SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS INFLUENCING STUDENT'S CAREER CHOICE

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ABSTRACT

This study attempts to explain the socio-cultural factors influencing student's career choice in Kosofe Local Government area of Lagos State. The study adopted a qualitative approach. While a total of 150 respondents were selected using simple random sampling, the research instrument was a structured questionnaire having both open and closed ended questions. The social cognitive career development theory and the career development -model were used to explain the concept further. Also, two hypotheses were tested in the course of the study. The finding reveals that there is no significant relationship between socio-cultural background and student career choice, and there is a significant relationship between parental influence and student career choice. The study recommended that there should be better effort put into counseling and guidance on career choice by the government, and that parents should endeavour to identify personal qualities in their ward and encourage them to pursue a career along that line.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.0      Background to the Study

Students career ‘choice’ is a subject which has attracted academic, professional as well as public attention due to its multifaceted nature. Since career is a result of the interplay between individuals within organizational and social structures, it yields well to analysis form diverse perspectives ranging from occupational psychology to organizational sociology. Research on students career choice is not uncommon on occupational groups such as accountants and , health care professionals (Morrison 2004; Hallissey et. al, 2000, Kyriacou and Colthatt, 2000. The aim of such research is often to predict students career choice behaviour based on personality as well as demographic distributive factors. When we think about career choice, several things immediately come to mind, such as job description, training and education required, career outlook, as well as salary - but there are a number of other factors that may influence an individual’s decision. Thus, skills and abilities, that is, considering the individual's skills and abilities and how they may fit a particular occupation comes out of one of the earliest career development field, trait factor theory, and is still in use today.

It is important to understand that career choice is not made based on any one factor is our choices are subject to many influences; individual, cultural, social and environmental. The combination and interaction of various influences on an individual decision-making are unique to him or her and the individual's" situation. The number of choices that we are aware of and the number of choices that exist and are available to us in reality may differ. Furthermore, there may be choices that we are not aware of, or which are unavailable to us due to structural constraint that we may fail to recognize. Lack of awareness of our full range of choices may lead us to make use of a limited range of career alternatives or opportunity structures. Understanding factors that impact on career `choice' would be instrumental in designing and delivering better informed counselling and mentorship (Rant and Michael, 1983). Sheridan et.al, noted that the initial career ‘choice’ of managers and the relative status of their department play a role in outcomes of their career tournament, such as promotion, transfer, and salary progression. Therefore, identifying possible influences of career choice is important as such influences may impact on job entry behaviour as well as subsequent career outcomes.

Some people strongly belief that university graduation provides advantages in employment in comparison to high school graduation. Thus, a university entrance examination is regarded as the most important stage and pathway for business life and employment. As a result of this believe, admission to university, even a less preferred one is regarded as more important than the quality of the match between occupations and individual abilities. (Ozkale, 2004). The mismatch and graduation from a less preferred discipline have considerable impacts in the early years of careers (Erdogmus, 2003), resulting in a continuation of the career `choice' process subsequent to graduation from the first university degree. Parents as the key source of funding for children education may be interpreted as an indication of a form of collectivist culture (Price, 1997).

1.1    STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Although career choices are important for young people, they are not a matter of life and death. In fact, most people do not get into a settled career until their mid-20s. If a student aspires to be a doctor, lawyer or other professional, it's a long haul - as it always has been. For others, though, the route is likely to be much less predictable. But before a student starts a career, they'll probably have to consider further some socio-cultural ideals. Many recent changes have occurred in this area. Higher education costs money, and there is an increasing number of part-time (often poorly paid) jobs open to students, with many universities and colleges having reduced study hours to enable students to earn. In terms of post-university work, employers are increasingly looking for experience as well as academic qualifications. It is as important that a student builds towards a body of experience as it is to make good career choices in relation to his or her socio-cultural background. One of the most challenging educational issues facing Nigeria is understanding and solving the persistent disparities in achievement among racial and ethnic groups. while much of the focus on this issue has centered on student achievement as measured by grades and test scores (Jencks and Phillips, 1998; Steinberg, 1992), there has been considerable attention to understanding and explaining differences on students career choice (Fernandez et. al., 1989; Ogbu 1989).

1.2   RESEARCH QUESTIONS

This study is attempting to identify socio-cultural factors that influence student's career choice. To achieve this aim, the following questions will be investigated:

1.  What influences students' choice of career in any way?

2.  How do parents perceive their children's course of study?

3.  Do parents have influence on their children's career choice?

4.  Are there any chance for parents to deciding what their children will be in the future?

5.  What is/are the motivating factor(s) of student career choice?

1.3      OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The objectives of the study are as follows:

1.  To investigate the socio-cultural factors which influence student's career choice?

2.  To discover the role of parents in the choice of career of students.

3.  To explore the motivating factors that determine students choice of career.

1.4      SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study is significant for its effort in identifying the socio-cultural factors that affect choice of career. Also, when completed, it will help students to have .a better understanding of what `career' is really all about, as it is common in our society that most children and students do not know what career choice really entails, hence they choose based on peer influence, common social sentiment or parental advice. Some also choose based on the pecuniary gains inherent to the `career', when it is not what really interests them. Therefore, this study will serve as a stitch in time as young people will learn to consider their socio-cultural situation before making career choices.

1.5      SCOPE AND DELIMITATION

The scope of the work is limited to young and adolescent students, both male and femalein Kosofe Local Government of Lagos State. The limitations of this study includes that it only applies to students in Kosofe Local Government, and the study is limited to data received to cover the set scope. Also, inadequate finance and time constraint both contributed limitation to the study.

1.6      DEFINITION OF TERMS

Socio-cultural: Cultural practices as connected with the society.

Influence:  The effect that somebody or something has on the way a person thinks or behaves or on the way that something works or develops.

Interplay: The way in which two or more things or people affect each other.

Disparities: A difference, especially one connected with unfair treatment.Multifaceted: Having many different aspects to be considered, complex.

Essentialist:  One who does what is extremely important in every or a particular situation.

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