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· Volume II Issue IV


This study looked into the realities of the guidance and counseling programs and functions in public junior high schools. These can be evaluated to find ways by which the guidance services may be strengthened. The study discussed the functions of principals and guidance counselors in supporting the guidance and counseling services of the school. As education managers, they play a vital role in ensuring the success of the guidance program as it caters to the needs of its clientele. 

The respondents of the present study were composed of 15 public junior high school principals and 15 guidance counselors, whose answers delineated the implementation of guidance and counseling programs in their respective schools. Since there were 30 respondents only, the researcher conducted an interview to support the statements of respondents revealed through the results of the instrument. 

The study used the mixed-methods approach, a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches. The quantitative part numerically answered the questions in the validated tools. The qualitative method obtained answers through the personal interview. The school principals answered an adapted research instrument to describe their characteristics, state the level of their understanding on how to strengthen the guidance and counseling functions, and detail the challenges that they experience in delivering the various services offered in their guidance and counseling programs. 

As revealed in results of the study, the guidance and counseling programs of education managers in terms of planning, organization and leadership are ascertained as “Implemented.” In general, the guidance and counseling programs of education managers in terms of controlling is “Highly Implemented.” 

These results point to the vital role that principals and counselors play in strengthening guidance services. They scrutinize these services through needs analysis and evaluation. The teachers and guidance counselors work harmoniously with principals. Furthermore, the school continues to improve itself through a well-studied Annual Improvement Plan which includes partnership with external and internal stakeholders. 

All this can be enhanced through information campaign. In this respect, the guidance office prints flyers for upcoming events. For continuous improvement, there should be a periodic monitoring and supervision of the guidance programs and services to determine their effectiveness. Similarly indicated are evaluation of outcome at the end of the program, assistance in terms of trainings/seminars of personnel involved, and financial support. 

Based from the research study, the following recommendations were offered: The Department of Education is urged to create proportionate items for licensed guidance counselors to alleviate problems of students requiring their expertise. The number of guidance teachers in public schools is insufficient. The Department of Education needs to allocate ample budget to hire registered guidance counselors. Through this, students with complex needs may be helped professionally. 

Furthermore, education managers can spearhead a proposed action plan in strengthening the guidance counseling programs in public schools. Teachers, parents, and other stakeholders must support the guidance program in assuring its success to benefit its clientele. With this, success as indicator of quality service of the guidance program is likely. Lastly, the guidance office must always be conducive, free from any harm, and serve as fortress of safety and security. This is the place that the students feel safe and protected. 

Keywords: education managers, guidance and counseling, public schools, partner entities, gaps

Brief Introduction 

The low number of registered guidance counselors in the country is attributed to the high educational requirement RA 9258 sets for licensure examinees. While only a bachelor’s degree is needed to take the licensure examinations for teachers (LET), a master’s degree is required of guidance counselor examinees. To meet the requirement of the Department of Education, a total of 46,959 registered guidance counselors are needed, which means a shortage of 43,739 guidance counsellors in the basic education sector alone. 

The country, however, is experiencing a severe shortage of registered guidance counselors, making it impossible for schools to meet the standard. Since the first batch of licensure examinees in 2008, the department only had 3,220 RGCs nationwide as of July 2017. 

In 2004, Congress enacted RA 9258, professionalizing guidance and counseling with implementing rules and regulation. Article IV, Section 27 of the Code prohibits nonregistered guidance counselors from practicing guidance and counseling. Article III Section 13C requires all applicants for registration to obtain a master’s degree in guidance and counseling before taking the licensure examination. 

Guzman (2018) bewailed that few people take the licensure exam and still fewer pass it. The consequence of having few guidelines and absence of common standards in curricula of schools affects the number of registered guidance counselors. Since 2008, when the first licensure examination for guidance counselors was administered, the passing rate has ranged from 55 to 65 percent. The highest was recorded in 2009 at 72 percent, and the lowest in 2013 at 41 percent.

As of July 2017, out of 3220 professional guidance counselors in the Philippines, only 1528 got their licenses in licensure exam for guidance and counselor. The remaining 1,692 are those who qualified under the so-called grandfather’s clause that was in effect until March 2009. 

In basic education, there are very few licensed guidance counselors. Most of them are guidance teachers who double as guidance counselors. The Department of Education (DepEd) has recommended an increase in the salary of guidance counselors to be able them to entered in the public schools. Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the department will be needing more guidance counselors if the mental health bill which requires mental health education to be taught in schools is passed into law, which is likely. 

Recognizing the importance of guidance counselors in nation building, the state promotes the sustained development of licensed guidance counselors whose competence is determined by honest and credible licensure examinations and whose professional practice and service are world-class. Further, the counselors in demand are internationally recognized through regulatory measures and programs that foster continuing professional development. 

The status of guidance and counseling in the Philippines has dramatically changed in the last two decades. The need for guidance and counseling is now more pronounced in the education system because of the changing needs and the psychological, social, physical, and spiritual milieu of the Filipino people. Because of this, there is a need to carefully select and retain guidance counselors based on the provisions of the guidance law, not only to uphold the standards of the profession but most importantly to safeguard the welfare of clients. 

Guidance and counseling in public secondary schools in the Philippines has become a primordial concern especially after the ban on corporal punishment. School administrators have been given the mandate to establish and maintain effective guidance and counseling services that cater to the needs of all categories of learners including those with special needs. However, reality check reveals that guidance and counseling services are not effective in many schools. 

In the Philippines, the need to establish and provide guidance and counseling services in schools goes way back to independence from foreign rule, when the government embarked on major reforms in the education sector. Such reforms have been indicated in various government policy documents, legal guidelines in education, session papers and national development plans. 

Changes continually take place, requiring necessary adjustments and improvements. There are expanding needs of children and expectations of society which must definitely be addressed by the teaching profession. Adapting to these changes varies based on the capacity of each school. Admittedly, some schools, particularly in the public junior high school level, are adept at providing optimum requirements for students’ adjustment and development while some are still in the process of attaining it. Many factors affect the attainment of students’ adjustment and development, and these factors must be included in the programs and services that will be offered to them as the main clientele of the school. 

Sometimes, something goes wrong with a person in terms of his relationship among the family members, in the community, at the workplace, or anywhere else. A person in a soured relationship wants to see for himself why it happened, and the way to this is guidance and counseling. Solving the problems of an individual and the proper manner to relate well with one’s peers call for guidance and counseling. If a man is helped when confronted with a problem, and if he is provided with some measures to enhance his personal characteristics, the possibility of making himself a productive citizen of the country would likely materialize. It is with this perspective that schools should provide and strengthen guidance and counseling programs that could address the needs of students best. This hinges on the interest of education managers, and its success is anchored on the participation of school heads in implementing guidance and counseling services. 

Since people are people, one should teach first about people, about ideal principles of human welfare rather than vocational concerns (Newman, 2016). School is an avenue of human transformation and personality enhancement. Every school is considered a second home. The objective to transform an individual into a better person begins at home and continues in school. Owing to this, schools provide various services that address the needs of each student for personal growth and development. The objectives of schools are the very same objectives of guidance and counseling programs designed by competent people like education managers. This is the very reason why the Department of Education is ever vigilant in empowering school heads with management authority, accountability, and responsibility over their personnel including guidance counselors (Sec. 7E R.A. 9155). 

Carey (2012) states that the main purpose of education is to create opportunities for each learner, opportunities that make them reach their full potential. The education managers must ensure that guidance is an integral part of education centered directly on this function. It is the mission of the school to produce something better out of various conflicts that school heads, head teachers, teachers, and learners encounter in helping achieve national development. This is so since national development necessarily begins with human development from which human resources and material resources are derived. As schools provide projects, activities and programs that instill academic learnings, they are also concerned with social, moral, psychological, and emotional domains. Guidance and counseling program is the best example of a program that encompasses such services that develop learners holistically. 

In this light, the national government has been strongly recognizing the important functions of the guidance program in the system of education. In 1978, the Presidential Commission to Survey Philippine Education promulgated that “strong guidance and counseling services be developed and established in all secondary schools.” (PCSPE: 1978). With this mandate, the guidance and counseling program has become an inseparable element in the teaching process, intertwined into learning and teaching schemes. The guidance and counseling program behooves the teacher to focus not only on imparting knowledge but also on guiding the students such that they become self-reliant, optimistic, and property adjusted to hurdle the challenges that come their way. 

To reiterate, the success of the guidance and counseling functions depends primarily on the strong leadership of the school principals and this must include their high-quality instructional staff and supportive school community. In other words, the education manager has a significant role in creating and sustaining a positive school culture where staff morale and school spirit are high. Principals in junior high school should be more technical in creating and implementing the guidance and counseling programs. This notion is anchored on the strong demand of the K to 12 curriculum to prepare senior high school learners for what lies ahead. With skill-based guidance and counseling programs, these learners may be guided accordingly as to how they should be performing be it in college life, entrepreneurship, or employment. 

Traditionally, the guidance office was perceived as a scarecrow that would cause tumult among incorrigible students brought to the guidance office as they manifested misconduct and misdemeanor not only to their classmates but to the entire school. They were threatened by the presence of the guidance counselor, nursing a misconception that she would inflict corporal punishment to wayward students. It just is not so. 

Given these insights, this research hopes that the findings may serve to remind that the public secondary school principals, being the chairpersons of the guidance and counseling programs, must face head-on the challenge to strengthen theses services through the enhancement of their managerial functions in planning, organizing, leading, and controlling aspects. 

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