportunities.

Module 2. Counselling


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This module explains how counselling has existed for a long time in all parts of the world. In Africa it has many forms, which often differ when it is for boys, and for girls. Families and communities, as well as schools, often play an important part in providing it. Today there are many definitions of counselling, and the main ones are given in the module. Various counselling techniques and skills are described, and students are encouraged to practise them. Peer counselling is given particular attention.

The use of groups in counselling is dealt with extensively, and suggestions are given on how to form groups, select members for inclusion, conduct group work, and deal with any problems that might arise. Ways of evaluating group work are suggested. The importance of ethical behaviour, and adherence to strict ethical standards, on the part of the counsellor, is also stressed.

Module 3. Social Work


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This module defines the basic principles of social work, and gives comprehensive guidance to the social worker, and lists the ethical rules that should be followed. The role and structure of the family in Africa, and the differences between the nuclear, and extended, family are explained. Other types of family composition are also described in detail. The major problems met in families, and with which a social worker may be expected to deal, include child abuse, teenage pregnancy, alcoholism, domestic violence, divorce, separation and death, homelessness, and acute poverty. Strategies are suggested for dealing with these problems, and for the rehabilitation of those affected by them. Case studies are given which provide examples of the kind of problems the social worker may be asked to solve. The impact of the local and national culture, the social structure, and attitudes to the role of girls and women, on social work, are all discussed. The means of establishing efficient social welfare services are outlined, along with ways of making adequate provision for the needs of vulnerable and marginalized groups, such as the disabled, the elderly, orphans, the unemployed, the sick and the very poor. Approaches to, and the management of, social work programmes are described.

Module 4. Behaviour Modification.


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Good and bad behaviour is a matter of concern, not only to school teachers, but also to families, parents, and other members of the community. Patterns of behaviour may be influenced by individual differences, disabilities, the environment, and sex differences, etc. This module provides a definition of behaviour, and lists behaviour differences, as well as those which may be found in family patterns, in culture, religion and in schooling. The behaviour problems of pupils in schools, that teachers commonly face, are carefully listed, and ways of changing or modifying them are proposed. Co-operation with the community, and with the pupil's parents and family, in changing behaviour, is also necessary. The distinctions between non-assertive, assertive and aggressive behaviour are analyzed, and the training required to bring about any changes are indicated. The practical measures which can be used to diagnose behaviour problems, such as the study of biographical data and holding of interviews, and the recommended techniques for bringing about change, are all described.

Module 5. Gender Sensitivity


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The failure to provide adequate access to learning opportunities and advancement for girls and women in Africa, continues to be a matter of great concern to all those engaged in social and economic development. This module, therefore, is intended to provide educators, and social workers, with the essential information on what has already been done, and what needs to be done, to accelerate change and improve the situation. The module begins with a description of the concepts of 'gender' and 'sex', and considers those sex-role stereotypes, which have, for so long, hampered efforts to promote the involvement of girls and women in social and economic development. The wide gap between male and female literacy; the greater risk of infection by females from the HIV/AIDS virus in sub-Saharan Africa; the longer working day endured by girls and women; the failure to involve women in decision-making processes and to allow them to hold high office; and the low priority given to maternal health services, all militate against the establishment of an equal and prosperous society. The module lists all the major steps that have been taken since The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 to the 4th Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995. to redress the situation with regard to women, though much still remains to be done. Suggestions are, therefore, given to teachers on what they can do in schools to improve the education of girls, and to reduce all forms of discrimination against them.

Module 6. Workshop Administration and Conduct Guidelines


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This module was proposed by a consultant (Ms Wilma Guez) with wide experience in the organization, and administration of workshops in all parts of the world, including Africa. The module describes, in careful detail, all the necessary steps that need to be taken before, during, and after, a workshop, to ensure that it reaches its goals successfully. It stresses the importance of taking into account the particular needs of adult learners, and of establishing clear objectives to be met. The many administrative tasks that need to be carried out before the workshop opens are listed. Advice is given on how to open a workshop, and to ensure the maximum involvement of all the participants. Possible instructional techniques are suggested, along with ways in which instructors can improve their lecturing skills. Various teaching aids, which can promote learning, are listed, along with their respective advantages, and disadvantages. The need to evaluate the success, or otherwise, of the workshop is stressed, and the means of doing this are described. A useful appendix contains samples of an invitation letter, a registration form, information sheet, supply checklist, and evaluation form, for use in organizing a workshop. Various activities for encouraging the participants to get to know each other are also included.

Module 7. Adolescent Reproductive Health


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Since Africa is the continent worst affected by the scourge of AIDS, and the loss of huge numbers of young people, and teachers, from the disease is seriously affecting social and economic development, the need for competent instruction in Adolescent Reproductive Health is desperately needed. Deep-seated taboos, and superstitions, about any discussion of the subject in many societies, also stand in the way of improving the situation. Schools, families, parents, communities and the media, as well as guidance counsellors and social workers, all have an important part to play in ensuring that accurate and reliable information is widely available and disseminated. This module provides the essential information needed for this purpose. It describes the physical and emotional changes that take place in boys and girls, during adolescence, and suggests ways in which young people can be prepared for them, and helped to deal with them effectively. The sexual behaviour that occurs during adolescence, and the methods of providing sexual protection and avoiding the dangers of unprotected sexual relations, are all dealt with at length. The risks of adolescent pregnancy are also clearly stated, and useful advice is given to young people on how to deal with the various sexual problems with which they may be faced. The advantages of delayed marriage are also stressed.

Module 8. Guidance and Counselling Programme Development


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An effective Guidance and Counselling Programme requires personal, educational, social and vocational guidance, as well as essential services, such as information, consultation, referral, placement, career follow-up and evaluation. Teamwork, co-ordination and co-operation are also pre-requisites for the success of any programme. This module stresses the importance of an initial survey of needs before the establishment of any overall Guidance and Counselling Plan. There must be a clear definition of the objectives to be achieved, and ways of designing a schools Guidance and Counselling service must be reviewed, and means of providing support for it considered. The implementation of the programme will require considerable human, financial and political, resources, as well as community involvement, educational I tours, career fairs, workshops, library facilities, etc; and the means of ensuring that all of these are available must be sought. Evaluation is essential for deciding the effectiveness of the programme, and the types and procedures of evaluation are described.


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Request for modules should be sent to:

The Primary Education Section
Basic Education Division
UNESCO
7, place de Fontenoy
75352 Paris 07 SP
France