Parental Influence on Career Choice of Secondary School Students – Theoretical
As a guide to the researcher in the present study, a number of related literary works were reviewed. It was done so as to expose the researcher to the experiences of others. This section of the research is interested in the contributions of past research effect and different authors on related topic.
In order to ensure convenience and clarity this section is broken into the following subsections.
1. Theoretical/ Conceptual framework.
2. Review of related Empirical Studies
Theoretical/ conceptual Framework
The school of thought that the researcher has adopted in laying the foundation of this research is phenomenology by philosopher Edmund Husserl which was given a sociological flavor by Alfred Schutz who was Husserl’s pupil. Phenomenology as it was explained in fundamentals of Educational psychology by Omebe and Mgboro (2001) is another philosophical idea within humanistic thought. It holds that reality exists not in the event but in the individual’s perception of event (phenomenon).
According to Combs & Snygg (1959:11) this approach seeks to understand the behaviour of the individuals from their points of view not as they see to outsiders, but as they seem to themselves.
This means that people respond to the environment as they perceive and understand it not as an objective environment. This can lead to a particular event having viewed meanings to different people.
So, in synchronising this school of thought to the research, the researcher related this theory to the followng as an influence of parents to the secondary school studnts: Socio-economic, occupation and Educational influences.
The concepts of socio-economic status:
Sociologists refer to socio-economic status because it determines an individual’s position in the society, that is to place an individual lowly or highly in the society.
Onyia (1998) noted that: Socio-economic status can be defined as the social and economic position of an individual or a family in a given society determined by such factors as the level of education, occupation and income. This in turn will affect the values, goals attitudes and behaviour, and determine how a family now perceives education.
There is unanimity among some researchers that parents socio-economic background determine to a large extent the type of educational and career opportunities available to their children, (Catgrove (1967), Blang (1970), Olayinka (1957) Blair, Elton and Avent (1975), Musgrove (1975) and Uba (1983).
Catgrove (1967: 18) Wrote that “children from working class homes have restricted knowledge of the range of occupations open to them.”
Blang (1970) had a similar view when he maintained that the privileged parents select the best career for their children and the best training to this career.
Anagbogu (1988) had a similar view and contended that some parents may not have enough money to encourage their children to go to secondary school and eventually aspiring to become a medical doctor. It is the education that gives money therefore, before an individual thinks about an occupation, he must think of his financial barking.
Blair, Elton and Avent (1975: 11) wrote, the long-term goals of many middleclass youngsters include entering such profession as teaching the ministry, medicine and executive positions in business. He said that the lower-class youngsters leave the school earlier, get jobs, marry and make money immediately and they engage themselves in courses such as, shop work carpentry, mechanics etc. appeal to them than college preparatory subjects in the united state of America. Whereas the researcher agrees with Blair et al, in some of the preferred professions by the middleclass youngsters, here in Nigeria teaching at the lower level is not one of the preferred profession because of irregular and non-profit payment of teachers salaries and other fringe benefits.
There is also the problem of parental expectation, which may conflict with a student’s preference. The tendency for parents to decide for their children what type of career the children should choose has been highlighted by Olayinka (1973) who found that 35.5% of the sample used in his study consulted their parents on choice of job, while 415 got information from the rest of the family. Furthermore, the student who are in delima about the type of career they would take up are sometimes mislead in their choice of career by their parents because of status or prestige of certain career.
Parents Occupation as an Influence
Occupation as a concepts is defined as one’s regular, daily or immediate business or job. Occupation, vocation, profession, business, etc all concern the daily work one does especially to gain a livelihood.
Two sociologists, Bau and Duncan (1967) did a huge study of work on parent’s occupation as an influence. They found roughly that two third (2/3) of all sons had job in the same general category as their fathers. Generally adolescent boys identify themselves with the career of their fathers.
Werfs (1968) who studied father occupation and career choice of 76, 000 social scientists and medical men tended to choose the career of their fathers. In addition, to encourage the inspiration of low socio-economic status, parents to their sons plays an important role in the selection of a career.
Baldridge (1980) argued that the family background is an important influence on ones career choice. He wrote “you are quite likely to end up in a job in roughly the same category of work as your parents. If your parents are professionals, you probably will be too. If your parents are manual workers you probably will have a manual job. If your parents are “White collar workers, (salesman, store owners, clerks) then the odd are you will have a similar occupation of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Many people end up with jobs very different from what their parents do, but the odds are high that theirs will be somewhat similar.
Parents Education as an Influence
Education as a concept is the process through which individuals are made participating members of their society. It is the system through which man becomes a moral agent capable of living in society and contributing towards the growth and development of the society. It is a process through which the young acquires the ability to be useful to himself and others (Ocho 2005).
Bee (1978) wrote on parents education as an influence, she wrote that a fathers level of education or his measured intelligence in some what predicted of his child’s school success of 1Q (intelligence quotient) score. Part of this similarly is clearly the result of genetic influences but there also may be specific environment influences from the father.
A number of recent studies by Norman Radin and her associates are relevant to this point. Radin initially found in several studies that there was a correlation between paternal nurturance and intellectual performance in sons. More nurturance fathers had sons who performed better on a variety of tests, although this relationship was in stronger middle class pairs.
However, in this research Oyebode (1980) found out that the level of education of parents do not influence their children choice of vocations, rather they end to choose vocation that are highly esteem. This of course is the influence of background which has determined their taste in choice.
Furthermore, According to Duoglas (1964) asserts that “the child from a poor home whose memories are associated with the fillings of what we call personal satisfaction or sense of achievement. There is much evidence to show that the career choice of understanding parents in the early years give the background and meaning to their children choice of career”.
Kennedy (1971) says “that socio-economic status of the parents is probably the most critical variable that determines career choice of the secondary school students. Opportunity of special help at home by parents and related text books which reflect mainly on choosing of career.”
Ugebor (1979), found that children from low socio-economic homes, more often preferred nursing, teaching and engineering while those with high socio-economic background preferred medicine, Business Administration and Law. These findings have confirmed to a great extent the impact of family choice. Because of this influence, Ipaye (1986) said that the choice of career should not be left to chance or accident among adolescents, who frantically look for help from parents, teachers, peer groups and books. He further stated that left unguided in the choice of educational institution and career, some adolescent choose wrongly and regret through out their lives.
Most researchers like Ifeanyi Chukwu (1983) Okpara (1984) Animba (1989), agree that there is an absolute lack of guidance and counseling services, career information and vocational education in the Nigeria educational system. There is the need to inform our educational and economic planners for the need to develop adequate manpower programme.
Review of Related Empirical Studies
Studies carried out by Essien (1968) Durojaiye (1973) and Okorie Animbas assertion during a classroom lecture on vocational guidance (1989) have revealed that many students are persuaded by their parents to study medicine because of the social Stigma attached to it, which the by-product of such ill advised choice of career is that in Nigeira today we tend to have medical doctors who would have excelled as journalists, Engineers, Layers etc. or who would have been more productive as industrial artists and traders.
Brown (1971: 22) in his work he devoted a chapter, which he titled, “A few thought for parents” in which he discussed parent’s role in career choice of their children. In his opinion, most parents tend to influence the choice of their children career by telling them what career to take up, but he strongly advises parents to get information from school in order to know the performance of the child before suggesting a career.
Another work relevant to this study is that of Nwagwu (1976: 102) in his research on the “vocational aspirations and expectation of African students”, he noted that five categories of people are consulted by African students in their selection of career, Namely: Parents, Friends relatives, classmate and teachers. The teacher he says is the least consulted.
Nwagwu further explained that because a good number of the parents used as sample in his study (571%) were barely literate and did not complete their primary education, while (15%) were completely illiterates, what must have happened was that the students had to make important decision about their future education and career with absence of adequate information and organized guidance and counseling.
These findings seem to be confirmed by carter (1968) who in his study titled “Home school and work” reported that the knowledge of most of the children’s parents is limited. He, thus suggested that the youths should be given freedom in choosing the career they like but at the same time they have to be guided to make the right choice of career.
Musgrove (1969) while comparing the United States of America and Great Britain observed the effect of a father’s occupation upon his son’s education and occupation are equally strong in both countries. This may not be true of the Nigerian situation and condition recognizing that there is high level of adult illiteracy in Nigeria he added that children of the professional classes make the excellent use of the advantage of their up bringing.
This seems to be idea of Duncan (1972) when she said that a mother’s aspiration for her child’s education were directly influenced by her own education and need for achievement.
While this parents education and occupational influence may be stronger in western countries, the researcher is of the view that this variables may not held a way in the Nigerian context and condition due to the prevalent low adult literacy rate. All the professionals could not have professional and highly educated parents.
Another researcher, Hinch (1973) carried out a study on some students of Ahmadu Bello university Zaria (Nigeria) regarding the influence of family background factors such as father’s education and occupation, and of course, previous working experience appear to have little explanatory power when faced with a pattern of occupational choice. The researcher (Hinch) found out that most students consider salary or honoraria, security, prestige and working condition as very vital attributes of vocational choice. The present research agree with this point in the sense that all these variables are determined by the kind of family background from which one grew up, since family background is an important influence in one’s career choice.
From research so far ascertained it has been discovered that parental socio-economic situation, education, culture and occupation of parents contributes and influence the career choice of the secondary school students.
Some researchers like Gesinde (1973), Ugebor (1979) Baldridge (1980) and Eni (1987) have investigated the different factors and variables effecting students choice of career, Baldridge (1980) found that family background is an important influence on one’s career choice and that parental influence is more than any other influence. He wrote that you are quite likely to end of in a job in roughly the same category of work as your parents. If your parents are “manual workers” you probably will have a manual job. If your parents are “white collar” workers (salesmen) store owner’s clerks then the odds are you will have a similar occupation.
Gesinde (1973) discovered that 66% of students in teachers training college and 50% of those in technical colleges were influenced by their parents and significant others (siblings and friends) to enter those vocational programmes. One of the fundamental factors for the youths successful take off in life is the choice of an adequate career. This involves the level of awareness of the youth, of the relationship between his aspired career and his aptitude for the career.
Wilkin (1975) argued that adequate career constitutes an important problem area of educational research and reasonable amount of work has also been carried out in it. Earlier in our society demand the parents decision in their children choice of career, that is why to Fafuwa (1974) vocational choice and training were more or less a family affairs and children learnt mostly the trade of their parents.
Considering the literature review so far, there is the tendency for one to believe that there exist some important links between parents occupation, education, and parents socio-economic status and parents expectation due to social status.
However, it must be pointed out that most of the literatures cited in this study are studies carried out in foreign social, cultural economic settings. It is important to carry out similar studies in Nigeria environment. This is what the present study intended to do.
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