DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS INFLUENCING CAREER ASPIRATION OF UNIVERSITY UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT
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).
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. 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.
The essence of who the student is will revolve around what the students want to do with their lifelong work. No matter ones age, 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 adventure in which they are bound to succeed (salami and salami, 2013). Many of them have the idea that they would be able to work in the public or private establishments as soon as they complete their secondary education. Student in secondary schools like many other young adult are always worried about what they will do with their lives, the kind of adult are always worried about what they will do with their lives, the kind of adult they will become. They are concerned about early entry into the occupational world and finding productive and rewarding place in and out rapidly, fast changing societies where employment is unlikely to be available on a scale sufficient to absorb more than a small fraction of the young people when they do arrive at the labour market. How the young people of today meet the problem for tomorrow will depend upon the amount of success they make in planning for that tomorrow. Today one has not only to make due career planning but also exhaustive career research before making a career choice so as to adjust with the evolving socio-economic conditions. (Wattles, 2009).
According to Kerka (2000), career choice is influenced by multiple factors which include personality, interest, self concept, cultural identity, globalization, socialization, role model, social support and available resource such as information and finances. Hewitt (2010), suggested that most people are influenced by career that their parent favour, others follow the career that their educational choice have opened for them, some choice to follow their passion regardless of how much or little it will make them; while others choose the career that gives high income. McQuaid and Bond (2003) cited that student perception of being suitable for particular jobs also has been found to be influenced by a number of factors which include ethnic background, years in school, level of achievement, choice of science subject, attitudes and difference in job characteristics. However, research show that the choice of career among secondary school student is determined by a combination of personal abilities, personality type and other factors (Okafor, 2012). This is why Onayase and Onayase, (2009) suggested an investigation into other factors which include some environmental factor such as family background, school environment, religious and peer group influence. Career according to Cambridge Advance Learner’s Dictionary (2005) refers to ‘‘job or series of job that you do during your working life’’. Thus, choosing a career simply means choosing a life job.
Choice of career could also 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.
A career is more than a job. It 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. 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.
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.
In a study by Natalie (2006), young adult through interaction with the context of family, school and community learn about and explore career which ultimately lead to their career choice. One consistent finding in research suggests that adolescent aspirations are influenced by their parent’s aspiration or expectations. Parental support and encouragement are important factors that have been found to influence career choice. Children may choose what their parents desire simply to please them (Taylor, Harris and Taylor, 2004). According to Oyamo and Amoth (2008), studies in Kenya showed that rural students tend to seek help from parents more than urban students and that parents more than teachers plays a major role in the career choice of students.
Hence, Okafor (2012) cited that generally, the choice of a career is influenced by parents, friends and counsellors. Variations occur from one population to the other. In Kenya, every secondary school student (SSS) makes their career choice before sitting for West African Examination Council (WAEC). The result of this final examination determining who Joins University since admission into careers are determined by grades obtained from it. When these students graduate from the universities, some of them enter into occupations that are totally different from the ones they had chosen and training for.
The aim of this study is to look at how gender, home background and student learning outcome influence choice of career among secondary school students in Nigeria, using some selected secondary schools in Epe Local Government Area of Lagos state as a case study.
Statement of the Problem
Nigeria is rapidly developing her technological education, which has made the society more complex than it was in the past. The number of occupation has increased greatly and also there are many careers within one occupation. For instance, farming which was a simple occupation some years ago is now a very complex occupation within many careers to choose from these included poultry, farming vegetable farming, e.t.c the implication of this is specialization. This is why the family, peer group, school environment and even the larger society influence the decision any student might make in choosing a life career. This constitutes a problem as students often make wrong choice.
It has been observed that most secondary school students in Epe local government 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