RECRUITS’ AND OFFICERS’ PERCEPTION OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING PROGRAMME IN THE PARAMILITARY ESTABLISHMENT: A CASE STUDY OF THE NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE TRAINING COLLEGE, GILGIL

ABSTRACT
Since 1970s, there has been a tremendous growth of counselling services in Kenya. The National Youth Service (NYS) is a department in the Office of the Vice President and Ministry of Youth Affairs. The Basic Paramilitary Training Programme exposes recruits to psychosocial problems hence need for counselling services. Recruits‟, servicemen/women‟s and officers‟ perception of the effectiveness of guidance and counselling programme determines it‟s implementation and success in NYS. If they have a positive perception on the effectiveness of guidance and counselling programme, they would play a significant role in ensuring that recruits benefit from the services. The purpose of this study was to determine the recruits‟ and officers‟ perception on the effectiveness of guidance and counselling programme in the paramilitary establishment. This was a case study of National Youth Service, Gilgil Training College. The study used the ex post facto research design. The target population was all NYS officers, servicemen and women and recruits. The college had a population of 242 Paramilitary training officers, 10 vocational school principals, 10 officer counsellors, 856 servicemen and women and 2473 recruits. A sample of 24 paramilitary training officers, 2 vocational school principals, 2 officer counsellors, 86 service men and women, and 252 recruits were selected through stratified and simple random sampling procedures. The required data were collected through questionnaires. The questionnaires were administered to the respondents after being pilot tested for validity and reliability. Pilot study was done at the NYS Naivasha field unit. The following reliability indices were obtained; 0.70 for Servicemen/Women Questionnaire, 0.71 for Vocational School Principals‟ Questionnaire, 0.73 for Officer Counsellors‟ Questionnaire, 0.83 for Paramilitary Officers‟ Questionnaire and 0.90 for Recruits‟ questionnaire. The questionnaires were also subjected to scrutiny by the researcher and supervisors to establish their validity. Descriptive statistics included percentages, means and frequencies which were used to analyse the data on recruits‟ and officers‟ perception of the guidance and counselling programme. Inferential statistics included t-test and Pearson coefficient test used to test the hypotheses of the study. The posited hypotheses were tested at 0.05 alpha level of significance. The computer based Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) windows version 11.5 was used to analyse the data collected. The findings of the study revealed that the guidance and counselling programme was perceived positively by all NYS stakeholders. The study thus recommended that there was need to offer more appropriate training to officer counsellors and provide the necessary adequate resources for effective service delivery.

CHAPTER ONE:
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Guidance and counselling services can be traced from the early civilization of Grecian societies where philosophers, priests and other representatives of the gods and religions assumed the function of advisers and offered counsel (Mutie and Ndambuki, 1999). The emphasis was laid on developing the individual through education so that each could fulfill a particular role reflecting his greatest potential for himself and society. The Greek „counsellors‟ were also philosophers. Plato is recognized as the earliest individual to organize psychological insight into a systematic theory in relationship to moral issues, education, society and theoretical perspective (Makinde, 1984).

In Kenya, as in most other developing countries in Africa, formal guidance and counselling as a profession is a concept of the 1970s. Makinde (1984) articulated that although the assumption is that guidance and counselling did not exist in developing countries such as Kenya and Nigeria prior to the introduction of western education, it is important to highlight the role of traditional African practitioners in preventing suicidal attempts, behavior change and psychological checks as was instilled through African poetry, music and religious therapy. The National Youth Service (NYS) is a department in the Office of the Vice President and Ministry of Youth Affairs established in 1964 by an Act of Parliament. It is mandated to train young Kenyans in national building activities and practical skills in various important fields, thus reducing unemployment and poverty in Kenya (Miles, 1979).

Omondi (2005) noted that the Kenyan National Youth Service Programme has over the years produced steady streams of technically qualified young Kenyans who understand their community well. National Youth Service graduates are prepared to devote their talents to the improvement of the well being of their countrymen. The creation of the Kenya National Youth Service was among the first policies of independent Kenya, which were implemented in late 1963. The whole of NYS was envisaged as a training operation that would prepare its members for later employment or self-employment. In April 1964, a directorate was formed and in August of that year the first group of male recruits was admitted. From 1966 onwards, girls were admitted in the service (Oud, 1987).

In the year 2003, the Ministry of Education banned the use of corporal punishment as a major mode of discipline in schools. Therefore the schools have had to look for alternative ways of instilling discipline and enhancing learning among the young people and one of them was through guidance and counselling programme in schools. The Children‟s Act (2001) states that it is the right of each child to receive education irrespective of his/her background. The report of the Task Force on Implementation of Free Primary Education (Ministry of Education Science and Technology- MOEST, 2003) recommended that guidance and counselling would play an important role in rehabilitating and helping most of these school children to fit in the formal school system. The rationale for guidance and counselling in learning institution was based on the molding of character and prevention of problems so as to create a conducive environment for learning in which interpersonal, intrapersonal and academic domains of the youths are addressed (Kariuki, 2002).

Omondi (2005) noted that most of the government departments existed prior to independence. Expansion or alteration may have been necessary, but the foundation was there and if anyone spoke of, for instance, Veterinary Department or the Police had a mental picture of what such an organization was supposed to perform. The Kenyan National Youth Service, on the other hand was something entirely new. Kenya National Youth Service Act of 1965 was embodied with general definition of the functions of the service as follows:

“The function of the service shall be the training of young citizens (15-30 years) to serve the nation and the employment of its members in tasks of national importance and otherwise in the service of the nation” (Oud, 1987, P.25).

It was also decided that the service must be a working force, carrying out projects of economic significance that are too large or too difficult to be tackled by the people on community development or self-help basis. Additionally, since Kenya‟s economy depends mainly on agriculture, provisions were made to give the National Youth Service land on which to farm and help to feed itself, while exposing its members to some practical experiences in Agriculture.

Training, either formal or on-the-job, would be given at every NYS unit. The service would have only a core of fully salaried officers and technical personnel (Njuguna, 2005)

Kenya has a population of about 34 million people with an estimated annual growth rate of 2.1%. More than half of the population (52%) constitutes children, adolescents and youths up to 30 years of age. About 56% of the total population (about 18 million people) are considered to be absolutely poor and are largely unable to afford basic services including education, health and shelter. Poor and vulnerable youths (15-30 years old) make up about 5.5 million of the population (Omondi, 2005). Due to high poverty rate, a rising number of HIV/AIDS orphans, difficult access for the poor to formal education, vocational training and lack of future perspectives, many children and youths are driven to the streets where they are confronted with the risk of severe social and economic exclusion (Njuguna, 2005).

The Governance, Justice, Law, and Order Sector (GJLOS) Reform Update (2005) revealed that about 20,000 children and youth live or work in the streets of Nairobi alone. They regard the street as their home; they fend for their survival with high risk of exploitation, drug abuse, HIV- infections and other diseases. They are in a state of hopelessness and are causing insecurity and concern to people walking on the streets. Omondi (2005) reported that in order to arrest this situation, the Government of Kenya decided in early 2003 to rehabilitate street children and families. National Youth Service was to carry out this task. The first batch of 300 street youths were enlisted in April 2003 and introduced to the first phase of a basic training programme to transform them to obedient team players with good conduct. The department designed a training programme for the street youths to meet the following objectives: To produce disciplined, skilled and self-reliant youths through the aforementioned training, which was done through three phases namely; basic training that lasted six months, serving the Kenyan nation which took between six to eighteen months and the final stage was vocational training that involved skills development and capacity building of the youth in various technical trades such as artisans and craft courses (Omondi, 2005).

Statement of the Problem
National Youth Service recruits and servicemen/women are exposed to overwhelming social, psychological and educational challenges which, if not well handled, may affect their academic performance, self actualization and development. Basic training which is discipline induction training is designed to transform the individual to one that is acceptable, obedient, team player and good behaviour. Guidance and counselling programme and spiritual sessions are used to mould the individuals to be of good character who would become constructive responsible youths in NYS. (Omondi, 2005).

The Ministry of Education in Kenya has directed all learning institutions to implement guidance and counselling programme so as to assist learners in addressing the above challenges and enable them to fully utilize their potentials. The success of guidance and counselling programme in NYS will depend on the nature of perception of the NYS officers on the implementation of the guidance and counselling programme. If they have a positive perception on guidance and counselling programme, they will play a significant role in ensuring that recruits and servicemen/women benefit from the guidance and counselling programme. The recruits‟ and officers‟ perception on the effectiveness of guidance and counselling programme in NYS College was the main concern of the study.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to determine recruits‟ and officers‟ perception on the effectiveness of guidance and counselling programme in the paramilitary establishment. A case of NYS College Gilgil.

Objectives of the Study
In order to achieve the purpose of this study, the following objectives were used to guide the study:

i. To determine whether there is a statistically significant difference between recruits‟ and paramilitary officers‟ perception on the effectiveness of guidance and counselling programme in paramilitary establishment.

ii. To determine whether there is a statistically significant difference between servicemen‟s and women‟s perception on the effectiveness of guidance and counselling programme.

iii. To determine whether there is a statistically significant difference on paramilitary officers‟ perception on the effectiveness of guidance and counselling programme and paramilitary training programme of recruits on behaviour change.

iv. To determine whether there is a statistically significant difference between the officer counsellors‟ and vocational school principals‟ perception on the guidance and counselling programme in the NYS College.

1. 5 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses were tested at 5% level of significance:

H01 There is no statistically significant difference between the recruits‟ and paramilitary officers‟ perception on guidance and counselling programme in paramilitary establishment.

H02 Servicemen and women have no statistically significant perception difference on guidance and counselling programme‟s services.

H03 There is no statistically significant difference of paramilitary officers‟ perception on the effectiveness on guidance and counselling programme and paramilitary training programme of recruits on behaviour change.

H04 There is no statistically significant difference between the officer counsellors‟ and vocational school principals‟ perception on the guidance and counselling programme in the NYS College.

Significance of the Study
In order to assess the recruits‟ and NYS officers‟ perception of the effectiveness of guidance and counselling programme in paramilitary establishment, it was important to understand knowledge and appreciation of the role of guidance and counselling programme in NYS College. The study recommendations would therefore be significant in helping the policy makers and social planners in making or re-evaluating existing guidelines to help recruits and officers understand the importance of guidance and counselling to individual growth, development and social interaction.

Further, it was anticipated that the findings of this study would provide useful information to professionals such as social workers, probation officers, NYS officers, clergy and educators, all of whom are charged with the responsibility of training, guiding, counselling and rehabilitating the youths. The findings of this study could also assist the education policy planners in implementing, strengthening and allocating adequate resources and facilities to the guidance and counselling programme in the NYS colleges. Results also could be used to review the basic paramilitary training programme of the recruits so as to emphasize guidance and counselling programme as an essential component of their training. The study findings could provide useful information to the Department of Children‟s Services for the proper training of young Kenyans in nation building activities, vocational training and practical skills in various important fields thus reducing unemployment and poverty in Kenya.

Assumptions of the Study
The study was conducted under the following assumptions:

i. Information provided by the vocational school principals, paramilitary officers, officer counsellors, servicemen/women and recruits in their respective questionnaires were genuine indicators of their perception of the effectiveness of guidance and counselling programme in paramilitary establishment.

ii. The respondents in the selected sections cooperated with the researcher to enable the study be carried out as planned.

iii. The respondents chosen for the study had adequate knowledge of the effectiveness of guidance and counselling programme in the paramilitary establishment.

Scope of the Study
The study was conducted at the National Youth Service Training College at Gilgil in Nakuru District. The college is one of the eighteen field units established by the Kenya Government in the whole country. The study was to determine the recruits‟ and officers‟ perception on the effectiveness of guidance and counselling programme in the paramilitary establishment. The college offers paramilitary basic training programme required to instill discipline and rehabilitate the recruits through exposing them to strenuous physical exercises, foot drill and teamwork. Hence justification for its selection as suitable for the study.

Limitations of the Study
There were limitations to this study which were as follows:

Some respondents became skeptical and un-cooperative in giving the needed information; however the researcher explained the purpose and usefulness of the study and encouraged them to open up during data collection session.

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