Background to the study
The occupational preferences of students remain an integral part of the occupational process. The school organization usually sees an average student as the root of productivity and quality in the society. To make students dedicated to their studies there is need for effective influence of occupational preferences. The relationship between parents’ socio-economic status and student’s preferences is influenced by what motivate students to study hard and the fulfillments derived from it. In other words, there is an inter-play between the environment in which students live and their occupational preferences.
The issue of occupational preferences by students is a concern to parents, educators and researchers. It is the occupational preference of students that determine the standard or attitude towards academic performance in school. The occupation the student would like to engage in when he completes his education is determined by the subjects he intends to enroll for. Student grades in such subjects would encourage him to continue or even quit such occupational preference. The teacher need to know how best to elicit the potentials of students and direct students’ performance to achieve the goals and objectives of the students. Parents must understand the nature of students behaviour and how best to influence the student, so that he studies effectively.
In Edo state there has been a general outcry over the high rate of students, not qualified for desired courses and unemployment (Okeke, 2000). This appeared obvious in the poor infrastructures available, students poor performance in external examination, lack of information on occupational preference, lack of adequate subject teacher, the presence of poorly trained career teachers who may not have the required skills and knowledge to function effectively as career master, lack of co-operation from parents and students unawareness of some vital occupation qualification requisition. It is usually taken for granted that student engage in a course in order to fulfill certain needs and goals in life.
Most Edo state students in senior secondary schools are faced with a lot of problems in the process of occupational preferences, some adolescents do carry these problems into adulthood. There is danger inherent in making wrong preference (Okeke, 2000). Issa and Wala (2008) reported that wrong occupational preference can lead to frustration and low productivity. One of the purposes of education is to obtain a job and be well placed. Students in higher institution tend to have the problem of preferring a suitable occupational pursuit due to lack of appropriate information at senior secondary school level. The students between ages 12-18 years are not exposed and experienced enough to know what occupation to prefer and pursue. The influence and decisions of occupational preference is very important because the occupational preference made wrongly ultimately affected all aspects of a person’s life. Adolescent period is characterized by the problem of deciding on future occupational preference satisfaction. It often resulted from inadequate information to students, these problems are disturbing because many youths today are roaming the streets without educational advancement or job, others migrate from rural to urban areas while some others find themselves in occupation which they are not suited for either physically, mentally or academically.
A cursory view of the role of the school as an educational institution should elucidate its importance in providing occupational-oriented curriculum for students. The school as an institution of learning should present a system of education with a view of introducing a pragmatic occupation oriented curriculum for students at senior secondary school. The right occupational preference is of great importance to an adolescent in Edo State senior secondary school. The changes in the economy of Edo State have brought the importance of manpower into sharp focus, as the State continue to expand as a result of technological advancement, the nature of many jobs changes and the need for occupation information and techniques of its provision to student becomes very important. The knowledge of occupation is of key important to an analysis of man power, nature of job, and employment process.
Education is a process which is continuous throughout life, bringing about positive and remarkable changes in the totality of all life experiences that a learner (person) acquires in form of skills, knowledge, attitudes, values, knowledge competences and other forms of behaviours which qualify the individual into the society in which he lives (Marks, 2007). In Edo state there is a clear recognition of the fact that education is the greatest instrument for man’s economic progress and political survival. Hence successive civilian and military governments have over the years, given priority to the education sector, especially secondary education. The emphasis given to secondary education is perhaps because of its strategic position in any nation’s educational system. Secondary Education, is seen as having both consumer and producer status with ability not only to determine the fate but also the pace of education at the primary and tertiary levels. Despite the remarkable expansion of secondary education, over the years, majority of the secondary schools students in Edo State, are between the ages of thirteen and nineteen years. It is the period that stands out as a fascinating, stressful and stormy in the child’s development, it is a period of great physical, emotional and physiological changes, that need the intervention of education and experts in education such as counselors, psychologist, sociologist and others to help in molding and directing behaviours of adolescent towards educational achievement, e.g. their aspiration in occupation and good utilization of the socio-economic status available. This implies that most of the students at this stage are within the adolescence period which is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood.
Socio-economic status can be referred to as ones position in relation to the social and economic position of the individual’s parents. The National Policy on Education (2004), 6, 3, 3, 4 systems has recognized the need to give proper guidance to students to enable them make good occupational preferences. It is in recognition of this fact that the policy stated ‘in view of personality maladjustment among school students, career officers and counsellors will be appointed in post primary institution’.
Ironically, many schools in Edo state have not benefited from the services of career officers (Okeke, 2000). Parents’ socio-economic status has also been identified as one of the variables influencing students’ occupational preferences. Parents’ socio-economic status adversely, is more fulfilling to a student’s heart and more beneficial to them in the long-run. Parents’ socio-economic status is the motivation that arouses, energizes, directs and sustains behaviour toward occupational preferences (Mullis, 2002). That is the process of stimulating people to act and to achieve a given task. Therefore, it can be concluded that the best approach to understand the process of occupational preferences lies in the meaning and relationship among needs, drives, desires, wishes, goals and incentives.
According to (Musgrave, 2000) people are always in need, they always want more, and to him human needs are arranged in a series of level, a hierarchy of importance. The attainment of some basic and important needs to some extent brings about occupational preferences and the desire to achieve more at learning. Unfortunately, the situation with the Edo state students appear to be one clouded with tales of woes. Teachers in Edo state have been blamed by parents, government and other stakeholders in the educational sectors over the poor academic performance of students in external examination. They have been accused of not being able to inculcate the desired knowledge and discipline on the students. Students on their part claim that the government shares a major blame from the situation in public schools, it appeared to be a general belief that students are not adequately informed on occupational preferences.
The role of parents’ socio-economic status on the occupational preferences of students cannot be over emphasized. Socio-economic status tends to bring about students occupational preferences and invariably improves academic performance. These influencers are student’s occupational preferences, the socio-economic status of parents, the influence of parent’s socio-economic status and students sex these lead to occupational preference achievement and consequently excellent academic performance. Students are energized and activated to complete a task, and they would want to do more when influenced. In other words, Ryan and Deci (2001) reported that “to be motivated means to be moved to do something”, interest are key factors that influenced students. According to them, arousing interest is not enough, sustaining it is also necessary, that is what influence does, sustaining student’s interest and commitment to future occupational pursuit. A child who comes from an environment where he has no model to copy, or where he is unfamiliar with various prestigious jobs have nothing to consider when formulating his occupational goals. This poor background limited an individual’s success in life.
Therefore, it is important that children should be given adequate guidance to enable them accomplish good use of available information in the society. Therefore, it is important to have a clear understanding of what motivated a student when making occupational preferences. Low socio-economic status was commonly found among the indigent people in the society, it was because of poverty and low income earning. They include labourers, cleaners, petty traders and illiterate parents. Students from such status are highly influenced financially. Such student’s occupational preference was not stable sometime because there was deviation either the student became an apprentice, dropped out of school or stop his or her academic pursuit after completing secondary school due to lack of funds. Since there was no encouragement like notebooks, textbooks and scholarship from government this led to family deprivation. Middle socio-economic status is the status that occurred between the poor and wealth. Most people in the society today are below poverty level. A person’s occupation and employment pattern influenced the standard of living. Examples of people in such categories are bankers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, judges and business people. High socio-economic status includes wealthy people such as president, governors, ministers and personality in high position. Such high status influenced the occupational preferences of students.
Thus, the factors of occupational preferences of secondary school students are many but of importance to this study is the socio-economic background which diversely influenced the occupational preferences of students who came from such background. It seems undoubtedly obvious that there is a relationship between parents’ socio-economic status and student’s occupational preferences in Edo State student’s context, as far as occupational preference is concerned, there seems to be a disconnection between the intellectual ability of students and student’s preferences. In recent times, occupation oriented-programme, especially at secondary education level, in Edo State appeared to be doomed. Students’ occupational preferences have been characterized by status anomaly, which is evident in students attitude toward school and authority non-attentiveness in class and low attendance in class coupled with these, is the general decadence and neglect of the educational sector. All these seem to have affected the morale of students which have also rubbed off on their attainment of preference.
It is against this background that this study investigated the influence of parents’ socio-economic status and occupational preferences of secondary school students in Edo State.
Statement of the Problem
Occupational preference is an important aspect of career choice which over time has been observed to be highly influenced by parent’s socio-economic status. Alika (2010) in a study discovered that parental influence is a source of pressure which induces the young adolescent into pre-determined occupations, sometimes with little or no considerations on the potentials, actual needs and ego of the child. Socio-economic status of parents to a large extent determines the occupational preferences. In the absence of proper career guidance, many other factors could influence students’ occupational preferences, emanating from the family members, teachers, relatives and peers. As a result many students from Edo State end up in occupations that they do not aspire for. Yet at the secondary level, students are given opportunities to select subjects that dictate the areas they would wish to specialize in middle level colleges and the universities. Although the selection is assumed to be on the basis of their performance, their interests are never considered, while majority preferred occupation influence by peers, teachers, financial capability of the parents or with no specific reasons.
The problem of the study is grounded on the fact that as studies reveal, girls are more influenced than boys due to the stereotypes that often push them into specific jobs that are assumed to be meant for them. While the same applies for boys, their assumed careers are better. It is against this background this study sought to investigate the influence of parents’ socio-economic status on the occupational preferences of senior secondary school three (SSS 3) students in Edo State.
Purpose of the Study The main purpose of this study was to examine the influence of parents’ socio-economic status on the student’s occupational preferences. This study specifically:
- To identify student’s occupational preferences.
- To determine father and mother’s socio-economic status.
- To determine whether parent’ socio-economic status influenced students.
- To determine whether parent’s gender influenced student’s occupational preferences of students.
The following research questions were raised to guide the study:
- What are students’ occupational preferences?
- What are the socio-economic status of secondary school students’ parents in Edo State?
The following hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance.
- There is no significant relationship between father’s educational level and students preferred occupation.
- There is no significant relationship between mother’s educational level and students preferred occupation.
- There is no significant relationship between father’s occupational status and students preferred occupation.
- There is no significant relationship between mother’s occupational status and students preferred occupation.
- There is no significant relationship between father’s income and students preferred occupation.
- There is no significant relationship between mother’s income and students preferred occupation.
Significance of the Study
This study provided useful data and theoretical information on the relationship between socio-economic status and students occupational preferences. The information hopefully will help parents and society to restructure their though pattern to favour their children’s occupational preferences. The findings of this study will guide families towards establishing a type of rapport that will enable children to perform better in certain subjects which eventually lead to fulfillment in their occupational preferences. The findings of this study will serve as a guide for school counsellors and proprietors of private senior secondary schools when handling vital cases such as occupational preference information. To teachers and students the result of this study will assist in creating the necessity of prior knowledge of student’s occupational preferences, parents level of education, occupation and income level of education, occupation and income level if they desire better occupation. The information will enlighten school inspectors and commissioners of education to establish necessary amendments for the promotion of occupational preferences for students in Edo State. School principals and form teachers will be challenged by these findings and decided to engage in more research work on student’s occupational preferences in senior secondary schools in Edo State.
Scope of the Study
This study covered all the public and private senior secondary schools in the three senatorial districts in Edo State. The content areas of the study are: students’ occupational preference, parents’ socioeconomic status, influence of parent’s socioeconomic status and student’s gender on the occupational preferences. Demographic variables, such as academic performance and ethnicity of student’s were excluded because they were not within the scope of the study.
Limitations of the Study
This study was limited to the influence of socio-economic status on occupational preferences of secondary schools, uncooperative nature of subjects (unwillingness to let out vital information by respondents). Moreover, many children may not know the exact income of their parents. Therefore whatever income a child chooses was right as parental income may affect the result of this study.
Operational Definition of Terms
In the context of this study, the following terms are defined as follows: the terms may have other meanings but such meanings are not regarded in this study.
Parental influence: Families and guardian play a significant role in the occupation aspiration and career goal development of their children.
Occupational preference: It refers to the occupation an individual would most like to prefer assuming the limiting factors.
Influence: The effect that parents have on the occupational preference of students.
Occupation: A job or position being occupied or tasks performed by a person.
Socio-economic status: This means the social and economic position of an individual or a family in any giving society determined by factors such as the level of education, occupation and income.
Lower socio-economic status parent(s): This means that parent(s) did not attend school, attended primary school, or attended some secondary school
Middle socio-economic status: This means that parent(s) completed secondary school and/or vocational qualification, diploma or associate diploma
Higher socio-economic status: This means that parent(s) completed a university degree.
Prestigious occupation: They are occupations that are highly rated in the society e.g. medicine law, Accounting, Teaching etc.
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