Comparative Study Of Career Aspirations Of Students In Rural And Urban Schools

Project and Seminar Material for Education

Project and Seminar Material for Education

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

It is quite interesting to hear young people talk about career aspirations and reasons for their choices. Many of them especially, the final year students in the various secondary schools face the problem of choosing a career they will pursue in future (Munoye, 2000). Considering their age, their choices are influenced by many factors such as peer group, parents socio-economic status, sex of the student, interest and motivational level, availability of career information, subject studied at school and so on. According to Mailumo (2001) the problem with career aspirations and choice is further compounded because of the lack of adequate career education, simply put as work-related education, which he says is a strong determinant of career choice. He believes that the individual needs to become aware and well informed of all about the world of work as one of those aspects of human endeavour.

Secondly, there is an acute shortage, if not a complete absence of trained guidance counsellors in most Nigerian schools, especially in public and state schools. This need is well articulated in the revised National Policy on Education (NPE, 2004). The policy states that “in view of the apparent ignorance of many young people about career prospects, and in view of personality maladjustment amongst school children, career officers and counsellors ought to be appointed in post-primary institutions”.

A one time Minister of Education in Nigeria, Prof. Jubril Aminu, described guidance and counselling as indispensable to the 6-3-3-4 system of education, that through its application, students could be correcting or guided to go into areas that are best suited to their abilities, aptitudes, interests and capabilities (Daily Times, March, 20, 1988).

But in spite of all these policy statements and other pronouncements, most post-primary schools in the country have not had the opportunity to have guidance counsellors. This is rather unfortunate because with the multiplicity of career alternatives based on individual differences, abilities and aptitudes, education and length of training, sex, interests among others, career choice is becoming increasingly difficult (Ayo, 1990). The development in science and technology has led to new careers of which most people are not aware of (Omoegun and Buraimo, 2001). To Olayinka (1986), Career services in schools should be an integral part of our educational system especially, if we want education to be functional, child-centered and job-oriented.

Olayinka (1973) investigated the difference in vocational aspirations of boys and girls in Lagos. This study revealed that majority of the youths choose jobs without relating them to their interest and capabilities to cope with the nature of jobs. This, according to him was due to the absence of adequate guidance by school counsellors. In the same vein, he asserted that the youths especially, those living in the urban areas were enticed to choose jobs simply because such jobs had a high payment or remuneration or for prestigious reasons. The result of this study also showed that girls were unrealistic in their choices of some careers when their performance was observed in certain subject areas.

According to Anyanwu (1994), when one compares the job aspirations of children from urban and rural areas, that of the children from urban areas are higher. According to him, children from high socio-economic status who also live in the metropolis, tend to aspire to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, pharmacists, accountants, pilots etc; while children who live in the rural areas who are not exposed to the urban life tend to have lower aspirations. The children in urban schools, because of their exposure to urban life, will always want to meet up with the expectations of their parents and the society.

As Adeleke (1990) puts it, majority of the rural children tend to be school drop-outs. Many of them stop school often to join one trade or the other. They normally become apprentices to learn one vocation or the other instead of continuing their education for higher and better choice of jobs at the end of their education in the higher institutions.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

No doubt, when adolescents choose careers without adequate direction and information on the type and nature of career they choose, it leads them to unrealised career aspiration and fulfillment in life. Also, when one is in a career one is not cut out naturally for, one is bound to become unhappy and in many instances, people have been frustrated all through their lives due to the fact that they made wrong choices in their occupations.

The problems of rural and urban areas and youths’ choices of occupations cannot be overemphasized. For example, children in the urban areas usually select careers based on the information and discretion they have either by their parents or from the media which abound in the cities than the rural areas.

The youths who dwell in the rural areas often find it difficult to make a good choice of jobs that will see them through in life. Rather, due to lack of correct information and direction on job choice, youths in the rural areas are found to make wrong career choices. Most of them end up to choose wine tapping, carpentry, iron benders, plumbers, bicycle repairers, mechanics etc.

This study examines career aspirations of students in the urban and rural schools in Lagos State.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine and compare career aspirations of students in urban and rural schools in Lagos State.

The specific objectives of this study include:

  1. To find out whether peer group influences adolescents’ career aspirations in both urban and rural environments.
  2. To find out whether the socio-economic status of parents influences their children’s career.
  3. To find out whether the sex of the child has any role to play in the career choice of youths.
  4. To find out whether motivational level of the child has significant influence on his/her choice of career.
  5. To find out whether information on career affects children’s involvement in one career or the other.
  6. To find out whether interest of the child influences his or her career aspirations in life.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions were raised in this study:

  1. To what extent will the career aspirations of students in urban schools differ from that of rural schools?
  2. Will there be any relationship between peer group and the career choice of students?
  3. Will there be a significant relationship between parents’ socio-economic status and children’s career aspirations?
  4. Is there a relationship between the sex of the child and his or her choice of career
  5. To what extent will interest affect the career choice of students?
  6. To what extent will there be any relationship between the motivational level of the students and their choice of career?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated for testing in this study:

  1. There will be no significant influence of interest on the vocational aspirations of students in schools.
  2. There will be no significant gender relationship in the vocational interest of students in schools.
  3. There will be no significant relationship between parents’ occupation and the vocational interest of students in school.
  4. iThere will be no significant relationship between school location and vocational interests of students in school.
  5. There will be no significant vocational interest by females students in schools.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will be of great benefit to students because they would gain an insight on career choice and aspirations. The study will help them to understand the importance of choosing a career or selecting subjects that can lead them to certain jobs in life. With the findings and recommendations of the study, students will appreciate the essence of choosing the right jobs. Also, students in the rural areas will be assisted by the recommendations, which will help them and encourage them to embrace the attributes of choosing jobs that will be of great importance to them in future.

The result of this study and its recommendations will help guidance counsellors appreciate the more, the fact that students at the secondary school level need to be helped through their wealth of experience in order to choose better careers in life.

Through this study both the Federal and State government will appreciate the fact that the child in school needs to be well guided in order to make a choice of career that will benefit him in future. The study will help governments to put in place some systems that will help the child to be able to make a choice of career. It will also enable government to realise the importance of the school counsellor to the career aspirations of the child.

Parents will no doubt appreciate this study because it will enable them to understand the job aspirations of their children. With the recommendations parents will be encouraged to be conversant with the future of their children and the danger in imposing or choosing careers for them.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The study is a comparative study of career aspirations of students in urban and rural areas of Lagos State.

Participants will be secondary school children (SS 2 students) from randomly selected secondary schools in Lagos Mainland representing urban schools and Ikorodu representing rural schools.

The variables to be considered will include age, socio-economic status of parents of students, interest, motivational level, peer-group influence and availability of career information.

1.8 Definition of Key Terms

The terms used in this study will be operationally defined as follows:

i. Career:

This is defined by Super and Super (1989) as a sequence of occupations, jobs and positions occupied during a persons working life. Career will be used interchangeably to mean one and the same with vocation, occupation, duty, job, profession. These are what we do to earn a living, although there are subtle differences. Certain expectations are expected of each career. Doctors are expected to be clean intellectual and sympathetic lawyers are expected to be able to argue intelligently. They are to be bold cunning and have broad world-view. Teachers ought to be disciplined and neat.

ii. Aspiration:

Arnolds (1990), aspiration is a strong desire to do something great or important. This is the desire youths or even adults have in getting involved in a certain profession, job or career.

iii. Expectation:

According to Advanced Learners Dictionary (1980) expectation is the conditions of expecting something. It is an hope that one has for the future.

iv. Motivation:

Motivation is the reason to do or for doing something. According to Abraham Maslow (1943) motivation is a drive to act on the direction of a particular outcome. Aspiration is a function of both needs and the probability that those needs will be met.

Comparative Study Of Career Aspirations Of Students In Rural And Urban Schools

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