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An exploration of parents critical role in their children‘s career choices and aspirations was the primary focus of this paper. This study was carried out to identify parental influence on the child’s learning and his future life endeavour. A population of 200 students drawn from five Secondary Schools in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State was randomly selected for this study. To each student, a questionnaire was administered and answers offered were collated and analysed. The results obtained from the study showed that, illiterate parents have little or no time for their children’s education.  Children from educated homes show more interest in education but lack motivation from their parents.  While others, their parents force them to learn what they [parents] want them to learn or study. However, it was also found out that only few students are interested in their parent’s occupation. More so, discoveries from the study reveal that illiterate parents have no interest in their children’s academic growth and as such they hardly influence the choice of career among their children. Furthermore, there is no significant difference between children from educated homes who show interest in education even when the necessary motivation is given and those whose parents are illiterate.  This is due to the fact that a considerable number of children live without parental support, as in orphans, children living in the streets and displaced who on account of the poverty of their parents are subjected to inhuman and sadistic ordeals.  This reduces their desire to learn as it happens frequently in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State.



1.1Background to the study

Career plays a very fundamental and significant role in the life of the individual not only because it determines the pattern of income but also because it affects the individual’s personality and concepts in life. Career therefore is a chosen pursuit, life work or success in one’s profession occupied by a person throughout his/her lifetime.  In a nutshell, career is the totality of work one does in his life time and it is person centred. It is of utmost importance to every individual as he or she prepares for the future.

Career choice is something very hard to decide, especially as one’s life depend on it. Her (2003) indicated that, career is the totality of experience through which one learns about and prepares to engage in work as part of one’s way of living.  Splete (12001) Stresses that career is an enjoying process that occurs over life span and includes homes, schools and community. Every human being needs to do one job or the other to help contribute his quote to the development of the country. Ipaye (2000) refers to the need for one to discuss with one’s peers, school counsellors, parents and teachers on the need to choose a life span work at “career convention” or “career conference”.

The problem of career choice has implications for national development. In every society, the quality of workers as well as their degree of job satisfaction contributes directly or indirectly to economic stability and the smooth running of the affairs of the nation. If workers are unable to derive satisfaction from their jobs, frustration sets in with accompanying decline in productivity and civil unrest due to the workers thwarted goals. Occupation according to Onyejiaku (1987) is a way of life. It moulds one’s character, determines one’s social status, income, style of life, choice of friends and mental and physical health (Denga, 1968). This implies that the choice of occupation has a persuasive connection with one’s entire way of life. Generally, it is believed that the primary motive behind the pursuit of various occupations is the fundamental human need to ‘make ends meet’ or to satisfy needs. While this has some truth in it, the contemporary society with its dynamic and sophisticated social and economic systems have taken the problem of occupational choice a step or two further by making it both complex and intriguing.

On the other hand, many are the variables that operate to decide which occupation an individual chooses. Practically, every effort put forth to decide an occupation translates in the light of significant factors, in an effort to limit oneself from entering into a wide array of careers. In other words, occupational choices made imply foregoing several alternatives. A number of these factors tend to impact more strongly than others. A universal hierarchy of these factors in order of extent of influence eludes us because at least, no two individuals are the same. What may significantly influence the occupational preference of one person may have less significance for another. However, while it is difficult to determine the relative potency of these variables is that there is some form of interaction among them where one modifies the other. While some of these variables are psychologically and biologically rooted, others have socio-economic undertones. Still, it is not uncommon for individuals to get into an occupation by accident or by chance (Onyejiaku, 2001).

1.2Statement of the Problem

Career choice tends to be a persistent problem for students in the contemporary society. That is why it is not uncommon for students to get into occupations that are not quite suitable to their abilities. Parental background on the other hand tends to be the single most influential factor in students career choice. More often than not, parents owing to personal idiosyncrasies, pressure their wards into taking up family occupations and other careers even when they do not possess requisite abilities. What is usually obtainable at the end are job dissatisfaction, underperformance if not complete malfunction, frustration and inefficiency all of which translate in the long run to national economic crisis. Therefore, this study investigates parental influence on the choice of career among secondary school students in Somolu Local Government Area of Lagos State.

1.3Objectives of the Study

The objective of the study is to find out the extent to which parental background variables influence the career choice of secondary school students in Shomolu local government area of Lagos State. Specifically, the study aims at finding out whether:

1.                  Parental attitude towards occupation influences the career choice of secondary school students.

2.                  Parents’ level of formal education influences the career choice of students.

3.                  Parents’ occupation influences the career choice of students.

4.                  School type influences the career choice of students.

1.4       Research Questions

The research questions are as follows:

1.                  Is there any relationship between parental attitude towards certain professions and career choice among secondary school students?

2.                  Is there any relationship between parents’ level of formal education and career choice of students?

3.                  Is there any relationship between parents’ occupation and career choice of students?

4.                  Is there any relationship between school type and career choice of students?

1.5Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated to guide the research:

Ho:      Parents’ attitude towards occupations does not significantly influence the career choice of secondary school students.

Ho:      Parents’ levels of formal education do not significantly influence the career choice of students.

Ho:      Parents’ occupations do not significantly influence the career choice of students.

Ho:  School type does not significantly influence the career choice of


1.6Significance of the Study

The dynamic and sophisticated socio-economic system of the contemporary society with accompanying innovations in science and technology present a wide array of occupations for our youths to choose from. However, several factors operate to make a realistic choice in this respect somewhat difficult. Prominent among these factors are parental background variables namely: attitudes towards occupations, level of formal education, and the type of occupation they are into.

This study is significant in that it would expose the influence of these variables on the career choice of secondary school students whereby students could be helped to make realistic occupational choices. Furthermore, from the findings of this study parents would, through PTAs (Parents-Teachers Associations), be dissuaded from compelling their children into taking up occupations that are not at par with their personal characteristics and abilities.

1.7       Scope of the study

The research study is limited to parental influence on the choice of career among senior secondary school students in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State. This research work will cover five randomly selected secondary schools within the said Local Government Area. Three public and two private secondary schools. Findings from the study is limited to senior secondary students within the selected Local Government Area.

1.8       Operational Definition of terms

–                     Career – A chosen pursuit or course of business activity or enterprise, especially one’s professional life or employment that offers advancement and honour.

–                     Influence – The power of acts by which parents or a person has to control the desire of another.

–                     Choice: An act of choosing between two or more possibilities. The right to choose or the possibility of choosing.

–                     Factors: One of several things that cause or influence something or somebody to include as particular fact or situation when you are thinking about or planning something.

–                     Effective: Producing or capable of producing an intended result or having a striking effect.

–                     Counselling: This is the process where a troubled or a confused person is helped by a professional to solve his problem and to make better adjustment to his society. 

–                     Guidance: This is the process of helping the student to understanding himself and his environment in other to develop self effectiveness.

This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research

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