IMPACT OF VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE ON CAREER CHOICE OF SECONDARY STUDENTS
1.1 Background of the Study
Vocational guidance and counseling services are essential tools in student development especially during adolescent stage. Adolescent stage is characterized by rapid growth and change: socially, spiritually, physically, morally and intellectually. Most of adolescents are in secondary schools, that is why guidance and counseling services are very essential. According to Bark (2003), guidance and counseling are the assistances made available by qualified and trained persons to an individual of any age to help him to manage his own life activities, develop his own points of view, make his own decisions and carry his own burden. In addition, Braddock (2001) states that, the purpose of guidance and counseling in schools is to improve academic achievement, foster positive study attitudes and habits, increase acquisitions and application of conflict resolution skills, and decrease school dropouts. Lack of guidance and counseling in adolescence has resulted to increase in unpleasant outcomes in the society. These include school dropouts, drug abuse, crimes, and even failure to secure jobs. Anastasi (1990) also adds that the task of educational guidance and counseling is to enable a student to adjust himself to his studies by improving his study attitude and removing subject matter difficulties. When guidance and counseling services is lacking in schools, students’ adaptation becomes difficult thus leading to poor performance, misbehavior and dropout. According to Odeke (1996), without sound guidance and counseling, many students loose direction and engage themselves in bad behaviors such as drug abuse and alcohol indulgence, missing classes, dropout and so on; as a result they lack both focus and direction resulting to total failure in life. In this regard, students need guidance and direction to study and choose career. The necessity of vocational guidance could not be over emphasized that there is the need to put in place a mechanism such as, guidance and counselling in every educational setting to help meet students’ educational, personal-social, and vocational needs. Such guidance services assist students to take meaningful decisions and make positive adjustments in life. Hence, guidance which is a helping service aims at behavioral change toward a functional life. Within the guidance programme are the following services: appraisal, information, counselling, placement, orientation, consultation, referral and follow-up. Thus, educational changes should go beyond mere diversification of the curriculum if the changes should be a means of helping students to have integrated personality to realize their true potentials. Vocational guidance is therefore expected to be an essential component of the educational system to facilitate students’ decisions in the selection and appropriate combination of subjects or courses that best suit their aptitudes and aspirations for the future world of work. Vocational or career guidance helps students to identify their own talents, strengths and weaknesses, family expectations, and national requirements in order to sort out the personal relevance of the educational and career options available. Career guidance service goes a long way to inform students’ decisions about their subjects of study which obviously lead to appropriate career decisions. In sum, guidance not only caters for the academic growth of students, but also their personal and social lives, thereby satisfying the philosophy underlying their education which is creating a well-balanced (intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically) individuals with the requisite knowledge, skills, values and aptitudes for self-actualization and for the socio-economic and political transformation of a nation. This research therefore sought to find out factors that are likely to inform choices of study and career of students in second cycle institutions. The researcher deems it fit to undertake this study because Ghana, in its transition from a typical traditional society to a modern technological orientation, is presently undergoing rapid changes and such changes in one way or the other can alter the needs of individuals and the country at large.
Vocational guidance is essential in secondary schools when the students are not sure about choosing a suitable career option. It is important to know that a person career determines his course of life. While a good decision at the right point in time can make the students life pleasant; a wrong one can as well can well ruin it.
Despite having a clear idea of what they want to achieve in life, some student, do not know the career path they need to follow to have requisite academic qualification to join a particular course. Vocational counseling can help the student’s clear doubts by giving them a clear cut view of what they can expect from various educational courses.
In particular, Nigeria like many other developing countries is faced with the problem of inability of her educators to relate education to employment opportunities; Okoye (2000). This is apparently in vogue in the nations secondary schools where many teachers are said to be incapable of assisting the students to perceive a vivid picture of the world of work. Olayinka(2001) opines that obtaining good grades in examination to acquire certificate either for admission into higher institutions or obtain good employment is the main goal of education to many people; rather than acquisition of knowledge and skills through studying .
Even with limited subject options offered by many Nigerian secondary schools; the students seem to have difficulty choosing subjects to study for the West African School Certificate Examination because their teachers cannot help them secure relevant information on career options. Many students do not know the relationship between the subjects they are being taught in school and their dream careers. It is therefore important to stress on the need for vocational guidance in secondary schools.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The high rate of unemployment and underemployment among school leavers in Nigeria is a serious issue for concern. It is contended that one of the contributing factors of unemployment cum under employment among school leavers in the country could be inadequate or lack of vocational guidance to students while in and out of school. In other words they are not given sufficient and relevant vocational or occupational information that will enable them graduate from school to a suitable occupation. It is through a graduates occupation that he/she is expected to serve the country, contribute and at the same time benefit from economic growth and national development.
The choice of a particular vocation, however, is one vital decision one makes in a life time and is as important as life because of the enduring consequences on the individual. The 6-3-3-4 system of education in Nigeria was generally geared at harmonizing the society with its technological needs as it attempt to develop the society as the need arises. The problem of inferiority complex, personal confidence, self-motivation and inter-personal relationship lead to building of fellow students, this at times leads to truancy in the school. Also some students do not have self confidence in terms of keeping themselves and do not want help from other people. The problems which manifest themselves in the social and emotional needs of the students which affect students learning conditions are as follows: Drug Addition which is a major problem teachers, parent’s school administrations and counselors find hard to cope with and resolving it, for it is usually not easy to get rid of this habit formation when students deviates from counselor’s advice. Also the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) provides room for dialogue between the teachers and the parents. This can be used as a yardstick that measures the progress of guidance and counseling programme in the state, but lack of such association has been posing threat to the guidance and counseling programme in schools in places where the association is established, parents tends to neglect the attendance of such meeting whenever they are invited, as such they cannot understand the problems of their children as well as their achievements in schools.
1.3 Objectives of the study
This study is basically aimed at probing into the impact vocational guidance has been able to make in the career decision taking of secondary school students in Enugu south. Specific ally, the study intends
- To determine the extent to which vocational guidance has been able to influence career choice of secondary school students in Enugu south.
- To determine the extent to which vocational guidance can practically reduce the level of unemployment among school leavers.
- To determine the factors influencing career decision making of secondary school students.
- To determine the factors that affect the effective implementation of vocational guidance in secondary schools in Enugu south..
1.4 Research questions
- To what extent has vocational guidance been able to influence career decision making of secondary school students?
- How does vocational guidance reduce the level of unemployment among school leavers?
- What factors influence the career decision making of secondary school students?
- What are the factors that influence or affect the effective implementation of vocational guidance in secondary school leavers?
1.5 Significance of the study
This study examine the impact of vocational guidance on the career of secondary students in relation to parent-child relationship and the role of teachers on career counselling among students. The findings of this study is expected to help the curriculum developers to design educational programs that would be used in teaching specific aptitude and skills required by students to be able to implement their vocational aspiration The study will be of great benefit to secondary school students in acquiring skills and attitude necessary to develop educational goals which are suited to their needs, interest and abilities. To the teachers in secondary schools in providing necessary supports, guide and counselling pertaining to students choice of career. To parents so they could look inward at the children’s aptitude, interest and aspirations and not force the youths on a particular vocation. To scholars, governments, researchers and the general public who intend to broaden the search on the impacts of vocational guidance on career choice.
1.6 Scope and limitation of the study
The study was carried out in selected government owned secondary schools in Enugu-South local government area of Enugu State.
This study centers on the impact of vocational guidance on the career of secondary students in relation to parent-child relationship and the role of teachers on career counselling among students. However the research has some constraints which are;
Time: the time at the disposal of the researcher which is allocated for the study was a major limitation as the researcher has to combine other academic work with the study.
Finance: The finance at the disposal of the researcher in the course of the study does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.
1.7 Definition of terms
Career: A career is an individual’s journey through learning, work and other aspects of life. There are a number of ways to define a career and the term is used in a variety of ways.
Guidance: help and advice about how to do something or about how to deal with problems connected with your work, education, or personal relationship.
Vocational education: Vocational education is education that prepares people to work in a trade, a craft, as a technician, or in professional vocations such as engineering, accountancy, nursing, medicine, architecture, or law. Craft vocations are usually based on manual or practical activities and are traditionally non-academic but related to a specific trade or occupation. Vocational education is sometimes referred to as career education or technical education.
Guidance Counsellors: A school counselor is a counselor and an educator who works in primary (elementary and middle) schools and/or secondary schools to provide academic, career, college access/affordability/admission, and social-emotional competencies to all students through a school counseling program.
Adolescents: Meaning to grow up which is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood (age of majority).