THE ROLE OF PEER COUNSELLING TRAINING ON THE STUDENTS’ PERCEPTION TOWARDS YOUTH DEVELOPMENTAL CHALLENGES IN TECHNICAL INSTITUTIONS IN UASIN GISHU COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
In the modern society and fast changing environment in which the young people grow, there is a lack of proper structures to help them cope with their developmental challenges .Peer counseling therefore is becoming an important and integral part of technical institutions educational programme in Kenya. The institutions use peer counseling training as an intervention in changing the perceptions of the students towards the youth developmental challenges. Research has established that people tend to be more open and identify more easily with their peers when dealing with issues affecting them. The significance of the study was to establish the role of peer counseling Training on the students’ perception towards youth developmental challenges. The study was guided by the social learning theory. The study adopted an ex-post facto research design and targeted students in technical institutions in Uasin Gishu County. The target population constituted of 3400 students while the accessible population was 200 students who had undertaken peer counseling training. A sample size of 60 peer counselors was selected. Questionnaires were used to collect the data. Descriptive statistics such as frequencies, percentages, means and standard variations were used to analyze the data. The findings showed that the peer training played an effective role in influencing the perceptions of the peer counselors towards youth developmental challenges. The peer counselors perceived identity crisis and HIV/AIDS as the major challenges to the youth. The conclusion from the study was That more students should be involved in the peer counseling training to provide more peer counselors to the large student community. It was also recommended that a syllabus on life coping skills be introduced for all the students in the institutions.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Peer counseling Training is the process in which students are equipped with knowledge and skills on to help fellow students seeking counseling. It is a relatively new concept in Kenya but quite popular in western countries like the united states positive peer culture ,which is practiced in the united states, is appropriate because it emphasizes on responsible behaviour consistent with the goals of institution. A “peer” in the common sense of the word a person who one meets in terms of approximate equality, a companion or fellow (Bossard, 1992)

The social and economic changes that have taken place in Kenya since the turn of the Century have shown an increasing dependence on the formal school system for custodial care , as well as formal education (Anyango, 1994).The schools however, are cognitive oriented and this has created a gap in helping the youth cope with the developmental challenges out of the classroom. Even with the 8-4-4 system of education, there is still a huge gap that begs to be filled to equip the youths in order to face life challenges out of class. This vacuum has continued to grow as the African societies modernize frontiers of knowledge break down, and the priorities of the community change, UNESCO (2002). African adults have become more concerned with earning money and are less occupied with many of traditional practices that formally contribute to the upbringing of the young people. It continues to state that there no longer a natural understandable order from birth to adulthood for the African child. According to Brewer (1997), more than ever, the youths need a caring and understanding experience to steady their minds. They need some top teach them draw a map that will guide them safely through dangerous terrains in life. In this respect how they perceive the challenges helps them avoid deviant behaviors and help them cope with academic and social issues better.

At Egerton University, peer counseling training was conceived and established as a result of students’ preference for counseling from their peers as opposed to the universities ’health center staff, because they felt that fellow students had more in common with them than the staff, (Wakube 1995). The students in technical institutions generally fall under the ages of 14 to25 years and are hence reffered to us youth in this study .According to the Draft National youth policy paper of the Ministry of home Affairs of 2002, the youth described as anyone aged between 15 and 30 years. This age group constitutes 32% of the total Kenyan population and makes up 60% of the labour force. Youths encounter various developmental challenges and need help to develop positive attitudes to bring forth responsible behaviour. Their perceptions towards these challenges influences their behaviour.

There is a gap that needs to be addressed to provide a way to help the youth in and out of class to deal with developmental challenges in life. These challenges include social, emotional and physiological issues, drugs and substances abuse, teenage pregnancies, abortions, unemployment, family life education, health and reproductive issues, HIV/AIDS, interpersonal relationships, peer pressure and identity problems. Te HIV/AIDS pandemic is pandemic is presently a threat to the youth because of having unprotected sex. There is need for education system and institutions of learning to intervene and help the youth protect themselves and equip them to play a better role in creating awareness and imparting knowledge and skills amongst themselves. Peer counseling training is perceived to be one way of effectively addressing this gap. This study was geared towards establishing the role of such training towards the youth developmental challenges. Well informed students can be used as a means of reaching out to others on a one-to-one basis of effectively educate and encourage change of behavior. It is hypothesized that the youth give a lot of weight to what their peers say and think, unlike what their parents or other adults say. Per training and dissemination of information would then give them the proper tools to educate and influence the perception of their peers.

Statement of the Problem
Many students fall into deviant behaviours like drunkedness, rampant sex, drug and substance abuse seemingly unaware of the consequences. Technical institutions have provided an opportunity for various interventions to be put in place to help the youth cope with the challenges as these challenges. One of the main interventions has been peer-counselling training programmes which equip students with knowledge and skills to deal with the developmental challenges. Peer counselors tend to be mature in behavoiur than fellow students and are role models in the institutions. Whereas technical training institutions have continued to invest in peer-counselling programmes, the role they play in shaping student perceptions towards their developmental challenges is not clear. This study therefore, sought to establish the role peer counseling Training has on the perceptions of the students towards youth developmental challenges.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of Peer Counselling Training on the perceptions of students’ perceptions towards developmental challenges that face the youth.

Objectives of the Study
The study was based on the following objectives:

i. To establish the role of the Peer Counselling Training on the students’ perception towards the youth developmental challenges.

ii. To investigate the Peer Counsellors’ perceptions towards youth developmental challenges in technical training institutions

iii. To establish the level of knowledge and skill of the Peer Counsellors regarding developmental challenges facing the youth

Research Questions
The study sought to answer the following questions:

i. What is the role of peer Counselling Training on the students’ perception towards youth developmental challenges in technical training institutions?

ii. What are the peer Counsellors’ perceptions towards youth developmental challenges in technical training institutes?

iii. What is the level of knowledge and skill of Peer Counsellors regarding developmental challenges facing the youth?

Significance of the Study
This study, would establish that Peer Counselling Training plays a role in influencing the perceptions of the students towards youth developmental challenges. That the findings would create an awareness of the importance of having peer training programmes in the learning institutions. That the study would benefit the students and the society.

Assumptions of the Study
That the Peer Counsellors had undertaken a peer counselling training programmes in college.

The Scope of the Study
The scope of the study included areas covered in the peer training programmes like HIV/AIDS, sexuality, teenage pregnancy, drug and substance abuse and gender disparity. It also looked at the role of the training on the students' perception towards youth developmental challenges.

Limitations of the Study
That the Peer Counselling Training programme would not be availed to the researcher. That the Peer Counsellors would not be readily available to answer the questionnaires and give honest answers. The dean of students were however very helpful and assisted in getting the counselors and supervision of filling the questionnaires.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 47 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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