Relationship Between Attitudes, Academic Performance, Gender and Choice of Agricultural Careers among Secondary School Students in Thika District, Kenya.
Waihenya, Judy Nyaguthii
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In this study, the researcher investigated the relationship among selected variables which include; attitudes towards agriculture, agriculture academic performance, gender and choice of agricultural careers. Social learning theory of career decision making and Vocational development theory were used. Social learning theory emphasises learning through observation which can influence the attitude of an individual when making a career choice in future. Vocational development theory posits that career choice is a process in an individual‟s career life which starts from growth stage (4-14 years) and is tried out in the exploratory stage (15-24 years); this choice also influence interests and attitude during career choice. The study consisted of 240 form two students selected from secondary schools in Thika District. Attitudes towards agricultural careers were measured using an agricultural attitude scale developed by the researcher. Agriculture scores were obtained from the school records to measure agriculture academic performance. Career choices were measured through a questionnaire which also carried students‟ background information. For data analysis the researcher used both descriptive and inferential statistics. All the hypothesis were tested at α= 0.05 level of significance. Tests used included t-test, chi-square and analysis of variance (ANOVA).The study established that majority of the students in Thika District did not express career aspirations in agriculture. This was despite the fact that majority of the students had positive attitudes towards agricultural careers. The study established that only 33.3% of the students were low achievers in agriculture, indicating that academic performance in the subject was not to blame for low number of students who choose agricultural careers. Significantly more boys than girls had chosen agricultural careers, despite the fact that more girls than boys had positive attitudes towards agriculture, and girls performed slightly better than boys in the subject. The findings of the study led to the conclusion that failure by students to choose agricultural careers is neither as a result of poor academic performance in the subject nor by attitudes towards agricultural careers. There could be other factors that cause students‟ not to choose agricultural careers. More research is needed to find out the role of factors like career guidance in schools, government policies on agriculture, teaching methodologies employed by agriculture teachers, role of mass media in promoting agriculture careers like agribusiness, and other related factors that could impact on students‟ choice of agricultural careers.