EFFECT OF PARENTAL INFLUENCE ON THE CHOICE OF SCIENCE SUBJECT AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
Background of the Study
Science is recognized widely as being of great importance internationally both for economic well-being of nations and because of the need for scientifically literate citizens (Fraser and Walberg, 1995). Knowledge of science and technology is therefore a requirement in all countries and all people globally due to the many challenges that are facing them. These challenges include emergences of new drug resistant diseases, effects of genetic experimentation and engineering, ecological impact of modern technology, dangers of nuclear war and explosions and global warming among others (Alsop & Hicks, 2001). As a result there are rapid changes taking place in industry, communication, agriculture, and medicine. Science as an instrument of development plays a dominant role in bringing about these changes by advancing technological development, promoting national wealth, improving health and industrialization (Validya, 2003). Weham, Dorlin, Snell and Taylor (1984) emphasized that sciences are and will remain the fundamental subjects through the ages.
Parents had a significant effect on students’ choice of career and subjects. Parents’ characteristics played a vital role in students’ choice of technical subjects. Parents had a crucial task of preparing the child for education. In their task of socializing the child’s parents had a greater influence on the child’s development and future life choices (Mabunda, 2002). Elsworth, Harvey‐Beavis, Ainley andFabris (1999) observe that students were more likely to be enrolled in Economics nd Business, and Home Science if they came from lower socioeconomic status backgrounds. Mohd, Salleh and Mustapha (2010) also affirms that family members can provide information and guidance, directly or indirectly to influence a young person’s choice of career. Family members’ career choices influence students’ career decision and form a strong belief in what kinds of career are the best for the students. This is supported by Anderson and Gilbride (2007) who stated that knowledge about engineering was correlated to having an engineer in the family. Rayne (1982) observed that, there must be some credible role models in the community who imparted in the mind of individuals the benefits of self- employment as a career. Hardy (1984) also observed that, lack of role models was a limiting factor in the career choices of young people; and that business ownership emerges more readily in the presence of strong entrepreneurial role models. The
abundance of successful independent businesses acted as role models in the community and a contributing factor in students’ choice of technical subjects in schools.
According Whitelaw, Milosevec and Daniels (2000), gender was probably the most important variable related to pupils’ attitudes to science and technology subjects. Many studies, for instance, Francis and Greer (1999) and Jones, Howe and Rua (2000) reported that males had more positive attitudes toward science and technology subjects than females
Statistics on international trends in science subjects selection in 46 countries shows that in the US, among fourth graders in 2007, males continued to prefer science subjects to females in where males scored significantly higher overall than females in science (Mullis, Martin and Foy, 2008).The 1986 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) carried out in the United States earlier had reported that boys had outperformed girls in sciences achievement and the gender gap increased as students progressed in school. A later assessment by NAEP in 2005 revealed that males preferred sciences subjects to females in grades 4, 8 and 12. Females at all levels made relatively little gains in their average science scores since 1996. In most cases by grade 11, the areas of largest male advantage were physics, chemistry, earth science and space science (Kahle and Meece, 1994). In the final year of secondary school, males had a significantly higher achievement in scientific literacy than females in all participating countries (European Union Report, 2009).
Statement of the Problem
Students in Nigeria secondary schools have been often faced with the problem of indecision when they are about to choose the science subjects in their third form of the secondary school education. This problem has plagued many Nigeria secondary school students for quite sometimes. It is such a problem that must be looked into, knowing fully well that the place of sciences in secondary education cannot be over emphasized in the educational development of a nation. With good background, students still need to develop themselves on the subject areas they are keenly interested in and particularly that they have potentiality for. Many students have been found choosing subjects without considering the aspect of their potentiality and the directive of the school counselor where available.
Purpose of the Study.
The major objective of this study is to find out the effect of parental influence in the choice of science subject among secondary schoo students in ———-local government area of Sokoto State .
The study was guided by the following specific objectives:
- . To investigate the role of parents in students’ choices of science subjects in
———–local government area of Soko State
- To determine the effects of the value of the science subject on students’ choices of the subject
- To find out the influence of the subject teacher on students’ choices of science subjects
- To find out the influence of gender differences on students’ choices of science subjects
The study was guided with the following Research Questions:
- What is the influence of parents and teachers in students’ choices of science subjects in Sokoto State?
- What are the effects of the value of the science subject on students’ choice of science subject
- How does the subject teacher influence students’ choices of science subjects
- How does gender difference influence affect students’ choices of science subjects
Significance Of the Study
The study would be of great significance to the school management because it would help the management fraternity in understanding the factors affecting the choice of science subjects and be able to initiate appropriate measures to improve on students’ performance in science subjects
The study would add to the wide academic knowledge in the area of education which can be used by other researchers as reference in future. Researchers and research institutes may use the study to come up with other research studies.
Scope of the Study
The study investigated the effect of parental influence in the choice of science subject among secondary school students in ———-local government area of Sokoto State.
Limitation of the Study
The study faced various shortcomings that may affect effective research undertaking. Respondents may be suspicious and fail to answer the questionnaire. The researcher intended to overcome this by adopting objectivity approach (by asking general questions on the issues pertaining to science subject selection) to the parents. Simple questions with answers to choose from will be used.
Definition of significant terms
Science subjects: These involves subjects which are core to the examination board in Kenya secondary Education and they includes such subjects as Biology, chemistry, physics and others, for the purpose of this study the focus was on the factors influencing students choice on selecting them.
Choice: Refers to the students’ preference over one science subject as compared to the other science subjects the study focused on identifying the critical factors that influenced students’ choice on the subjects. The choice of subject can either be to great extent or to low extent. Secondary schools: This is an education level in Nigeria that precedes primary education in the Nigeria curriculum system which follows 6.3.4 systems
Value of science subject: Content and relevance of the subject as related to career aspirations.
Teacher influence: The way a teacher make students choose a subject or not choose it.
Gender influence: Perception of male or female while choosing subjects
Role of teacher in subject selection: what is required/the responsibility of the teachers when students are choosing subjects.
Role of parent in subject selection: what is required/the responsibility of the parents when students are choosing subjects.
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