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Vocational Education

Perceived Relevance Of Vocational Subjects To Learners’ Career Development Among Parents Of Secondary School Students




Vocational/technical education ought to attract many students because of its laudable importance but reverse has been the case. The reason for this, probably, is due to significant others’ perception that it does not require specialized kind of training. This descriptive study investigated perceived relevance of vocational subjects to learners’ career development among parents of secondary school students.

A 10-item questionnaire investigating parents’ perception of the relevance of vocational subjects was adopted and administered to 200 parents that were randomly selected from public senior secondary schools within Ikeja area of Lagos State. Data analysis was done using simple percentage statistics.

Findings from the study reveal parents’ perception that vocational education is an important aspect of education process but such education limits education progress and career development;that the perceived relevance of vocational subjects is an influence on students’ choice of career; and that there is no significant gender difference on the perceived relevance of vocational subjects.

The study further recommends that government at all levels should provide more encouragements in the form of facilities, facilitators, skilled artisans and motivations to stimulate participation in vocational subjects; help artisans in exporting their products and services as a way of showcasing the benefits of vocational subjects; Guidance Counsellors should organise career counselling on the importance of vocational subjects for students on the relevance of vocational subjects to future career fulfilment; and that more public enlightenment programmes should be embarked upon by agencies such as The National Orientation Agency and Non-Governmental Organisations on the importance of vocational/technical subjects to national development.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the study

Vocational and technical education is among the vital tools an individual can use to be developed. It is training for useful employment in trade, industries, agriculture, business and home making etc. The emphasis on Vocational/ Technical education is to prepare one for self reliance.

The Federal Government of Nigeria wants vocational/technical education to occupy a prominent position in our secondary schools. Meanwhile, Nigerian schools pay little or no attention to vocational/technical subjects. Teachers, parents and students seem not to understand what it is all about and consequently, develop some contempt and aversion for the subjects. As such, student attitude towards vocational/technical subjects remain unhealthy. Many of the related occupations and trades are regarded as ignoble and unbecoming. An average Nigerian parent does not want his son to earn a living as a full time farmer, a watch-repairer, a plumber, a house painter. For many Nigerians, these jobs are for the poor and underprivileged.

Typically, higher occupational status of the students’ parents influences positive attitude of students towards science (Padunny, 1994). This is to say that higher occupational parents would want their children to be doctors, engineers etc without considering if the child would actually read science subject to achieve that. The influence of parents in the development of student’s interest in vocational/technical subjects cannot be over emphasized as this is because parents seem to have much influence on children’s choice of educational career.

The socio-economic status of parent of a child determines the type of career one choose to do, some parents have biased and rigid thoughts regarding the occupational choices of a child/children. Parents forgot that every type of work, once it is beneficial to the individual and society, is worthy and noble (Nwankwo, 1996).

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Individuals from the earliest of their life often come across with the question what they want to be when they grow up. Early vocational developmental theorists explicitly have affirmed that childhood is a vital formative period for vocational development (Ginzberg et al., 1951; Havighurst, 1972; Roe, 1956). Studies have shown that a number of factors are associated with children’s vocational choice development. Among them are parents, the favourite academic subject, social environment and planned or unplanned vocational guidance activities at schools.

Children’s vocational aspiration development starts as early as at pre-school years. In those early years, parents play a critical role in motivating and encouraging their children to explore about various vocations (Seligman et al., 1988).

In their study, found that children tend to acquire more information about their parents’ vocation if their parents have a positive attitude towards it. Another way that parents influence children’s vocational aspiration , as found in a study by Helwig (1998), is that parents somehow express their expectations from their children about which vocation they (children) should have and children pursue their vocational aspiration to meet their parents’ expectations. Parents’ gender is also another influential factor in children’s vocational aspirations. Trice and Knapp (1992) found that children have learned more about their mothers’ vocation than about fathers’ vocation.

Making the right career choice that would keep adolescents relevant in the scheme of things in an emerging economy like Nigeria could be daunting and difficult. Nigerian adolescents in secondary schools are often preoccupied with very many thoughts of future career prospects. This, more often than not, often predispose these adolescents to irrational thoughts. Such irrational thoughts could be debilitating to the society and psychological well-being of adolescents. Transition from secondary school to workplace, college or university is a critical path through which every adolescent must pass through (Cassie, 2005). However, it is not uncommon to aver that many of these adolescents are left unguarded while transiting from college to workplace.

Most often, parents, teachers, and friends have encouraged secondary school students to proceed to the university while a good number of secondary school students may end up attending universities without knowing why or what they intend to study. For many, this is an important time for career-related matters that will be beneficial to them. As they face the need to choose an academic major, as well as to develop career goals for the future, career problems often become a developmental phase they must pass through in making proper career choices for life.

Several studies have been conducted on adjustment difficulties adolescents face in relation to career and planning. (Hiebert, Collins & Robinson 2001; Magnusson & Bernes, 2001; Pyne & Bernes, 2002; Pyne, Bernes, Magnusson & Poulsen, 2002; Bardick, Bernes, Magnussson & Witko, 2004). Adolescents have received a lot of attention because it is at this stage of life that individuals first begin to prepare and eventually train themselves for a future career in order to become independent adults.

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Career development process should start at an early age. Learning about different careers early could enable students have a better understanding of types of jobs they would want to explore in the future. Career process may start formally as early as primary school and could continue throughout secondary school because of many uncertainties especially in an unstable economy like ours. Career uncertainty among secondary school students remains a constant challenge in the entire globe. According to Rosenbaum (2001), in a national survey in the United State of America, nearly all high school seniors (95%) plan to attend college. A study indicated that approximately 20 per cent of students who attend four year college are undecided as freshmen (Hayes, 1997). This transition from thoughts which are not only theoretically relevant to career planning, but also practical in their application (Peterson, Sampson & Reardon, 1991). Classes in career development usually have self-exploration and reflection built into their design and could contribute to developing self-confidence in students

Career development training has been observed to have positive effect on students in general (Folsom & Reardon, 2000; Whiston, Sexton & Lasoff, 1998). Career development therapy had resulted in reduction of negative traits, including career indecision (Johnson, Nichols, Buboltz & Riedesel, 2002; Peng, 2001), irrational career thoughts (Reed, Reardon, Lenz & Leierer, 2001), as well as increases in positive traits such as career decidedness (Johnson, Nichols, Buboltz & Riedesel 2002). In addition, Folsom, Peterson, Reardon and Mann (2002) observed that students who completed an undergraduate career planning course had higher graduation rates when compared to the general student population (81% compared with 69%) and graduated with fewer credit hours on average than the general population (110 compared with 132).

People’s perception about themselves and their career choice affect their ability to make decisions. Sampson et al. (1996) suggested that cognitive reframe may be one intervention counsellors can use to assist clients in combating irrational career thoughts. Most adolescents are unaware of the biases, misinformation, and distorted beliefs that they are given by parents which they consequently bring to career choice and that these presuppositions can lead to self-defeating and disabling experiences (Krumboltz, 1983). Elliott (1995) noted that negative self-statements can impair a client’s ability to utilise occupational information, lead to career indecision, and inappropriate choices. It is not surprising that students are not interested in vocational/technical subjects. Osuala (1992) opined that, at the heart of our society and economic problem is a national attitude that implies that vocational/technical subjects are designed for somebody else’s children and is meant primarily for the children of the poor. This same attitude is shared by students. Thus, it makes the students lack interest in the study of vocational subjects.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Vocational/Technical education subjects ought to attract many students because of its laudable importance but reverse has been the case. The reason for this probably is due to people’s perception that it does not require specialized kind of training. The students have the feeling that even if one is at home at the requite skills needs to learn have to cook, farm; etc can be acquired without formal training. People are ignorant of the importance of the vocational subjects which could help males and female students receive formation and are able to work solution to problems. Also, it enables the students to acquire skills, abilities essential for independent life met up with personal and family needs more especially in this economic difficulties.

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The positive effect of career development has been consistently demonstrated in foreign countries as related in the studies cited above. In Nigeria, these have not been sufficiently done. Therefore, there is the need to investigate if those parental perceptions about vocational subjects will be useful so as to inculcate and curriculum to help these students make the appropriate career choice as they transit from childhood to adolescence and finally to adulthood.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The primary focus of this study was to investigate parent perceptions about vocational subjects.

The study also sought to find out if the perceived relevance of vocational subjects is in relation to the students’ aspirations.

1.4 Research Questions

To guide the study, the following four research questions were presented:

  1. What is the perceived relevance of vocational subjects among parents of secondary school students?
  2. Does the perceived relevance of vocational subjects by parents influence the students’ choice of careers?
  3. Is there any significant difference between male and female parents perceived relevance of vocational subjects?

1.5 Significance of the Study

Many factors affect career choices of high school students. Identifying these factors would give parents, educators, and industry an idea or insight on the influence of home on the career selection process of secondary school students. This will also reveal 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.

The study provides valuable information on the influence of parents’ perceptions as factors on the choice of career among secondary school students. Again, it serves as a resource material for others who want to carry out researches in emerging areas in the influence of environmental factors among secondary school students.

The study will provoke further research into the need to help parents develop appropriate perception and understanding of the importance of vocational subjects in relation to their various aspirations. This invariably provides information to Guidance counsellors on how to orientate secondary school students and their parents on the need to show interest in vocational subjects as introduced in Nigerian secondary schools.

1.6 Delimitation of the Study

The study is concerned with investigating parents’ perceptions on the relevance of vocational subjects in the choice of careers among secondary school students. It is aimed at all senior secondary school students in Ikeja Local Government of Lagos state.

1.7 Operational definition of terms

Vocational education includes subjects, courses and programmes at various educational levels for selected careers in an occupational area.

Career Development:

Is a process of helping children to discover and develop their careers through life stages.

Career Decision:

Is the process of choosing a particular career or occupation

Parents’ Perception:

Refers to the opinions of parents in relation to career choices.

Parental Involvements:

Refer to the participation of parents in their children’s education

Pages:  70

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF               

Chapters: 1-5                                          

Source: Imsuinfo                            

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.


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