SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS' PEER GROUPING AND CAREER CHOICE
A peer group is a social group as well as a primary group of people. A peer group is a group of people who share characteristics such as age, background, and social status. Members of this group are likely to have an impact on the person's behavior and beliefs. Peer groups have hierarchies and distinct behavioral patterns.
The group establishes a standard of behavior in the form of rules and regulations, dos and don'ts, attitudes and opinions that must be followed and upheld by all members of the group. Children learn to form relationships on their own among their peers and have the opportunity to discuss interests that adults may not share with children, such as clothing and popular music, or may not allow, such as drugs and sex.
However, according to JR Harris (1977), an individual's peer group has a significant influence on their intellectual and personal development. Several longitudinal studies support the hypothesis that peer groups have a significant impact on academic achievement, but few studies have looked at the impact of peer groups on cognitive ability tests.
Furthermore, achieving one's life goals is not an easy task; it entails a rigorous process of decision making, advice, and counseling. In this context, students choose subjects for the senior secondary school certificate examination (SSCE) based on the relevance of the subjects to his or her future career, and in most cases, on the wishes of peers and parents.
One of the goals of education is to help the individual not only fit into society properly, but also to develop the individual's mind to understand his environment and bring about national consciousness in the individual's life. Aside from the general goals of education, secondary education is intended to prepare children for life in an age of rapid technological and computerization.
The society has become complex in this age of Western education, which has brought with it knowledge explosion, to the point where senior secondary school students are faced with the problem of selecting from a number of subjects to qualify for the course of their choice in the university. Subject selection is critical because any decision can have an impact on the rest of the students, either positively or negatively.
According to Durojaiya and Olayinka (1973), most students make unrealistic choices because they are influenced by peer group influence, prestige, occupational value, and sex. In light of the foregoing, it is critical that students be properly guided in their career choice.
Â This will assist students in selecting courses in which they excel.
Currently, Nigeria as a country is unable to employ all of its graduates. This is a major issue because the ultimate goal of formal education is employment. This issue could have been caused by a lack of proper student guidance as a result of a lack of guidance and counseling services in secondary schools.
Statement of the Issue
As previously stated, students in secondary school face numerous challenges when deciding on a career path. The main issue they face is deciding which subjects will qualify them for their future careers. Some rely on their parents or peer group to make the decision for them, while others make their own personal decisions.
The lack of guidance and counselling units in most secondary schools in Edo State's Oredo Local Government Area is to blame for their difficulties in making decisions. They are not felt where they are present because experts are not employed to manage the unit.
The outcome of this situation has not been favorable to both students and their parents, as the majority of them find it difficult to gain admission into university to begin their careers, and those who do manage to enter university graduate to sit at home without being gainfully employed.
To guide the study, the following research questions are stated.
Does peer opinion or suggestion influence a student's career choice?
Does peer approval influence students' career choices?
Do boys and girls react differently to peer group influences on career choice?
The Study's Objective
The purpose of this research is to look into the impact of peer groups on students' career choices. In light of this, the research will:
Determine the extent to which peer opinion or suggestion can influence a student's career choice.
Find out if students' career choices are influenced by the approval of their peers.
Determine whether boys and girls react differently to the influence of their peer group on their career choice.
The Importance of the Research
When completed, this study will be extremely beneficial to educational planners, parents, teachers, students, and the general public.
The study is important to educational planners because it will help them understand the manpower requirements needed to meet the socioeconomic aspirations of all sectors of the economy and, as a result, develop implementable policies and proposals.
The study is significant to teachers and parents because it will provide them with insight into how it can help students make wise career choices.
The study is equally important to the students because it will reveal the factors that can influence their career choice negatively or positively. Furthermore, the research will help them make a career decision.
Finally, the study is important to the general public because it will help them understand the level of knowledge that young adolescents are expected to have in terms of career choices and job opportunities available not only in Edo State, but throughout Nigeria.
The Study's Limitations
The study only included senior secondary school students. Time and financial constraints, as well as the study's small sample size, were significant limitations. These issues could have influenced the study's findings.
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