Relationship between parental variables and career choices among students in mixed day secondary schools in Kinangop Sub-County; Nyandarua County, Kenya.
Wachira, Dorcas Wangari
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Career choice is a vital decision for students but can be a challenging task for many since the activity is influenced by different factors. However, though efforts have been put in Kenyan education system to improve career choice decision making including integrating guidance and counselling in schools career choice has not improved the situation since many students experience difficulties in choosing a career. Despite research pointing out that parent have a role to play in education process of their children, they are not formally involved in career choice activities in schools. Parents are important stakeholders in career choice decision making process, but parental variables influencing career choice have been studied in isolation. This study guided by Cognitive Information Processing theory sought to establish the relationship between identified parental variables and career choice among high school students in mixed day secondary schools, in Kinangop sub County, Nyandarua County. It aimed at establishing the influence of the parental expectations on students’ career choices, examining the influence of parental-child relationship, determining the influence of parent’s socio-economic status and determining the influence of parental support on students’ career choices. The study adopted a correlation design that gathered both qualitative and quantitative data. The target population included 1730 individuals made up of 980 form three students and their 750 parents in 14 mixed day secondary schools. Both stratified random sampling and random sampling techniques were used to arrive at the sample size of 530 made up of 276 students and 254 parents. The study used questionnaire as the research instrument, and data was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20 computer software. Results were presented in summary form using tables and pie charts. The study revealed parents are detached from their children when it comes to identifying and nurturing their talents and do not encourage them to consider varying educational and career options. The relationship between parents and students is generally not inclusive of making career choices while majority of students cannot ask their parents any questions regarding general life issues. Parents do not understand students’ thoughts, feelings, and opinions about various topic and are not able to provide all the resources needed for schooling. Most parents do not financially support the students to attend career related trips conferences and seminars. The study revealed that parents’ expectations (r=0.124 at .005<0.05), parent-child relationship (r = 0.125 at .002 < 0.05), parents social economic status (r = 0.196, at .000 < 0.01) and parental support (r= 0.196 at.000 < 0.01) variables, all had a positive and statistically significant influence on students career choice. So all the tested null hypotheses were rejected. The study recommends that parents should take a higher and more active and deliberate role of supporting and guiding their children in making career choices, while seeking more knowledge and awareness of their children career options both in terms of core and co-curricular careers. Counsellor-teacher-parent teamwork must be strengthened in schools to support secondary students when they are making career choices. The findings could be used by schools to initiate programs that will sensitize and enlighten parents on their influence on career issues affecting their children and increasing their involvement in their children’s career choice process.