Investigation into factors that influence students' career choice in public secondary schools: a case of Ol Joro Orok division, Nyandarua north district, Kenya
Gathigia, K.J. Mwai
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Countries, Kenya included, expend a lot of resources in education. There should be a well thought out link between education and progression into careers and the world of work. Career choice has meaning in the context of employability demands in a knowledge economy. It is therefore very important to have an empirical understanding of the factors that influence students' choice of particular carers. Ignorance about one's career is not bliss and planning one's career is better than leaving it to chance or fate. Choosing a career is difficult and many students are unable to express any choice of career. Indeed, majority of secondary school students join institutions of higher learning without proper career choices leading to frequent course changes and poor performance. The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors that influence career choice among students in public secondary schools in OI Joro Orok Division of Nyandarua North District of Central Province of Kenya. The study utilized the survey research design. It targeted the population of all the 763 Form Four (IV) students and all the 22 Career Guidance; and Counselling teachers in all the 10 public secondary schools in the study area. Form four students were selected for the study as they were more likely to have chosen their careers at the end of their four years course. A sample size of 34% of the target population of 763 Form four students were selected through systematic random sampling for the study based on the Ideal Sample Size Model of Krejcie and Morgan (1970). At least one teacher in the Careers Guidance and Counselling Department or any teacher charged with th'e responsibility of careers guidance for students in each of the target schools for the study participated. The study used two questionnaires namely Career Choice Factors for Students Questionnaire for the students and Careers Guidance and Counselling Teachers Questionnaire for careers guidance and counselling teachers. A permit to conduct the study was sought from the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology. Data collected were analysed using percentages of nominal variables and this formed the basis of answering the research questions. This was done through a computer that utilized the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) programme. The data presentation was, done in terms of charts, tables and graphs. Conclusions and recommendations were made from the analysed data in the final research report. Among the major findings were that over 71% of career choice decisions made by students were based on their academic abilities, family influence and peer pressure.