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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Education is universally recognized as the answer to socio-economic problems of the world. Nations and individuals look up to education to provide a cure for poverty, ignorance, drought, excessive rainfall, mental deficiency, joblessness, bad government, poor communication system, hunger and inadequate shelter among other things. Every nation of the world aspires toward quality of life and social status. Career selection is one of many important choices students will make in determining future plans. This decision will impart them throughout their lives. The essence of who the student is will revolve around what the student want to do with their life-long work. The choice of career has been a serious problem among the secondary school students in Nigeria. No matter what one’s age is, the choice of career or desire is an important question for everybody. A lot of students in secondary schools believe that their future is a glorious adventures in which they are bound to succeed. Many of them have the idea that they would be able to work in the public or private establishments as soon as they complete secondary school education. Some have planned to become lawyers, engineers, medical doctors, accountants and so on. Students in secondary schools like many other young adults are always worried about what they will do with their lives, the kind of adult they will become.

Choosing a career is often considered a major turning point in a young adult's life. This decision alone has the potential to open the door for success or close the door of opportunity. While often perceived to be an individual choice, research suggests that a variety of influences such as family, school, community, and social and economic factors are likely to manipulate one's ultimate career decision (Ferry, 2006). Among these factors, students report that parents have the greatest influence on which career they choose (Kniveton, 2004).

Few parents seem to recognize this impact and still believe that they have little to do with the career choices of their children (Taylor, Harris, & Taylor, 2004). In a study from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (Taylor, Harris, & Taylor, 2004), almost half of freshman parents stated that they believed they should remain neutral in regard to their child's career development. However, additional studies show that parents have a greater influence than teachers on career choice (Kniveton, 2004) and can even influence what major their children choose to pursue in college (Simpson, 2003). It is clear that parents believe they have less influence over their children's career decisions than the research supports. This perception seems to differ from the perception of children, who often report their parents to be of the highest influence (Ferry, 2006; Kniveton, 2004).

While parents assume that their direct career advice may be influential, they may be unaware that they can also exert a strong career influence simply by serving as examples of workers (Kniveton, 2004). In fact, children as young as five years old begin to identify with the occupation of their mother or father (Havighurst, 2004). Parents start influencing career decisions as soon as their children can pronounce their job title.

Parents have different expectations and perceptions about their children. Parents’ perception is formed by number of factors over the period of time. Those factors which shape parent’s perceptions are demographic that is age, gender, income, occupation, education, language, and psychographic that is attitudes, values, personality and interests. What majority of parents perceive their children to get education is for economic gains and one’s own wellbeing.

Those parents who have low income or meager sources of earning, they wish their children to get education and earn much in order to improve standard of living. It is harsh reality that very small numbers of parents wish their children to get education for learning purpose. The common perception of parents about their children education is “more you learn, more you earn” very few parents think of education as a source to bring change in society and improve overall morale of society. Numerous factors shape parents perception regarding children’s career choice which ultimately influences the children’s career choice. Parents with different demographic and psychographic characteristics have different expectations for the career choice of their children.

Haq (2011) states that attitudes and behaviors that children adopt toward work are largely a result of parents' encouragement and influence. This then affects what children think, say, and perceive about various careers. Most parents want their children to work for economic gain. Parental involvement in their children's education and choice of career has gained momentum recently and has been a concern of education policy makers. Hence, plenty of researches have been done in this regard at national and international level but it is matter of fact that very few focuses the insights of parents perception but only few has actually focus on the attitudes to parents. This research is aimed to investigate the attitude of parents towards career choice of secondary school students in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State.

Statement of the Problem

The problem of career choice among secondary school students has generated a lot of questions and answers among scholars. The problem has been a delicate issue that has to be approached with caution. Career choice tends to be a persistent problem for students in the contemporary society. That is why it is not uncommon for students to get into occupations that are not quite suitable to their abilities. Parental background on the other hand tends to be the single most influential factor in students career choice.

More often than not, parents owing to personal idiosyncrasies pressure their wards into taking up family occupations and other careers even when they do not possess requisite abilities. What usually obtain in the end are job dissatisfaction, underperformance if not complete malfunction, frustration and inefficiency all of which translate in the long run to national economic crisis. Therefore, this study investigates the attitude of parents towards career choice of secondary school students in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State.

Research Questions

The following research questions has been raised to guide the study:

  1. What is the relationship between the attitudes of parents towards the career choice of secondary school students based on occupation?
  2. What is the relationship between the attitudes of parents towards the career choice of secondary school students based on gender?
  3. What is the relationship between the attitudes of parents towards the career choice of secondary school students based on educational level?
  4. What is the relationship between the attitudes of parents towards the career choice of secondary school students based on age?

Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses has been formulated to guide the study:

  1. There is no significant relationship between the attitudes of parents towards the career choice of secondary school students based on occupation
  2. There is no significant relationship between the attitudes of parents towards the career choice of secondary school students based on gender
  3. There is no significant relationship between the attitudes of parents towards the career choice of secondary school students based on educational level
  4. There is no significant relationship between the attitudes of parents towards the career choice of secondary school students based on age

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to investigate the attitude of parents towards career choice of secondary school students in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State. Specifically, the study will address the following:

  1. Occupation as a correlate to the attitude of parents towards the career choice of secondary school students
  2. Gender as a correlate to the attitude of parents towards the career choice of secondary school students
  3. The attitude of parents towards the career choice of secondary school students based on educational level
  4. The attitude of parents towards the career choice of secondary school students based on age

Significance of the Study

This study will be very useful to students, parents, school administrators, guidance counsellors and educational policy makers. This study is significant in that it would expose the influence of parental attitudes on the career choice of secondary school students wherefore students could be helped to make realistic occupational choices.

From the findings of this study parents would, through PTAs (Parents-Teachers Associations), be dissuaded from compelling their children into taking up occupations that are not at par with their personal characteristics and abilities. This study will also impart on school administrators in that, it will expose them to one of the important variable (parents’ attitude) in the career choice of secondary school students which will help them in making administrative choices and plans towards ensuring a balance between the parents and their children.

Guidance counsellors will also benefit from the findings of the study since they will be guided on programmes to organize during career day so that the students could be helped in making appropriate career choices. Furthermore, educational policy makers will benefit from the study in that it will expose them to those factors that is responsible for the career choice of students in secondary schools, thereby guiding them on areas to focus on when making educational policies.

Scope/Delimitation of the Study

This study will focus on the attitude of parents towards career choice of secondary school students. The study is limited to Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State.

Operational Definition of Terms

Attitude: This is an expression of favour or disfavour toward a person, place, thing, or event

Parents: This is a person acting as a father, mother or guardian

Career Choice: This is the broad opportunities that exist for lifelong vocations. These vocations are set out in a framework of strategies moving toward personal goals.

Secondary School: This is a school which provides secondary education, between the ages of 11 and 16 or 11 and 19, after primary school and before higher education.

Student: This is a learner, or who attends an educational institution

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