DETERMINANTS OF CAREER CHOICE AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
- BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The importance of education to the development of human society cannot be overemphasized. Joseph Addison, writing as far back as 1711, notes “what sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the soul”. This is in consonance with the many years long statement of Epictetus (100 CE) that “only the educated are free” (Awake! December 22, 2000).
Flowing from the above, the whole of human progress is now being hinged on the ever-growing influence of good education. Today, good education is seen as a basic need of man. Rather than viewing it as an unachievable luxury, many perceive it as a right of both children and adults. Studies have shown that quality education encourages individual participation, expands peoples’ knowledge of the world around them, and provides them with values that can transform their lives.
According to Kornblum (1994), education “is the process by which a society transmits knowledge, values, norms and ideologies and in so doing prepares the young people for adult roles; in other words, it transmits the society’s culture to the next generation”. He opined that education is a form of socialization that is carried out by institutions outside the family such as schools, colleges, pre-schools and adult education centres. Each of these, as Korublum rightly noted, is an educational institution which encompasses a set of statuses and roles designed to carry out specific education functions.
In most modern societies, education is provided as a social service for the general population for the purpose of educating and providing enlightenment for the people. Through education, skills are acquired and this enables a country to develop.
More than ever before, education is gaining more prominence in the affairs of Nigerians. It is seen as a way of answering many questions and solving a myriad of problems. More funds are being committed to education both by the government and private citizens. As a result, there is a greater demand for probity and accountability. Enlightened parents are now insisting on the maintenance of standards and assurance of adequate measures of quality control to guarantee reliability in the educational system. This reliability can be enhanced through guidance and counseling towards a career choice which the child is good at.
Choice of career could be defined as selecting carefully between alternatives. Choice of career is an occupational decision making. Choice of career is very important in the life of any human being, especially among the secondary school leavers. This is because; career choice is geared towards specialization in the Sciences or Arts.
Career can be referred to as the number of occupations, jobs and positions occupied throughout a person’s working life in a specific area developed over a period of time with the aim of reaching its apex after making invaluable contributions to the development of that choosing area at various levels posts or positions. Career development is not static, but changes. Career decision determines to a very large extent the entire life style of the an individual, including: social status, value system, income, leisure time activities, choice of friends, mental or physical health, etcetera. It determines how satisfied or frustrated an individual will be in life.
A career is more than a job. lt is a way of life especially when we consider an individual’s personal characteristics such as desires, interest, needs, goals, abilities, etc, and the social and physical condition of society.
A person who merely moves from one job to another simply because of increasing salaries or fat pay packets has no career. On the other hand, a person who begins his life as a Nurse in the Hospital and finally becomes a Medical Doctor has a career. Therefore, an individual makes a career decision when he decides to enter into one type of work such as: Medicine, Engineering, etc, and progresses through it.
Careers produce professionals or experts. They do not make room for a Jack of all trades, but master of none. Without Education there can be no careers. Through Education, learners are exposed to subjects in the Sciences and Arts.
These subjects are combined to make careers. Careers are achieved through subject areas taught in schools.
Mathematics and English Language are needed in almost every career. They are very important, and should not be feared, but be embraced naturally. Most subjects are interwoven, and this makes learning flexible and enjoyable.
A wide range of occupation is open to every person. The problem of choosing a career is mostly experienced in developing countries of the world. In developed countries, the child is free to pursue any course of his/her choice. The world choice and career are linked together because one cannot pursue a career without choosing a particular set of subjects in the senior secondary school leading to a career.
A career is said to cover the sequence of positions, jobs or occupations in the life of an individual, that is his /her working life. It is the total pattern of jobs held during a workers lifetime.
It can also be defined as the process of dynamic change, which embraces both the pre-occupational and post retirement years of the individual’s life in service.
The layman could use the word career and occupation to mean the same thing. Occupation could be the individual’s main source of earning a leaving that is what he is engaged in at a particular time e.g. teaching, farming etc. One does not just engage himself in any activity or occupation in the name of attaining a goal, rather one has to choose certain subjects leading to pursuit of a career in which he/she is good at. Thus in choosing a career, one should take to that which he feels he is good at, for his/her own benefit and that of the society at large.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
It has been observed that most secondary school students are faced with the problem of choosing a career. This is due to mainly the lack of guidance and counseling services in the schools. They make choice on their own depending on the subject that is being offered and taught in school.
- PURPOSE OF STUDY
The purpose of this study is to investigate, identify and examine the determinants of career choice among secondary school students in Oshimili local government area of Delta state.
At the end of this study, the researcher would be able to determined the extent of the problems and proffer suggestions that will help the students in making valuable and meaningful choice of career rather than making a wrong choice determined outside their interest, capability and talent.
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will facilitate the act of making choice among many opportunities available, since it is aimed at looking at the problems the secondary school students face in making their choice of career. The result of this study will give an educationist an insight into the problem and also help counselors in guiding students to make a more realistic occupational choice, limiting frustrations and withdrawals.
The findings of this study will further assist the students in making the rightful choice of career and also help those students to lay good foundations for themselves in their field of interest, ability and talent that will invariably develop the child physically, intellectually and emotionally to become useful to him/herself and the society at large.
Lastly, the findings of this study will serve as reference material for students of education, the reading public and those who wish to conduct further research in this area.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In an attempt to find the solution to the problem above, the following research questions were postulated for study.
- Do the students’ aptitude, ability and interest determine their choice of career?
- Can peers and associates influence students’ choice of career?
- Does Guidance and counseling in schools determine students’ choice of career?
- Can the subjects studied in schools determine the students’ choice of career?
1.6 DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
- Occupational choice: This refers to psychological preference or desires the individual has regarding work status. It is the continuing process of occupational selection resulting in the eventual attainment of the occupational status.
- Adolescent: Those between the ages of 12-18years of age.
- Peer group: This refers to age group of students. It means the association of, or the social relationship between people who fall within the same age range.
- Career: This means the choice of occupation.
- Occupational Aspiration: This refers to aspiration for a high or low prestige level of job.
- Talent: Any natural or special gift, aptitude eminent ability short of genius.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study was designed to examine the determinants of careers choice among secondary school students in Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State with special focus on public secondary schools. It was not possible to use all the public secondary schools in Oshimili South Local Government Area of the State, therefore six were selected for this study. Twenty students which will be randomly selected from each of the six schools are expected to be used for the research.