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JOB SATISFACTION AMONG SCHOOL COUNSELLORS IN SCHOOL IN EDO AND DELTA STATE CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Background to the study         Counselling is a field notable for its diversity and dynamism. It is influenced by diverse political, economic and social forces within the society. As a result, tremendous expansion has been witnessed in the field of counselling’s vision, mission and values with reference to the promotion of good health, family dynamics, career assessment, school adjustments, developmental tasks, ethical standards and research training. One of the major tasks of school counsellor is to educate and assist students in their overall development. In this 21st century, the job of helping students to achieve success in school and become more productive members of the society becomes challenging. According to Gysbers, Lapan and Blair (1999), today’s youth must confront a rapidly changing work world and labour force, violence in the home, school and community, divorce, teenage suicide, substance abuse, and sexual experimentation. School counsellors occupy an important position within the school system to assist students cope with these crucial issues and the normal developmental tasks adolescent face in life. There is no doubt that the degree of job satisfaction of a worker has significant effect on his/her search for alternatives or otherwise. The counsellors expect to get their salaries and other benefits as at when due, at least to satisfy their physiological needs. This may influence their decisions to be committed to work or not, and contribute towards the attainment of organizational goals. Hence, non-recognition of counsellors for excellent work done, lack of opportunities for advancement through promotion, irregular salaries and absence of in-service training among others, tend to have significant influence on the degree of job satisfaction and commitment of counsellors to schools/their clients. The role of counsellors in the school system cannot be overemphasized. They provide assistance to students through the primary interventions of counselling large group guidance, consultations and co-ordination (American School Counsellor Association (ASCA), 1999). Although each is a vital component of the comprehensive guidance programme, research has shown that more effective programmes focus on providing direct services to students in the form of individual or group counselling (Borders & Drury, 1992). The demand for school counsellors would continue to be on the increase in the face of increasing school enrolments in Nigeria, especially with the introduction of the Universal Basic Education. It is in realization of this that the Federal Government of Nigeria devoted much time to the planning and implementation of guidance and counselling programme in secondary schools. The Federal Government of Nigeria in her National Policy on Education (2004) indicates that in view of the apparent ignorance of many young people about career prospects and personality maladjustment among school children, career officers and counsellors shall be appointed to post primary institutions. Since qualified personnel in this category are scarce, government shall continue to make provision for the training of interested teachers in guidance and counselling. The thrust of this policy is that government believes that guidance and counselling is an educational service that can enhance the personal growth and psychological development of students in the school system. For counsellors to be able to provide this crucial educational service to the students, they have to be interested and willing to contribute meaningfully to the students’ personal growth and psychological development. Therefore, the study of job satisfaction among counsellors is very crucial to the improvement of productivity among school counsellors in a developing country like Nigeria. For members of an organization to discharge their duties effectively, they must be satisfied with their jobs that will bring about their commitment. Job satisfaction describes how content an individual is with his or her job. It is a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job. There are a number of factors that can influence a person’s level of job satisfaction, some of these factors include the level of pay and benefits the perceived fairness of the promotion in an organization, recognition, favourable working conditions and the job itself. The need to cater for the working conditions of school counsellors and ensure their job satisfaction in the school system becomes imperative if they are to carry out their responsibilities to the admiration of all. If they are unable to achieve their goal as counsellors, they experience feelings of inadequacy and unhappiness that may make them vulnerable to stress and job dissatisfaction. Today, one complex problem facing the schools and school counsellors is the issue of school violence as manifested in cultism in schools. Increasing incident of bullying behaviour and emotional abuse of students. School violence has become so alarming that many youths have either been killed or maimed for life. As school administrators struggle with ways to prevent acts of violence from occurring within their schools, they increasingly turn to school counsellors for leadership and help with establishing policies regarding safety (Fryxwell & Smith, 2000). Indeed, school counsellors are seen as agents of change and prevention. So, as they strive for innovative ways to help curb school violence, they may become frustrated as additional responsibilities are placed upon them. When counsellors are expected to perform roles and functions without feeling they have necessary skills, serve too many students, or be involved in other ancillary duties that detract from their primary duties, job dissatisfaction may result (DeMato, 2001). Job dissatisfaction is caused by deficit in the extrinsic ‘hygiene’ dimensions of a job, such as salary, job security and working conditions. Job dissatisfaction promotes stress, fatigue and frustration in an organization that result in low productivity. It is against this background that this study of job satisfaction among counsellors in the school system is undertaken as counsellors have always been agents of change that are called upon to help students deal with a plethora of problems and issues that are vital to the mission and vision of educational enterprise. Thus, frustration and dissatisfaction may result when counsellors are blocked from implementing new school counselling programmes or carrying out what they were trained to do. Statement of the Problem

A number of factors contribute to the job satisfaction of workers in any organisation. These include the nature of job and achievement, recognition, responsibility and advancement, status and security. These factors are also applicable to the counsellors in the school system. The level of job satisfaction contributes to how effective an individual performs his or her job. (Bacharach, Bamberger & Mitchel, 1990; Spector 1997).  Researches (i.e. Coll & Freeman, 1997; Cucharme & Martin, 2000) has also indicated that job satisfaction influence the emotional and physical well-being of an individual. Conversely, job dissatisfaction is associated with stress and burnout (Kesler, 1990; Burke & Greenglass, 1991; Martin & Schinke, 1998).

Today, the world is in dire need of development in science and technology through education. Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind in the scheme of things in which secondary education will play a key role. The counsellors in the school system need to be satisfied if they are to play their expected role. Therefore, the implication is that without improving the working conditions of counsellors and making them satisfied, the probable result is that very few of the educational aims can be properly achieved.

The role of school counsellors in the educational process has been a matter of public interest. It is in recognition of this vital service in the educational enterprise that the government has embarked on the training and retraining of school counsellors through seminars, conferences, workshop and in-service courses. School counsellors serve dual purposes by engaging in other ancillary functions, including teaching of different subjects in addition to their primary functions of counselling students. At times, there are cases of counsellors being assigned as full-time teachers to the classroom thereby relegating to the background their professional responsibilities. The implication is that the demands of the office of a school counsellor within the educational structure create strain and stress, which have given rise to the question as to whether secondary school counsellors experience job satisfaction.

A number of problems face Nigeria’s educational system, which tend to have negative effects on the degree of counsellors job satisfaction. These include: current pressure from working with more challenging students and needs, increased administrative and managerial tasks, time constraint, shortage of funds, increased counsellor-student ratios, and inadequate facilities. But the impact of all these on the counsellors’ job satisfaction has not been systematically investigated in Nigeria.

The study of job satisfaction among teachers has been widely researched (e.g. Nwagwu, 1981; Arubayi; 1981, Okoro, 1988), the studies have indicated that majority of teachers are satisfied with their jobs. However, little is known about job satisfaction of school counsellors (e.g. Eddy 1960; Miler & Muthard 1965; Alao, Olaniyi & Kobiowu, 1989 and Demato, 2001; Demato and Curcco, 2004). To this extent, it becomes imperative to investigate job satisfaction among school counsellors in secondary schools in Edo and Delta States of Nigeria.

Research Questions

In an effort to address the problem of study, the following research questions were raised.

i.        What is the level of job satisfaction expressed by secondary school counsellors in Edo and Delta States?

ii.        Which of the following dimensions of the counselor’s job: (promotion, job tenure, salary, social support and supervision contribute to job satisfaction of school counsellors?

iii.        Is there any difference in job satisfaction between male and female counsellors?

iv.        Is there any difference in job satisfaction among old, average and young counsellors?

v.        Is there any difference in job satisfaction between married and single counsellors?

vi.        Is there any difference in job satisfaction between experienced and inexperienced counsellors?


The following hypotheses were raised to guide the study.

(i)                  There is no significant difference between male and female counsellors in their levels of job satisfaction.

(ii)                 There is no significant difference among old, average and young counsellors in their levels of job satisfaction.

(iii)                There is no significant difference between married and single counsellors in their levels of job satisfaction.

(iv)There is no significant difference between experienced and inexperienced counsellors in their levels of job satisfaction.

Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study was to investigate the level of job satisfaction among school counsellors in secondary schools in Edo and Delta States of Nigeria. The level of job satisfaction plays a vital role in the way and manner an individual performs his or her job in an organization. Job satisfaction is necessary to ensure continuous and high quality services to school children and the adults who work with them.

Specifically, the study assessed the dimensions of job satisfaction, that is, promotion, job tenure, salary, social support and supervision with a view to determining which of them significantly contribute to job satisfaction of school counsellors.

This study also examined some demographic variables that could affect job satisfaction among school counsellors. These include sex, age, marital status and years of counselling experience.

Significance of the Study         

The finding of this study will contribute to the body of knowledge and increase information in the area of job satisfaction of school counsellors. Therefore, it will be of immense importance to the educational sector in general and the counselling profession in particular.

It would highlight to the educational planners and administrators the need to have qualified counsellors who are satisfied with their jobs in view of the fact that counsellors who are satisfied with their jobs will be more prone to exhibit the kind of behaviour needed to promote the personal growth and development of the students which is their primary responsibility.

The study would also assist various levels of government-federal, states and local in the areas of planning, policy formulation and programme implementation pertaining to secondary school counsellors’ job satisfaction since a satisfied counsellor is believed to be a productive and dedicated worker.

Counsellor educators will be provoked by the findings of the study to engage in more research work on job satisfaction among school counsellors. This will help to produce more empirical studies in the field of professional school counselling.

The study would be of great assistance to post-primary school board, school principals and counsellors themselves in having a clearer perception of the variables affecting job satisfaction and evaluating the secondary school counselling programme with a view to ensuring that counsellors are regularly supervised and adequately catered for in the school system.

Scope of the Study

This study was essentially designed to investigate the level of job satisfaction among secondary school counsellors in Edo and Delta States of Nigeria. To this end, this study was limited to the professional school counsellors in public secondary schools in Edo and delta states. The aspects of job satisfaction investigated included promotion, job tenure, salary, workers’ social support and supervision.

This study did not cover other aspects of job satisfaction i.e. achievement, recognition administrative atmosphere and organizational practices. Also, the study did not include private secondary schools because they are different from public secondary schools in terms of conditions of service of counsellors and administrative control.

Definition of Terms

For ease of understanding, the following terms are defined in the context in which they are used in this study:

Job Satisfaction: The degree to which a counsellor is pleased by the work content and conditions of service in terms of salaries, fringe benefits and allowances.

Conditions of Service: The conditions provided in the service for the purpose of regulating appointment, promotion and discipline of counselling staff by the Ministry of Education.

Inexperienced Counsellor: A counsellor with less than ten years of working experience in the field.

Experienced Counsellor: A counsellor that has ten years or more working experienced in the field.

Old counsellor: Counsellor above the age of 44 years

Average counsellor: A counsellor who is 25-44 years of age

Young counsellor: A counsellor who is less than 25 years of age

Public School: A school built and owned by the government.


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