DETERMINANTS OF CAREER CHOICE AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN NIGERIA

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DETERMINANTS OF CAREER CHOICE AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN NIGERIA

2.1   CONCEPT OF CAREER

Choosing a career is not like choosing an orange from a basket. According to Weiler (1997) a Successful career seldom happen by chance with very few exception, people who really get what they want in a career do so because they define their objective plans and schedules for achieving their objectives, and assume personal responsibility for implementing and following these plans. These people monitor their progress regularly, improve their plans when they are not getting the desired result and persevere in the face of frequent set back until objectives are achieved.

Many scholars have given their own different meaning to choice and career and some have further stressed their importance and objectives of selecting a better career.

The dictionary meaning of Career is a way of making a living profession amongst career of opportunities. Many find it difficult to make choice in the sense that they lack guidance and counseling, making their choice without the help of any person. Several works have been done based on the determinant factors affecting career by students.

There are opinions expressed on this issue that are as varied as the factor which have been included in the first chapter. In the same view, there is no doubt however that there are many factors responsible for the progress of a child backwardness or retardation VIZ; genetic factors (that are inherent in the child himself) and environmental factor (from the environment where the child grew up).

2.2  NEED FOR PARENTS GUIDANCE 

Michael (2001) stated that the home provides many things for the childlike protection, guidance, shelter and encouragement. Again the home tries by all means to educate the child with the outside world by interpreting what is happening to/around him. He went further to say that the child as he/she is not yet informed of the factors and realities of life but with the help of the parents he will be very much aware of the tracks or steps to follow if he is to be useful in life.

He still maintains that the homes are marked by the persistent conflicts and divergent aims between the parents and the child who seldom gain a sense of family of unity and hence his personal security is much more precarious. This child feels poor about the background and fumbles.

The inability of some parents and guidance to provide good background and show interest in the education of their children has a vital role to play in the performance of some learners.

Unless the necessary materials are provided for the learners, all efforts made towards his/her improvement will not work out effectively. The child without learning materials would certainly lose his sense of direction. The influence of parents has been one of the strongest and the most persistent factor that determine the child attitude towards studying different school subjects and hence his choice of career.

2.3  STUDENTS ABILITY AND INTEREST

Shertzer and Stone (2003) discovered that the element of interest and ability are the basic factor influencing students in their choice of subject in the General Certificate of Education Examination and Eventual choice. According to them, lack of interest can always lead to low efficiency. Developing interest in a subject goes a long way to enhance a very high performance in any examination as a result, a good choice will help one achieve the necessary goals in one`s chosen subject and career.

Mitchell (2003) noted that the problem of career choice to be compounded by the present state of the country; inadequate professional or qualified teachers in our secondary schools to offer career guidance to the students for the child, the school should plan the subject that will lead him to a job in which there would be job satisfaction.

Nwagu (2003) Discovered that there are many reasons why majority of students drop out of institution of learning. These are due to wrong choice of subject, lack of interest, lack of formulated goals and financial constraints and some other variables.He also noted that the guidance and counseling services in many institutions also controls the students in their choice of subject for the General Certificate of Education.

Okoh (2005) believed that the 6-3-3-4 system of education in Nigeria today is a situation whereby any student who fails to pass the final examination in the junior secondary school will be forced to drop out of school to learn vocational trade which may not be in the interest of such student. Peter M. Blau et al (2001) says that occupational choice is a developmental process that extended over many years. According to them there is no single time at which young people decide upon one out of all possible career but, there are many cross roads at which their lives take decisive turns which narrow the range of further alternatives and this influence the ultimate choice of occupation.In other words, one`s chosen career ought to suit his/her occupational development. For people to achieve these goals, going to work may have fun and pursuing their personal values for those who fail to evolve their career feel trapped and frustrated at work.

Career choice therefore, implies answering questions like, what do I want, how do I go about getting what I want; The first step in career choice therefore, is being able to recognize what one wants. This is often determined by one`s value interest. The second step is reaching out for what one`s personal desire is and this is seldom realized without conscious efforts. On his part, one has to do something to happen the way he wants them happen.

In a similar development, Okeke (2003) held the motion that school subjects relevantly chosen when making a career choice and rationally balanced and studied with definite aims by any student/child at the appropriate moments could form a major factor for funding individual solution. He concluded that the school subjects shape the future choice of career and of those who pass through the paths of learning. Students should be adequately guided to choose subjects that will allow them achieve the prime objectives of education.

In Nigeria, we have catchment area with zoning and quota system. This give restriction on admission to some indigence of some areas, determining the industries to be sited. Rationalization of education/subjects courses in Delta state college of education affects students choice of career.

It is obvious that some states are richer than others and have better facilities and job opportunities that are readily available. Whether one comes from a zone with better education or job opportunities or not, will affect the type of education one can get and how far one might achieve it. The type of job the person may eventually get at the end, hence excluding him from education opportunities might lead to his exclusion from potentially meaningful jobs and this affects his choice of career.

Consequently, there is the influence of extended family system of polygamy or of large families of one religion (Christianity, Islamic or Traditional) on the choice of career.

These cultural bias make children for less individualistic and less prone to making independent lifetime decisions on choosing a career compared to their counterparts in the western countries. Although, there is the assumption that children of high income families attend good colleges and universities for studies while those of low income earners aspire to own business that would grow to highest level.

Most illiterate parents in Nigeria are interested in getting their children to make up for what they lamentably missed and that is good education for high status and well paid jobs after graduation.

This is because they are expected to provide sense of life achievement for their old parents (i.e. secure some form of social insurance for parents,) take care of their younger one`s and be source of pride in their local community. Investigation on the factors influencing student’s choice of science subjects for the general certificate of education was carried out by Ayozie (2005). His study was done in Anambra state. In his findings, he came out in finding the factors with decreasing order of magnitude as follows;

Intellectual ability and achievement

  • Occupational preferences, interests, needs and value.
  • Influence from teachers.
  • Influence from parents and relations.
  • Influence from peer group and friends.

Julie (2004) in his research found out that about eighty percent (80%) of students in Akwa wish to further their education. while 20% will want to go and find jobs. In her findings Medicine, Engineering, social science and Nursing are the most popular courses among those who which to further their education. She then observed that lack of adequate knowledge of the subjects relevant to the courses is common among majority of the students who want to further their education.

Abin (2001) studied the pattern of academic aspiration of Nigerian adolescent and found out that many adolescent choose different profession without proper consideration of their individual abilities.

His investigation also shows that age and sex has substantial effects on the largely unrealistic choice of academic and occupational pursuit. This agrees with the findings of Olayinka (1999),who found out that youths were enticed to choose subject simply because it has a high financial benefit or large measure of prestige attached to it. He also noted that many females were making in road into certain fields that were formally regarded as mans domain such as Engineering, Medicine, and Geology.

2.4  THE NEED FOR GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING UNITS IN SCHOOLS

Oboniye (2009) conducted a study on job aspiration of youths and educational provision, using 173 youths comprising of 96 boys and 77 girls within the ages of sixteen (16) and eighteen (18) years in secondary schools in Enugu State and came out with the observation that most of the student choose jobs without relating them to their interest and capability to cope with the nature/demand of the job. He therefore concluded that this was so because of the lack of proper guidance and counseling units in schools. Guidance and counseling units should be provided in schools to guide the youths in their job aspirations and in their selection of relevant school subjects rather than leaving them to rely on their parents, relations and friends for information. It is obvious that wrong choice of subject lead to having misfits in job and this deprives the nation of her real manpower needs. It is known that some parents influence the choice of career of their children. They force them to what they would not be able to do e.g. medicine, law, Engineering etc, on the other hand make them take after them so as to protect the family name.