FACTORS INFLUENCING ENROLLMENT OF FEMALE STUDENTS IN SCIENCE ORIENTED COURSES IN NIGERIA HIGHER INSTITUTIONS

ABSTRACT

 

The composition of female studies has been growing all over the world. The trend seems to indicate that female students prefer some courses over others. Female students who enroll in postgraduate courses do so for a number of reasons which range from the desire for high income or better employment, empowerment for decision reasons and other social cultural factors. This trend is also typical in Technical training institutions. The purpose of the study was to investigate the factors that influence female students enrolment in science oriented courses in technical institutions in County. The study was guided by the following objectives; the influence of outcomes expectations on female student course enrollment in science oriented courses, the extent to which female student attitudes influence their enrollment in science oriented courses, to ascertain how socio-economic factors influence enrollment of female students in science oriented courses and lastly the extent to which instructional materials available influence enrollment of female students in science oriented courses in technical training institutions in County. The researcher employed descriptive survey design while undertaking the study. The target population for the study was 160 students in first year taking science oriented courses in three technical training institutions in County, three registrars and the technical education officer making a total of 164respondents. The sample size was 113first year’s female students taking sciences oriented courses in the three technical training institutes selected using krejcie and morgan (1970) table of determining sample size for research activities and three registrars and the technical education officer making a total of 117 respondents. The research used Students’ Questionnaire (SQ), Deans Questionnaire (DQ) and technical education officers Questionnaire as data collection instruments. Validity and reliability of the research instruments was tested prior to actual collection of data. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and presented using APA tables formats. The findings show that majority of respondents revealed that they were influenced by future salaries expectations. The bulk of students were strongly influenced by identity expectations in future while choosing to enroll in science-oriented course in TTI and lastly the respondents also cited that employment chances in future influenced their enrollment in science-oriented courses. The findings also shows that majority of the respondents were not influenced by career counselors at KCSE level to enroll in science oriented courses. It can be summarized that majority of respondents cited that they were not influenced by gender stereotype while enrolling into science oriented courses. Majority of respondents indicated that global technological advancements had no influence to their enrollment in science-oriented courses. It can be deduced that the bulk of respondents were influenced by other family members to enroll in science based courses. The findings also shows that majority of respondents indicated that they were not influenced by SET government bursary to enroll into science oriented courses and lastly it can be deduced that the bulk of respondents revealed that they enrolled into science-oriented courses due to available science, engineering and technology workshops. It can also be deduced that the bulk of respondents indicated that they were greatly influenced by past performance of the science departments to enroll into science-oriented courses. The findings also shows that majority of the respondents were not influenced by the registrars of students into enrolling in science oriented courses in TTI in County. The study recommends that female students should be encouraged to enroll into science oriented courses as their male counter parts. The study also recommends that female students should be assisted to develop positive attitudes towards science oriented courses from early stages of learning. The study also recommends that college administration and other education stakeholders should provide SET bursary information to female students to enable in enroll in science oriented courses.

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1 Background of the Study

 

The composition of female studies has been growing all over the world. The trend seems to indicate that female students prefer some courses over others. Female students who enroll in postgraduate courses do so for a number of reasons which range from the desire for high income or better employment, empowerment for decision reasons and other social cultural factors. This trend is also typical in Technical training institutions (Wattles, 2009). It was a common practice in the old days in the United States of America and Europe and Africa to find feudalism converting it into a family affair where the son of a blacksmith was destined to become a blacksmith and a feudal was born a leader. Industrialization and post industrialization has made it possible for a common person to be richer as long as she or he has due skills and knowledge (Wattles, 2009). Today, one has not only to make due career planning but also exhaustive career research before making a career choice so as to adjust with the evolving socio-economic conditions (Wattles, 2009).

 

According to studies done in USA attitudes largely determine what students learn and their willingness to learn. Lingren (1980) supported this view by stressing the importance of students holding favourable attitudes if learning experiences are to be successful. Several definitions have been offered as to what attitudes are. Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) in their earlier studies in USA and Europe stated that an attitude is one's general feeling of favour or otherwise toward some stimulus objects. A similar definition was offered by Thorndike and Hagen (1975) and Richardson (1977). They added that

 

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this judgment or feeling is towards an individual, a group, an object, an institutions or a proposition.

 

However, caution must be taken as to what attitudes students have as fears passed on to students stay with them for the rest of their education (Philips, 1980). Extending this further, Tobias, (1978) stated that "negative attitudes can powerfully inhibit intellect and curiosity and can keep us from learning what is well within our power to understand".

 

In African secondary school, Fakuede (1973) found that it is common knowledge that the majority of the students in Nigerian Secondary schools dislike mathematics when comparing the two sexes. Other studies done in East Africa and especially in Uganda, and Nigeria shows that females have been noted to have more negative attitudes (Iben, 1991; Dike, 1984; Omuoha, 1982; Oyewole, 1982; Tobias, and Weissbroad, 1980; Preece, 1979; Fennema and Sherman, 1977; Bassa, 1976). The differences between the attitudes of males and females increase as students’ progress in school (Lewy, 1982)

 

According to Mukherjee and Umar (1989) of Kano state polytechnic, Nigeria, attitudes can be changed as theories of attitude change have shown. Research on attitudes change of individuals and their subsequent behaviour has been mainly in fields other than education especially in Nigeria. Attitudes like values are products of the social interactions a child is likely to experience with his parents, teachers and neighbourhood community. Successful interactions depend on positive reinforcements, which in their turn lead to ego- involvement of the persons concerned. Most of students who are in secondary schools do not have accurate information about occupational opportunities to help them make appropriate career choice. According to Kerka (2000), course enrolment is influenced by multiple factors including personality, interests, self-concept, cultural

 

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identity, globalization, socialization, role model, social support and available resources such as information and financial.

 

Bandura et al (2001) state that each individual undertaking the process is influenced by several factors including the context in which they live in, their personal aptitudes, social contacts and educational attainment. According to Hewitt (2010), factors influencing career choice can either be intrinsic or extrinsic or both. Hewitt further states that most people are influenced by careers that their parents favour, others follow the careers that their educational choices have opened for them, some choose to follow their passion regardless of how much or little it will make them while others choose the careers that give high income. Students perception of being suitable for particular jobs also has been found to be influenced by a number of factors including ethnic background, year in school, level of achievement, choice of science subjects, attitudes and differences in job characteristics (McQuaid and Bond, 2003).

 

In a study by Perrone, (2001) on role model influence on the career decisiveness of college students, it was found that role model supportiveness, and quality of relationship contributed to the career choice of students. The same study indicated that majority of the students selected same gender role models. Research on the role of spirituality and religion in career development although limited in scope has suggested that such factors relate positively to desirable career development outcomes such as career decisions. For many people with spiritual or religious commitment faith plays a critical role in the career decision making process. (Duffy and Dick 2009).

 

A number of studies carried out in African countries have provided data that illustrates the gross under representation of females in Science subjects and careers (FAWE, 1997).

 

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At a conference organized by the Federation of African Women Educationists (FAWE), it was acknowledged that in many African states, girls are still restricted to studying what is perceived to be “soft option” Subjects, which has limited their access to scientific and technical disciplines in institutions of higher learning (Ramani, 2004).

 

In Nigeria, it was reported at a workshop organized by Nigeriatta University and the World Bank, on gender main-streaming in public universities, that although gender disparities in students’ enrolment exist at all levels of higher education, they are particularly wide at higher degree levels especially in sciences, with special reference to mathematics and technical disciplines. It was also reported that women academicians are concentrated in what is perceived as traditional female social science and education disciplines (Ramani, 2004).

 

A Study on subject enrolment in Ethiopia by Stebleton (2007) indicated that the students had an external locus of control and believes that there are numerous external factors which influence their career choices. These external factors include; political and economic considerations, previous work experience and the influence of key individuals in a person’s life. Pummel, Harwood and Lavallee (2008) reports that external influences that helps to shape an individual career aspirations. According to the journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies (JETERAPS) Scholar link Research Institute Journals, (2011) jeteraps.scholarlinkresearch.org Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies: students subject enrolment are also influenced by significant social support from peers.

 

In a study by Natalie (2006), young adults were influenced through interaction with the context of family, school and community as they learn about and explore careers which

 

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ultimately lead to their career choice. One consistent finding in research suggests that adolescents’ own aspirations are influenced by their parent’s aspirations or expectations. Parental support and encouragement are important factors that have been found to influence career choice. Children may choose what their parents desire simply to please them (Taylor et al, 2004)

 

According to Oyamo and Amoth (2008), studies in Nigeria show that rural students tend to seek help from parents more than urban students and that parents more than teachers play a major role in the career choice of students. Generally, the choice of a career is influenced by parents, friends, and counselors however variations occur from one population to the other. In Nigeria, every year form four secondary school students make their career choices before sitting for their final Nigeria Certificate of Secondary Examination. The result of this final examination determines who joins university since admissions into various careers are determined by grades obtained from the Nigeria Certificate of Secondary Education. Before making their subject choices, students are often provided with a list of careers from which they are supposed to make choices. Most of the students lack adequate information regarding various careers hence the choices that they make are embedded in their perception of the ideal job and the subjects they study in secondary school. The only support students get within the school is from career masters or counselors as they are mostly refereed to and the teachers who are expected to support students in their career choice. The purpose of this study will be to examine the factors influencing student course enrolment in humanities in diploma teacher training colleges in south district. The area of study will be chosen given that the statistics in the

 

 

 

 

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diploma teacher training colleges shows that majority of first year students have enrolled in humanities compared with those enrolled in sciences MOEST (2011).

 

1.2 Statement of the Problem

 

Female student enrolment in science oriented courses in Technical training institutes (TTI) has consistently been comparatively low and there is the need to investigate how female students make their science subject enrolment decision. Among all the main departments in TTI, the Science Department makes one of the least, if not the least female student admissions every year. This consequently affects the number of female students opting for either science oriented courses or the business courses with the latter having a relatively awful patronage. A review of a number of research endeavours on students' subject choice, and students' attitudes towards sciences, by Angell, Guttersrud, Henriksen, & Isnes (2004) confirmed this under-representation of students in science oriented courses.

 

In county only 204 female students were admitted in the three technical colleges in the county compared with 978 male students in 2011 despite government (SET) bursary for female students taking science, engineering and technology courses in technical training institutions (County Education Office 2012). The county has registered a low enrolment of female students in TTIs compared with other counties such as Uasi-Gishu County with, 460, Kakamega with 432, Tranzioa with 358, Vihiga with 325 and Busia with 268 female students respectively (County technical education office 2013). Thus, unless something is done to attract and train female students joining science oriented courses (without compromising standards or quality anyway) other professional areas which require people with science background could be significantly affected. The

 

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shortfall in the number of female student’s taking sciences could have serious consequences for the county because the development of every nation is driven by the advancement in science and technology education, and science courses is a central pillar around which such advancement strives. In previous studies by Angell, Guttersrud, Henriksen, & Isnes (2004) and Millar &Toscano (2006), the respondents involved in these studies were young students whose course and subject choices could be heavily influenced by their parents because they were still under the care and control of their parents. However, most of the respondents (students) in the present study are relatively mature and in most cases independent individuals who may not be necessarily influenced in their choices of subject by their parents and family. The overall research problem that will be addressed in this study is that despite the launching of the Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) government bursary program to sponsor female students taking science, engineering and technology courses in technical institution in Nigeria, the statistics still shows a low enrolment of females in science oriented courses. Therefore, there is the need to establish the factors affecting the interest of female students in science oriented courses in the current context, hence the need for this study. It is against this background that the researcher sought to establish the factors that influence enrolment of female students in science oriented courses in technical training institutions in County.

 

 

1.3 Purpose of the Study

 

The purpose of the study was to establish the factors that influence enrolment of female students in science oriented courses in technical training institutions in County.

 

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1.4 Objectives of the Study

 

The study aimed at achieving the following objectives:

 

1). To establish the outcomes expectation influence on enrolment of female students in science oriented courses in technical training institutions in County.

 

2).To establish the extent to which female students attitudes influence their enrolment in science oriented courses in technical training institutions in County.

 

3).To ascertain how social economic factors influence enrolment of female students in science oriented courses in technical training institutions in County.

4).To establish the extent to which instructional materials available in colleges influence enrolment of female students in science oriented courses technical training institutions in County.

 

1.5 Research Questions

 

The study was guided by the following research question

 

1). To what extent do out comes expectations influence enrolment of female students in science oriented courses in technical training institutions in County?

 

2). To what extent do female students’ attitudes influence enrolment of female students in science oriented courses in technical training institutions in County?

3).To what extent do social economic factors influence enrolment of female students in science oriented courses in technical training institutions in County?

4).To what extent do instructional materials available influence enrolment of female students in science oriented courses in technical training institutions in County?

 

 

 

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1.6 Significance of the Study

 

The findings of the study are hoped to be of great importance to researchers as it will help develop additional literature in the area of factors that influence enrolment of female students in science oriented courses in technical training institutions in Nigeria. The study findings will benefit the government of Nigeria in developing and implementing policies that promote proper and informed subject enrolment among students. It is also hoped that the findings will help colleges to be sensitive on students’ choice of subjects.

 

1.7 Delimitation of the Study

 

This study was carried out in County, in Nigeria tied on the period 2013.

 

1.8 Limitation of the Study

 

The study on this topic factors influencing enrolment of female students in science oriented courses in technical training institutions in County, had the following limitations .The respondents were shy about giving information thinking was for commercial purposes but they were assured of confidentiality. Lastly it was not easy to get some respondents to respond to the questions but the researcher was patient and made several trips to collect them. The findings from this study may not be generalized beyond the colleges participating in the study.

 

1.9 Basic Assumptions of the Study

 

This study was guided by the assumptions that the selected sample represents the population in all the variables of interest and those respondents willing to give the information freely without fear. It was also assumed that all the questionnaires would be returned on time and that those to be interviewed were available and willing to participate

 

 

 

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and provide honest, accurate, complete answers, and that the researcher would have adequate time to complete the study.

 

1.10 Definition of Significant Terms as Used in the Study

 

Attitudes: Female students general feeling of favour or otherwise toward science

 

Courses.

 

County: an area in a legislative territorial region

 

Course enrollment: choice of subjects by female students in TTIs.

 

Gender: Female Students in technical training colleges.

 

Instructional materials: Teaching, learning material, i.e. Teaching facilities like libraries, Laboratories etc

Outcome expectation: Future rewards/ status from the course content Technical training institute; colleges offering technical education

 

1.11 Organization of the Study

 

This study was divided into five chapters as follows: Chapter one gave the background of the study and introduces the problem statement describing the specific problem addressed in the study, as well as the purpose, objectives and research questions that the study sought to answer. Chapter two presented a review of literature and relevant research associated with the problem addressed in the study, giving theoretical foundations of the study and conceptual framework. Chapter three presented the methodology and procedures used for data collection and analysis. Chapter four contains an analysis of the data, presentation and interpretation of the findings. Chapter five presents a summary of the findings, conclusions, recommendations and suggestions for further research.

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