The Perplex of Guidance and Counseling Services for Higher Education Students in Eritrea
Keywords:Guidance and counseling services, support systems, students’ counseling needs, conservative attitudes
Students’ wellbeing at colleges and universities lies at the center of higher education student services provided by the institutions. Personal, social, educational, and other mild mental and emotional problems are unavoidable and intertwined with the day to day college students’ life burdens. The paper explored the state of guidance and counseling services and the support system provided to students, the major functions of the center at the colleges, the attitudes of the college students towards the guidance and counseling service, and the students’ counseling needs in higher education institutions. The study involved 217 college students and 30 staff members from the College of Education, College of Engineering and College of Science. The study used descriptive survey design combining quantitative and qualitative research approaches using questionnaire and focus group discussion data collection techniques. The data are analyzed using thematic and descriptive ways of analyses. Coming from different socio-economic and academic backgrounds, the students are not receiving proper guidance and counseling services at the colleges. The study identified the core functions of the counseling center and the gaps of student support systems. The students’ counseling needs are prioritized according to the students’ ratings. However, counseling profession in the Eritrean socio-cultural context is very challenging task for multitude factors including the socio-cultural perspective towards the profession, the depth of the training of counselors, and challenge of conceptualizing and contextualizing the western theories of counseling to the Eritrean context.