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Background to the Study
Career decisions are significant decisions that nobody should make a mistake about since what a person does for a living affect him in the present as well as for the rest of his life. According to Powell (2009) no other decision that an individual makes has such major impact on economic and perhaps his social well-being. The type of work or job an individual holds, to a large extent determines the person’s quality of life. When an individual makes the wrong career choice at the beginning, his life happiness might be jeopardized. This is why secondary school students should be adequately informed about career decision-making plan which will enable them make realistic career they will be happy with in future. Elmer (2008) asserted that career decision making plan should be taken seriously by secondary school students because it is a life goal setting. Without such a plan, it is like making a journey to an unfamiliar destination without a map.
However, majority of secondary school students are faced with the task of identifying a potential career. Zunker (2011) stated that majority of students are faced with myriad of choices concerning their future career. Today, it would appear that many Nigerian students do not bother or are not concerned about career decision making plans that would enable them choose potential future career. This is evidently glaring in the number of students who are victims of unrealistic career choice. During group career counselling with students, the researcher had asked some students to identify their future career choice. Many of them suggested careers which they do not offer as subjects in school, and also not within their interest and abilities. While others believed that self-concept, family relationship and career experience has nothing to do with their career decision-making plans.
In another occasion, some students were asked what they would like to study in higher institutions of learning. Many responded that any course was good enough for them. When they were also asked which of the establishment they would like to work, majority responded that they do not have any establishment of interest, and that job in any establishment was good enough for them. Also, majority of students complained that their parents had forced them to do certain subjects in which they have no interest and ability. The researcher had also come across some applicants in Nigeria rejecting jobs in areas where they had specialized qualifications. Imagine a qualified medical doctor seeking for job in banks and not in health sectors. There are cases where students already in higher institutions who are pursuing various course of study, expressed their intention to pursue other courses different from the course they were admitted into. The cases above are evidence that majority of students are victims of inappropriate career choice. In other to avoid or reduce this challenge, variables relating to career decision making self-efficacy deserves exploration because of the potential they hold in holistic understanding of students’ reality on career challenges.
Career decision making has been defined by Makinde and Alao (1997) as the process in which a student learns about himself, the world of work and the relationships between the two before deciding on a particular occupational choice. From the researcher’s perspective, career decision making is the ability of a student to understand his or her self, environment and available career before deciding on a particular career. Danahue (2006) stated that career decision making process involves six tools which are vital issues in students’ career decision making plans. They are:
For one to accomplish this process, he or she must have high level of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the belief of an individual to successfully complete a given tasks and reach goals. Career decisions can be enhanced through self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is defined by Bandura (2006) as individual’s belief about his or her level of confidence to produce positive effects. Self-efficacy is the judgment of how well one can execute courses of action required to deal with prospective situations. Students who develop a strong sense of self-efficacy are well equipped to educate themselves when they have to rely on their own initiatives. In essence, a self assured individual perceives situations and proffers solutions to any challenge he may encounter. Therefore, career decision-making self-efficacy is a factor that determines students’ career development.
Crites (2008) noted that career decision-making self-efficacy is the degree of an individual’s belief that he or she can successfully complete specific task required to make realistic career decisions. Low level of career decision making self-efficacy may lead to inhibition of career decisions whereas, high level of career decision making self-efficacy will lead to increase involvement in career decision making plans. Students who possess low level of career decisions making self-efficacy have low level of confidence which may lead to low performance in their chosen career, while students with high level of CDMSE will often succeed better in their chosen career.
There are factors that may alter the career choice pattern of an individual. Otta (2012) identified some of these factors as self-concept, intelligence, birth order, parental attachment, vocational interest, career maturity, motivation, parental social-economic background, work values, age and gender. In this study, the researcher will be interested in relating three factors (self-concept, career maturity and parental attachment) to career decision making self efficacy of secondary school students.
Self-concept is the perception an individual holds about himself which influences his or her expectations. The person who has positive self-concept has high hopes propelling force and energizing properties which enhance successive achievement that life holds. Conversely, a person with negative self-concept runs readily from career challenges. Many students have never thought of themselves as individuals in terms of the sort of person they are, how they differ from others, their needs, abilities, their source of satisfaction, interest and ability. It is impossible for anyone to make a realistic choice of career if his thought about himself as a person has not been crystallized. Super (1996) regards occupational choice as a process of implementing self-concept and stresses the importance of self-awareness in career decision making which helps a person to determine what he can do and what he cannot do. Therefore, the development of self concept, its confirmation and integration are crucial in determining the state of an individual in career decision-making self efficacy.
Career maturity is the readiness to deal with career decision making tasks appropriate to an individual’s life stage (Barak, 2001). Career maturity is the level of an individual in his or her career experience in terms of age, attitude, biological, intellectual, psychological, social, economical and cultural development. Career maturity is the ability of an individual to deal with various career decisions that may come along one’s way in the course of his or her life time. Creed (2001) asserted that students who are mature in their career attitudes will have more success in their chosen career as they possess more realistic expectation that will make them succeed in mastering the tasks appropriate to various stages of career development.
Parental attachment is the amount of trust students have in their relationship with their parents. Parental attachment is the individual’s level of comfort, security, feelings and emotional relationship with parents, caregivers and guidance. The type of relationship a child has with his or her parents can improve or inhibit his or her career decision-making self efficacy. Aluede (2006) reported that, the child’s first place of contact with the world is his family. As a result, the child’s parental attachment can either enhance or limit career decision-making plans of the child. Individual parental attachment whether secure or insecure has a substantial place in an individual’s career decision making.
Therefore, self concept, career maturity and parental attachment in relation to career decision making self-efficacy is functional as well as structural and it motivates or un-motivate the individual to organize his perceptions of readiness to cope with the developmental tasks with which he or she is confronted. Taylor (2005) considered these three factors (self concept, career maturity and parental attachment) within the context of career decision making, and concluded that the centrality of self-concept, career maturity and parental attachment of an individual cannot be fully understood unless the individual outcome of his or her potential occupational decisions are developed. This can only be achieved through exposure to adequate information, knowledge and appropriate career education which is a prerequisite for successful, meaningful and rational career decisions. It is against this background that this study sought to investigate self-concept, career maturity, parental attachment as predictors of career decision-making self-efficacy of public senior secondary school students in Edo State.
Statement of the Problem
The Federal Government of Nigeria (FRN, 2013) envisioned education as an instrument per excellence for effecting national development. Hence, Guidance and Counselling was introduced into Nigerian Secondary school educational system. In spite of this, majority of students do not have adequate knowledge and information about career decision-making plan. And so, when it comes to the issue of career choice, they make choices without considering the outcome and consequences .Thus, many students make wrong and unrealistic career choices. As a practicing school counsellor, the researcher’s worry is that many students experience impediments to constructive career decisions making. This problem of career indecision among secondary school students had lead to this study. This is evidently glaring in the number of students who are victims of unrealistic choice of career.
One of the identified cases among others is when some students that are already in higher institution of learning who are pursuing various courses of study, expressed their intention to pursue other courses different from the course they were originally admitted to. This problem is not only applicable to Nigerian students, but also to students in the western world. This problem, among others, has been of concern and research interest to many researchers in the western world. Among them are Teber (2002) who examined self-concept and career development among college students in Texas. His result indicated that, there was an association between students self-concept and career development. Witto (2010) examined students career maturity and parental attachment as predictors of career decision making. His result indicated that career maturity and parental attachment predicted career decision making of college students. And also both career maturity and parental attachment were associated with students career planning and career decision making.
Western research evidence indicated that ability to make realistic career decision is associated with one’s self-concept, career maturity and parental attachment. Could this apply to Nigerian secondary school students, especially those in Edo State? In Nigeria, Otta (2011) examined self-concept and career maturity as correlates of career decision making self-efficacy of secondary school students in Oyo State. He noted that “much research has not been done on the prediction of self-concept, career maturity and parental attachment to career decision making self-efficacy of secondary school students in Nigeria. Therefore, there is need for researchers to continue to explore the frontiers of knowledge in this area. These are gaps which this study intends to fill.
The worry of this study therefore is to establish if self-concept, career maturity and parental attachment predict career decision making self-efficacy of secondary school students in Edo State.
Purpose of the Study
The overall aim of this study is to examine whether self-concept, career maturity and parental attachment predict career decision-making self-efficacy of senior secondary school students.
Specifically, the study intends to:
To guide this study, the following research questions were raised.
The following hypotheses were tested in this study at the .05 alpha level
Significance of the Study
This study sought to find out from Nigeria setting, self-concept, career maturity, parental attachment as predictors of career decision making self efficacy especially among senior secondary school students in Edo State. Therefore, the results may generate useful information, knowledge and understanding of self-concept, career maturity and parental attachment as well as their relationship, with career decision making self efficacy. The findings will be significant to school counsellors, students, teachers and researchers in the area of Guidance and Counselling.
Findings will benefit school counsellors in two ways. Firstly, the findings of self-concept, career maturity, parental attachment as predictors of career decision making self efficacy among secondary school students will be used by school counsellors to have more insight into students career decision-making. This will enhance a better and improved career counselling that will guarantee students realistic career choice in future. Secondly, the findings of this study will give helpful information to school counsellors on the level of the predictive variable like self-concept, career maturity and parental attachment as they predict career decision making self efficacy, so as to help students to maximally develop their self-potentialities and motivate them into making rational career decisions.
The findings from this study will benefit students in two ways: firstly, the findings will help secondary school students to develop independent thinking ability and to look inwards for solutions to their career problems. Moreso, if they discover that they can tap from their innate potentials and experience to solve career problems on their own without stress. Understanding of this study will make students with career decision-making problems, adjust and be able to ask for help at the appropriate area. Secondly, understanding of this study will make students benefit by exploring the world of work and choosing careers that match or suit their personality types, without gender bias. This will help them perform maximally in their choosen career to achieve their career goals and feel fulfilled.
Since this study is based on scientific research, it will give helpful information to teachers while planning their class activity such as teaching and learning. This will help them to develop individual educational plans for students based on their individual differences in ability, attitude, experiences and personal characteristics, so as to improve and help students boost their self confidence, belief, maturity and experiences thereby helping them to succeed in their studies and future career goals. The information from the study will also help teachers to recognize students that have personal, educational and career challenge in the class and recommend them for counselling. This will improve the students’ well being and enhance teachers teaching and learning activities in the class. Finally, this study will add knowledge to existing body of literature where it will serve as a veritable reference material for future researchers in the area of Guidance and Counselling.
Scope of the Study
This study was carried out in Edo State, one of the 36 states in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The study focused on self-concept, career maturity and parental attachment as predictors of career decision making self efficacy of secondary school students in Edo State.
The study was limited to students in public senior secondary schools in Edo State. The choice of senior secondary school students was that, they are perceived to be vocationally more matured. Population of this study was limited to SSII and SSIII students only. SSI was eliminated because they lacked the experience of career decision making. At this level, students are made to offer all the Subjects.
The choice of SSII and SSIII students as target population was that, they have already made their choice of career by choosing subjects they would like to offer in external examinations, such as West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) among others. It is also at this level they need to identify a viable potential career which they will be considering in higher institution of learning. Therefore, indication of their career decision-making self-efficacy will be effective. However, at the time of collecting data SSIII students were not assessable because they had already completed their West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) so they were not available to respond to the questionnaire. Therefore, only SSII students were around. So data were collected from SSII students. Therefore, generalization was limited to the defined target population which involves SSII students in Edo State.
In this study, the factors that predict students’ career decision making self efficacy were limited to self-concept, career maturity and parental attachment. Self concept in this study covered areas such as personal data and social self-concept of students, areas like academic self-concept of students was not covered. The reason was that this aspect is not directly related to students personal self-concept. Career maturity covers areas of human functioning. The study concentrated on students’ career activities and career information. Area like emotional maturity was not covered. This area is not directly related to career maturity.
In this study, parental attachment covered the area of students’ emotional feelings and interaction of relationship between students and parents. Family economic status and family interpersonal conflicts are not covered. In this study, career decision-making self-efficacy covered student area of career knowledge, interest and information. Area of Students’ career performance was not covered in this study.
Limitations of the Study
The focus of this study is on self-concept, career maturity and parental attachment as predictors of career decision making self efficacy of secondary school students in Edo State. The limitation of this study included. Firstly, only public senior secondary schools in Edo State were used in the study while private secondary schools were excluded. This posed an obvious limitation, as the result of this study may not be generalized to include private school students.
Secondly, the exclusion of all other classes was a serious limitation, as only SS II students were used in the study. The sample size of this study will not by any means represent the entire students in the state. SS I and SS III as well as the junior secondary school classes were omitted. The result will not likely be the same if all categories of secondary school students were used. A note of caution is therefore, needed to be exercised when generalizing the findings of this study.
Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms are defined in the context in which they are used in this study.
Self-concept: This refers to personal description and the way an individual perceives, feels and think about him or herself. It is the ability of an individual to perform a typical career goal.
Career maturity: This refers to the available career information, skills, knowledge, intellectual ability, attitude and experiences possessed by individual student that increases the likelihood of making realistic career decision.
Parental attachment: This refers to parent and child relationship. It is individual’s level of comfort, feeling, care and emotional closeness between a child and his or her parents. This relationship could be unique to a particular parent and a particular child.
Self-efficacy: This is the belief in one’s own level of confidence to complete a given tasks and reach goals.
Career decision-making (CDM): This is a process in which a student learns about himself, the available careers and the relationship between the two before deciding on a particular career.
Career decision-making self-efficacy (CDMSE): This is the individual’s belief in his or her Level of confidence about whether he or she can successfully engage in tasks associated with making decisions about his or her career.