DETERMINANTS OF CAREER CHOICE AMONG STUDENTS IN PUBLIC SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS IN THE ASIKUMA-ODOBEN-BRAKWA DISTRICT

ABSTRACT
The study examined the factors responsible for career choice among students of public senior high schools in Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa District. The descriptive design was employed for the study. The study used the purposive sampling technique to include 357 senior high students for the study. Closed-ended questionnaire with reliability co-efficient of 0.71 was used to collect data. Frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations were used for5 the data analysis. Findings from this study showed that environmental factors influenced career choice among senior high school students. Students reported that opportunities and self-knowledge influenced their career choice. It was found that environmental factors influenced choice of careers. Respondents mentioned that money had been an issue in choosing a career, their parents had great influence in their career choice and moving with students in tertiary institutions did affect their choice of career. It was concluded that counsellors at various senior high schools should sensitize students regarding solutions to challenges they faced when making career choices. It is recommended that school guidance counsellors need to develop effective and comprehensive guidance and counselling programme for schools. This would help students to know about the various career options available in order to and utilize them.


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Choosing a career path is a huge part of a young man or woman’s life. The career path students choose affects how they will live the rest of their life. A lot of students go through and in some instances after tertiary education without knowing what career path they want. When a student decides on a career path, this decision is mostly influenced by some factors. Some of these factors that affect this decision include family, academic ability and aptitude passion, peer influence, salary, childhood fantasies, and past experiences (Hewitt, 2009). This study attempts to identify what factors play a role in career choice. Identifying these factors would give parents, educators and industries ideas as to where students place most of their trust in the career selection process. It would also allow students to examine processes they use for career selection. Today, jobs are more diverse and many jobs have shifted from one area to another. Over time, the culture and the economy have changed. This development has made it imperative for students to have the orientation to make the right career decisions.

Background to the Study
Education is universally recognized as the answer to socio- economic problems of the world. Nations and individuals look up to education to provide a cure for poverty, ignorance, drought, excessive rainfall, mental deficiency, joblessness, bad government, poor communication system, hunger and inadequate shelter among other things. Every nation of the world aspires toward quality of life and social status. Career selection is one of many important choices students will make in determining future plans. This decision will impart them throughout their lives. The essence of who the student is will revolve around what the student wants to do with their life- long work (Basavage, 1996). Choosing an appropriate career is therefore of great importance to the individual (National Career Development Association, 2003). Career selection is one of many important choice students will make that determines future plans (National Career Development Association, 2003). The decision is so significant because it has the capacity of affecting the entire life of the individual. If the choice is properly made, it will guarantee some level of career success or satisfaction (National Career Development Association, 2003). Career selection is one of many important choices students will make in determining future plans. This decision will impact them throughout their lives.

However, if the opposite becomes the case, there will be no career satisfaction, and this will ultimately affect the entire life of the individual in a negative way (Basavage, 1996). Such situations abound today among adults and young adults who do not find fulfilment in what they are doing at the moment. The implication is that a student, who understands himself or herself in relation to what he/she will want to do in life, will make a career choice that revolves around his/her personality (Basavage, 1996).

Career choice has become a complex science with the advent of information technology, the emergence of post industrial revolution and job competition (Wattles, 2009). It was a common practice in the old days to find feudalism converting it into a family affair where the son of a blacksmith was destined to become a blacksmith and a feudal was born a leader.

Industrialization and post industrialization has made it possible for a common person to be richer as long as she or he has due skills and knowledge (Wattles, 2009). Today, one does not only make due career planning but also exhaustive career research before making a career choice so as to adjust with the evolving socio-economic conditions. Most senior high students do not have accurate information about occupational opportunities to help them make appropriate career choice (Wattles, 2009).

According to Kerka (2000), career choice is influenced by multiple factors including personality, interests, self-concept, cultural identity, globalization, socialization, role model, social support and available resources such as information and financial. Bandura, Babaranelli,and Caprara (2001) state that each individual undertaking the process is influenced by several factors including the context in which they live in, their personal aptitudes, social contacts and educational attainment. A study conducted by Perrone, Zanardelli, Worthington and Chartrand (2001) found that role model supportiveness, and quality of relationship contributed to the career choice of students.

A study on career choice in Ethiopia by Stebleton (2007) indicated that the students had an external locus of control and believes that there are numerous extrinsic factors which influence their career choices. These extrinsic factors include; political and economic considerations, previous work experience and the influence of key individuals in a person’s life. Pummel, Harwood and Lavallee (2008) report that external influences that help to shape an individual’s career choice are also influenced by others through social support from peers. In a study by Natalie (2006), young adults through interaction with the context of family, school and community learn about and explore careers which ultimately lead to their career choice. 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 & Taylor, 2004).

According to Myburgh (2005), parental education and family income are important predictors of learning experiences and by implication career choice of children. Oyamo (2008) opined that there is an association between parents education, career choices of students and the home environment. The influence of parents in career choices of children could be an important determinant of career choice, more so when the educational levels of the parents come into play, studies have shown that educated parent’s expectation and perceptions of vocations that are fit for their children play a key role in shaping children’s occupational choices (Natalie, 2006). Savickas (2005) found this influence to be a strong factor that overrides the influence of teachers, faculty and counsellors. Hewitt (2010) found that the higher the degree the parents have obtained the greater the support children will have from parents in pursuing their career choices. Davis, (2005) asserted that even though adolescents actively begin demonstrating their independence from parents in their high school years, they are still very much dependent on their parents for their occupational or career choices and growth. Moreover, this finding is further supported by Natalie (2006) who found that the level of parental formal education is one of the factors that determined students’ career path. Bloomfield, Libby and Nelson, (2002) found that children whose parents and grandparents, uncles and siblings were physicians and lawyers will invariably have different career interest from children raised in a family noted over the year as peasant farmers in rural areas.

Fred (1995) states that factors influencing career choice could be intrinsic, extrinsic or both. Financial motivation, desire and other personal interest do influence career choice (Abdullahi & Bukar, 2000). On the other hand, parents, peer group, relatives, environment and government policies have impact on individual career choices (Myburgh, 2005). From the research conducted by Abdullahi &Bukar (2000) and Myburgh (2005), factors that influence career choice are the extrinsic and intrinsic which relate to what Fred (1995) stated.

Denga (2004) opined that career choice of students at school rests on teachers and counsellors while Balogun (2006) believes that accurate vocational information, seminar, career talks and workshops may promote students’ career choices. Studies have shown that in the process of choosing a career, individuals do consider their physical and psychological self, as they see them and how others view them, and that it is the occupation or career that agrees with what they think of themselves that they eventually take to, and that this is the way of attaining job satisfaction (Khami, Murtomaa & Jafarian, 2008; Alika 2011).

Alika (2016) also reveals that students’ self-concept determines their career choice. This finding is in line with the assertion of Alutu (2007) who observed that the individual’s self-concept, which is the mental picture of the student in relation to his environment do influence his choice of career. The finding is also in agreement with that of Ekennia (2011) who stated that an individual chooses a career that is consistent with his self-concept. It is pertinent to note that, this finding is at variance with the observation of Denga (2004) who found that career choice of students at school depends on the influence of teachers and counselors. According to Oyamo and Amoth (2008), studies in Kenya show that rural students tend to seek help from parents more than urban students and that parents more than teachers play a major role in the career choice of students. Generally, the choice of a career is influenced by parents, friends, and counselors however variations occur from one population to the other.

According to the study carried out by Perrone (2011) on the opportunity of college students having a role model influence on the career influences the career choices one take, it was clearly discovered that role model supportiveness, and quality of relationship have an influence on the career choice a student pursues. In same study it was found that a great percentage of students selected same gender role models. There is also research on the role of spirituality and religion in growth of career, even though inadequate in possibility has suggested that such factors relate positively to desirable career development outcomes such as career decisions (Stebleton, 2007). For a majority of people with spiritual or religious commitment faith plays a critical role in the career decision making process (Duffy & Dick, 2009).

The issue of career choice has implication for National Development, in that for every society, the quality of workers as well as their level of job satisfaction contributes directly or indirectly to economic stability and advancement of the nation. When workers experience little or no job satisfaction as a result of wrong career choice, frustration may set in, which may lead to a decline in productivity. Making a right career choice, no doubt may ensure job satisfaction and productivity. Career choice is one of the critical and vital decisions most students in secondary schools make (Oyamo & Amoth, 2008). Career decisions taken at this stage often determines the future of the student (Denga, 2004). Parent educational level no doubt could be of immense benefit in helping parent provide the necessary assistant in making relevant career choices. The lack of education maybe a hindrance, in that without adequate educational information parent maybe limited in the amount of educational or career guidance given to the children which may hinder their chances of making realistic career choices (Oyamo & Amoth, 2008).

In choosing a career, it is important to know how students develop their preferences for one occupation or the other, and how these preferences are implemented. Parents, teachers, and counselors ought to be familiar with major factors which influence vocational or career development of individuals. This is necessary because career theorists believe that individuals have certain abilities, interests, personality traits and other characteristics that inform one’s career choice (Bratcher, Barbarnelli, Caprara & Pastorelli, 2001). It is thus believed by professionals that, if these characteristics are known together with their potential values, and where on the job market these values can be put into appropriate uses, the individual is more likely to become a happier person, a more effective worker and a more useful citizen. In other words, knowing oneself and knowing the career opportunities existing in one’s environment can help an individual make a good vocational adjustment. This then attests to the fact that self-knowledge and occupational knowledge are very important means of ensuring a relatively accurate and adequate occupational decision toward career choice (Makinde & Kayode, 1987). Career choice has become a complex science with the advent of information technology, the emergence of post industrial revolution and job competition. Lack of necessary information about technical fields or the world of work affect career decision making. Knowledge in career would help the student to be focused and clear about his or her career choice (Mohammed, Salleh, & Mustapha, 2010).

Statement of the Problem
Today, many youth go into unsuitable careers due to ignorance, inexperience, peer pressure, advice from friends, parents and teachers or as a result of the prestige attached to certain jobs without adequate vocational guidance and career counselling (Lawer, 2007). Lawer (2007) researched on assessing the effectiveness of career guidance in senior secondary schools in Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly. He concluded that majority of students were not aware of major occupation groups in Ghana. This clearly shows that majority of them were not concerned about their future career. This situation compels one to ask whether they are given the needed guidance on available careers relating to the programmes they are pursuing. Are they aware of what goes into career choice? And what specific factors influence their choice and how do those factors influence them?

Career choice is important but a very difficult process which one must undergo at some time in life. O‘Brien (1996) asserted that everyone should have an honest occupation since work is one of our greatest blessings. It involves an inter play of many determinants which are intricately intertwined. It is not a straightforward task and involves a difficult process of decision making. Nonetheless, most undergraduates are likely to make wrong career decisions due to lack of information, ignorance, peer pressure, wrong modeling or as a result of prestige attached to certain careers without adequate career guidance and career counselling (Salami, 1999; Ndambuki & Mutie, 1999). This issue is not confined to Ghana only but is universal in nature. According to Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara & Pastorelli (2001) an individual’s environment, talents, skills, and academic achievement exert an influence on career choice. In case of a wrong choice, it may lead to resultant failure and disappointment. Research shows homes, schools and the social setup influence an individual’s career choice. Being interested in a particular profession is very important in decision making. If a student is forced into a career, he may exhibit low self-esteem and poor performance. Suutari (2003) reports that several studies have indicated a positive relationship between interests and career choice. It has also been investigated that individuals with better academic performance are able to make better judgments about themselves (Arthur & Rousseau, 1996). Omotosho and Nyarko-Sampson (2012) demonstrated in their study that the career aspirations of students were poorly matched with the trends in the labour market. Omotosho (2014) asserts that, in choosing our careers in a hit or miss fashion, individuals miss more than hit. While a few students find career decision-making less cumbersome, many others struggle with career decision-making. Research reports indicate that career choice is greatly influenced by students’ surroundings, society and family (Gim, 1992; Leong 1995)

Educational level of parents, their profession and income are also identified as very important determinant (Hearn 1984, 1988). Every student at a certain juncture in their life has to make a choice regarding their career. It is incumbent that students make the correct choice asserts Oladele (as cited in Nyarko-Sampson 2013).

The above studies from some parts of Ghana have confirmed that career choice or decision-making difficulty is a reality in Ghana. However, there appears to be dearth of studies related to Career choice in Asikuma Odoben Brakwa district which is in the Central Region of Ghana. Therefore, it was the researcher’s desire to assess the determinants of senior high school student’s career choice in Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa District

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Item Type: Ghanaian Project Material  |  Attribute: 122 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: GH50  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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