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This research study was carried out to investigate “Psychosocial Variables and Students’ Career Choice in Public Secondary Schools in Ikono Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The study adopted a survey design method in carrying out the study. Random sampling technique was used in selecting two hundred and fifty (250) respondents for the study. A structured twenty item questionnaire called psychological variables and student career choice questionnaire (PVSCCQ) was developed and used in collecting data for the study. The collected for the study was analyzed using Pearson’s Moment Correlation relationship. The findings of the revealed that student’s self-concept to a varying degree relates with student’s career choice. Based on the findings of the study, it recommended among others that Government should endeavour to employ career guidance counsellors in all the secondary schools so as to help assist students in their career decision-making process.



1.1           Background of 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. Career choice has become a complex science with the advent of information technology, the emergence of post industrial revolution and job competition. 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 has not only to make due career planning but also exhaustive career research before making a career choice so as to adjust with the evolving socio-economic conditions (Wattles, 2009).

The right career choice for the students entering into the professional education is critical, having high impact on their professional life and future achievement. This is the turning point: it cannot be left, on intuition, preconceived notions, wild imaginations or popular concepts. A misperceived career choice directs all individual efforts and resources into wrong direction, when not aligned with the expectations; would not only be frustrating rather draining of the individual energy and wastage of resources. The re-alignment is possible, but it has serious implications in terms of time, money and motivation. The career choice of the students must need to be based on; strong knowledge, complete information, and appropriately guided, matching individual personality type and other intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The students need to be oriented on new emerging trends, future opportunities and challenges in the context of career choice options. They need to know the prevalent market trends and practices and job scenario of various sectors (Kazi, Nimra and Nawaz, 2017). According to Hewitt (2010), factors influencing career choice can either be intrinsic or extrinsic or both.

The term career is broadly defined as all life time roles people play including students, parents, employees, retirees and employers. Therefore, career could be seen to be life time pursuits of an individual. The complexity of career decision making among individuals was earlier recognized by career theorists such as Super (1957), Ginsburg, et al (1951), Tiedeman and O’hara (1953), and Gelatt decision making model (1962) in Eremie (2015). All the above theorists recognized that individual decision-making styles play significant part in the whole process of career development, and that gender, personal interests, and learning experiences were all seen as factors affecting students’ career choices. They recognized that career choice among students was influenced by personality, interests, self-concept, cultural identity, globalization, family and social support. Geciki (2002) sees the word career as the occupational, commercial or industrial activity that a person may adopt during his educational life or in some other part or till his death. Redman and Wilkinson (2001) clarifies career as the application of a person’s cognition and capabilities, providing command over profession, timely work expertise and a basis of developing and bettering business networks. Students perception of being suitable for particular jobs also has been found to be influenced by a number of factors including ethnic background, year in school, level of achievement, choice of science subjects, attitudes and differences in job characteristics (McQuaid and Bond, 2003).

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The emergence of secondary schools in Nigeria is traceable to various missionary bodies. The Church Missionary Society (C.M.S.) took the lead and was followed by other missions in the establishment of most post-primary schools in various parts of the country. Fafunwa (1974) in Onoyase and Onoyase (2009) opined that there was common curriculum among the missions and the subjects were mainly the four RS: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and Religion. Oroka (1998) pointed out that with gradual government involvement in education since 1882, the curriculum content was expanded to accommodate subjects like Latin, Greek, European History, Economic History and English Literature. These subjects were meant to promote the British culture. In fact, this was the curriculum that Nigeria inherited from the colonial masters. University graduates at this period were held in high esteem. The situation has changed and the number of occupations has increased immensely and the current trend is for students to specialize in a particular field. This was one of the factors that prompted a change from the 6-5-4 system of education to the 6-3-3-4 system of education that emphasized technological education.

Nigeria is rapidly developing her technological education, which has made the society more complex than it was in the time past. The number of occupation that has sprung up as a result of this technological development has also increased greatly and also, there are many careers within one occupation. For instance, farming, which was a simple occupation some years ago, is now a very complex occupation within many careers to choose from. These includes: poultry, vegetable farming, fruit farming, fishery, piggery, etc, the implication of this is specialization.

The problem of career choice among secondary school students has generated a lot of questions and answers among scholars. The problem has been a delicate issue that has to be approached with caution. There is no clear process that secondary school students have used to make career choice. Reports from media and results from certificate examination bodies like West African Examination Council (WAEC), National Examination Council (NECO), Joint Admission and Examination Board (JAMB) have shown that the rate of failure among secondary school students in secondary schools is in an alarming rate. Universities have complained that very many students who chose a particular field of study are underperforming in those areas. This is attributed to both intrinsic and extrinsic factors.

 Most of students who are in secondary schools do not have accurate information about occupational opportunities to help them make appropriate career choice. 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 et al (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. Therefore, this study seeks to investigate psychological variables and students career choice in secondary schools.

1.3     Purpose of the Study

Since career choice is one of the challenges facing secondary students in secondary school, the main purpose of this research study was to investigate “psychological variables and students career choice in public secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. It will also look into the following in relation to the research study:

(i)                                     Students’ self-concept and career choice among secondary schools students in Ikono Local government Area.

(ii)                                   Students’ career perception and career choice among secondary school students’ in Ikono Local Government Area.

(iii)                      Motivation for occupational preference and career choice among secondary school students in Ikono Local Government Area.

(iv)                      Peer pressure and students’ choice of career in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area.

(v)                                   Students’ cognitive ability and their choice of career in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area.

1.4             Significance of the study

This study will be significant to government, guidance counselors, students and parents in the following ways:

(i)                                     It will help reemphasized the need for government to provide an enabling teaching/learning environment for both teachers and students so as to ensure that adequate information about careers is disseminated to student in order to make their career choice easy and worthwhile.

(ii)                                   It will help reemphasized the need for parents not to force their children against their area of career interest, as this may make not to function optimally in their parent’s preferred career choice.

(iii)                      It will help sensitize students on the need to also consult their school guidance counselors as this will help them obtain basic, adequate and proper career information regarding their career area of interest.

(iv)                      It will enable the researcher to make concrete recommendations to the government on areas to improve upon about psychological variables determining the choice of career among students especially now that the rate of unemployment is high.

(v)                                   It is believed that the findings of this study will enable the researcher to make recommendations for further research on the issue of psychological variables and how it influence career choice among secondary school students.

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

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