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Title: An investigation into perceptions of the actual and ideal role of school counsellors in Saudi Arabia girls’ schools
Author: Al-Ghamdi, Nawal G.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2683 891X
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2010
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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has moved into a new era characterised by frequent and rapid change. As a result, the nation has to cope with these changes by updating requirements in all fields. Many factors in Saudi society have led to a need for psychological and counselling services in educational institutions. Nevertheless, school counsellors in Saudi Arabia face many obstacles that confront their performance. Since the service was established in 1981, concerns remain that the role of school counsellors is unclear, professional training is insufficient, and facilities and cooperation from other staff are inadequate. The aim of this study was to determine the perceptions of principals, teachers and counsellors concerning the actual and ideal role of intermediate girls school counsellors in Saudi Arabia. The study further aimed to identify the problems that face intermediate school counsellors and factors that impede them in offering a good service. Information was collected from a questionnaire survey conducted in 209 public intermediate schools for girls in Jeddah city in Saudi Arabia. Responses were received from 180 counsellors, 126 principals and 237 teachers. The questionnaire data were complemented by semi-structured interviews with 10 counsellors, 8 principals and 12 teachers. The data were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) programme. Descriptive statistics involving, paired t-tests, t-tests, one way ANOVAs and Least Significant Differences Method (LSD) tests were used for the analysis. The findings point to a growing awareness of the importance of the guidance and counselling programme in meeting the needs of students. Despite this, there were numerous differences among counsellors, principals and teachers regarding the role of the counsellor which suggest role conflict and ambiguity surrounding the counsellor’s role. Additionally, significant discrepancies were identified between perceptions of the ideal and actual counsellor’s role. Many functions were seen as being performed less frequently than their perceived importance would warrant, indicating a substantial gap between expectations and the reality of the service. Counsellors cited many difficulties that constrained their work, including lack of clarity in the counsellor’s role and excessive administrative and clerical duties, deficiencies in professional training, and poor levels of parental support and cooperation. Finally, after drawing the conclusions of the study, suggestions and recommendations are offered for improving the quality of counselling services in Saudi schools. Interviewees, for example, highlighted a requirement for improved training for counsellors and explicit professional standards, the importance of counsellors being properly qualified, the need for lower counsellor-student ratios, and increased awareness among all those concerned, especially, parents. Some of them raised the need for a theoretical framework for counselling based on the Saudi culture, rather than simply emulating Western theory and practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available