Professional Guidance and Counselling Services for Open and Distance Learning Students in Nigeria
Keywords:Professional counsellors, Guidance and Counselling services, Conventional school setting, Open and Distance Learning (ODL)
Counselling services are common features in conventional school settings and are designed to help students resolve personal and academic issues, explore career options and attend to their social needs. It is of great concern that these services are absent in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) programmes, although the peculiar nature of the programmes reveals the urgent need for them. ODL students should be able to access guidance and counselling services just as their counterparts in the conventional school setting. The main focus of this article is to point out the relevance of professional guidance and counselling services in ODL programmes in Nigeria. An in-depth description of these services and the benefits ODL students can derive from accessing them is presented. In addition, the authors adapted a conceptual model to accentuate the expected output of professional counselling services. The purpose of this model is to present a clear explanation of the fact that adequate provision of professional counselling services will lead to the improved school, workplace and family environment. It is expected that this will lead to good behaviour and improved academic performance, invariably creating a safe school, out of school and workplace environment for ODL students. Recommendations include the creation of awareness programmes through online seminars and workshops to educate ODL students on various ways to access guidance and counselling services.
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