Career aspirations and expectations of secondary school students of the 8-4-4 system of education in Kiambu, Kajiado and Machakos districts, Kenya.
Kibera, Lucy Wairimu
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The research reported here was conducted in Kenya among a sample of secondary school students from Kiambu, Kajiado and Machakos districts. The major objective for the study was to assess the effects of a vocationally and agriculturally oriented curriculum on the career aspirations and expectations of the secondary school students. Guided by the available and relevant literature on career aspirations and expectations eight hypotheses were formulated. Using the Ex Post Facto Research design and the hypothesis outlined in chapter three as sign posts, questionnaires were prepared to collect data from the students, teachers, and heads of secondary schools. The data collected was mainly categorical and was subjected to the Chi-square model of analysis. Occasionally, Kendalls'tau measure of association for ranked and ordered data was used. The results of testing the outlined hypotheses yielded the following pertinent findings: (1) The 8-4-4 curriculum had affected students attending various categories of secondary schools having different allocations of human beings as well as material resources differently. The majority of secondary school students from the national and public non-national secondary schools preferred to pursue university education, while more of the students from the private and the harambee/assisted schools preferred to train for jobs. However, irrespective of the category of schools attended only a few of the students were interested in joining salaried employment and self-employment respectively. (2) More of the students receiving secondary education in schools with career related clubs than those attending schools without such clubs preferred to pursue university education. Similarly, fewer of the students from the former type of secondary schools desired to train for careers than those from schools without career related clubs. However the results have revealed that the existence of career masters in Kenya's secondary schools has little or no influence on the students' career and educational aspirations and expectations. On the whole, whether schools had career related clubs and career masters did not influence students positively towards salaried employment and self-employment on completion of the secondary school cycle of education. (3) Except for students with mothers in low socio-economic status (SES),mothers in middle and SES seemed to influence the children's career and educational aspirations more strongly than fathers in middle and high SES. This was an unexpected finding. Earlier studies on the influence of the father and of the mother on their children's career and educational aspirations and expectations had shown had greater influence than mothers on their children's career and educational aspirations and expectations. As expected though, secondary school students with parents in middle and high SES had higher educational and occupational aspirations and expectations than students with parents in low SES. Additionally, the former preferred to enter professional jobs while the latter preferred to join clerical jobs. (4) As expected, the family size from which the students come (in less industrialized countries like Kenya) did not have clear influence on the students career and educational aspirations. However the age of the students was closely related to their career and educational aspirations and expectations. Younger students preferred to pursue university education while older students preferred to train for jobs and to enter the world of work. (5) Different geographical/community environments have produced students with different career aspirations and expectations. Thus, while the majority of the students from Kajiado and Kiambu districts preferred to pursue university education, more of the students from Machakos district, preferred to train for jobs. However, very few students from the three districts desired to enter into salaried and self-employment after the secondary cycle of education. (6) There exist a statistically significant difference regarding the career and educational aspirations and expectations of male and female students. With the exception of female students educated in unisexual secondary schools, female students have lower career and educational aspirations and expectations than their male colleagues. (7) There is a strong relationship between students occupational aspirations and expectations and their educational plans. Students with high educational aspirations and expectations aspire to find and expect to enter professional occupations, while most of the students with low educational aspirations and expectations preferred and expected to enter clerical jobs. To sum up, there appears to be no sufficient evidence that the 8-4-4 curriculum with its emphasis on vocational and agricultural subjects has oriented students positively towards either the world of work, that is, salaried employment and self-employment, or manual and technical jobs. Instead, there is clear evidence that the majority of the students of the 8-4-4 curriculum prefer to pursue University education while a good proportion of the students desire to train for jobs. Additionally, the majority of the secondary school students preferred clerical and professional jobs relative to manual and technical jobs.