A Qualitative Evaluation of the Guidance and Counselling Programe in Selected Secondary Schools in North Eastern Trinidad.
This multi-site qualitative case study used Stufflebeam’s Context, Input, Process and Product evaluation model to explore how the guidance and counselling programme was meeting the personal/social, career and academic development needs of students. The perspectives of various educational stakeholders from four different school types in the North Eastern Education District of Trinidad and Tobago were sought. In each school a guidance officer, two teachers, two parents and four students were interviewed. A senior guidance and counselling official was also interviewed. The theory of Human Development and the Human Development Paradigm served as the theoretical framework encompassing Youth Development, Social Justice and the 5Cs of Positive Youth Development. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews, document analysis, classroom observations, a reflexive journal, and emails. Data analysis revealed that the programme was meeting the students’ needs to a certain extent, however, it was hampered by several challenges, for example, it was not fully integrated into all the schools, classes were not always regularly scheduled, and there was limited stakeholder collaboration. The programme is aligned to international standards and various strategies were employed in its implementation. Minor adaptations were made to its delivery across school types. The programme helped with personal/social, career and academic issues to different extents. Mixed views about the programme’s assistance with human and youth development and social justice were expressed. Recommendations include conducting a new national needs assessment, increasing the number of guidance officers, and having a more equitable distribution of resources. The recommendations, however, may only lead to improvements if Trinidad and Tobago’s stratified, post-colonial education system is reformed since the programme is part of the larger educational framework.