Analysis of factors influencing career choice among public secondary schools students in Meru County Kenya
Njogu, Sarah Wambeti
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Career selection is one of the many important choices students make which have lifelong effects. This is because choosing a career that matches one’s interests, skills and values significantly increases their chances for social-economic success, personal fulfillment and happiness. However, whether or not a student is equipped with requisite career choice information to necessitate informed decisions is yet to be established. Although review of literature shows that students have numerous challenges when selecting careers, the factors that influence career choice among secondary school students and the extent of their impacts were still not clearly understood. This study sought to analyze factors influencing career choice in public secondary schools in Meru County, with a view to determining individual and combined influence of each factor on career choice. It was guided by four objectives; namely; to examine the influence of career guidance services provided to students on career choice, to assess the influence of parental aspirations on career choice, to investigate influence of mass media on career choice and to evaluate the influence of school policy on subject selection in career choice by secondary school students. The study was informed and guided by the Social Learning Theory of Career Decision Making by John Krumboltz and Contingency Theory of Management by Joan Woodward. It adopted mixed methods approach and used descriptive survey and correlational research designs in investigating the phenomena. The target population comprised 19,862 Form Four students, 364 principals, 364 career guidance teachers and 364 form four Parents Association representatives’ from all the 364 public secondary schools in the Meru County. Through stratified, systematic and purposive sampling respectively, 460 participants were selected from 364 schools. A questionnaire and an interview schedule were used to collect data from target population. A pre-test of the instruments was carried out to ensure reliability and validity. Data analysis was done with the help of SPSS (Version 24) and Microsoft excel. Overall response rate was 92.1%. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics (mean, standard deviation and percentages), and inferential statistics (Chi-square test, ANOVA, correlation and regression analysis). The results were presented in frequency distribution tables, charts and in other cases, logical explanations and narratives were provided. Results show that career which students of public secondary schools in Meru County choose are statistically and significantly influenced by nature of career guidance services; parental aspirations, mass media, and school policy on selection of subjects. The findings revealed that mass media and parental aspirations as factors that exert greatest influence on career choices. The findings of this study have implications on career guidance practices and policy in secondary schools. The study recommends that principals, educationists, career guidance teachers to organize for capacity building and awareness campaigns to sensitize students, parents and the general public on the influence of the four factors on career choice and to underscore the role that should be played by each of these stakeholders.