PEER GROUP AND CAREER CHOICE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
A peer group is both a social group and a primary group of people. Peer group many be defined as a group of people who share similarities such as age, background, and social status. The members of this group are likely to influence the person’s the persons behavior and beliefs. Peers groups contain hierarchies and distinct patterns of behavior. The group provides the standard of behavior in form of rules and regulations, dos and don’t attitudes and opinions to be obeyed and upheld by every member of the group. Among peers, children learn to form relationships on their own and have the chance to discuss interest that adults may not share with children, such as clothing and popular music, or may not permit, such as drugs and sex.
However, JR Harris (1977) suggests that an individuals peer group significantly influences their intellectual and personal development several longitudinal studies support the conjectures that peer groups significantly affect scholastic achievement, but relatively few studies have examined the effect peer groups have on test of cognitive ability. More so, to attain one’s goal in life is not an easy task, it involves a rigorous process of decision making, advice and counseling. It is against this background that the choice of subjects for the senior secondary school certificate examination (SSCE) by students is based on the relevance of the subjects to his or her future career, and in most case based on the wishes of peer group and parents.
One of the goals of education is that of helping the individual not only to fit into the society properly but also, help to develop the mind of the individual to understand his environment and bring about national consciousness in the life of the individual. Apart from this general aims of education, secondary education s meant to prepare the child for life in the presence of rapid technological and computer age. In this present age of Western education, which has brought with it knowledge explosion, the society has become complex, to the extent that senior secondary school students have become exposed to the problem of choosing from a number of subjects to qualify for the course of their choice in the university. The choice of the subjects is very important because, what ever choice that is made can affect the rest of the students either positively or negatively.
According to Durojaiya and Olayinka (1973), most of the time students make unrealistic choices, as such choices are based on encouragement, peer group influence, prestige, occupational value and sex. In the light of the above, it is therefore important for the students to be properly guided in heir choice of career. This will help the students to choose the courses in which they have aptitude.
Presently, Nigeria as a country is unable to provide employment for all her graduates. This is a very big problem because ability to gain employment is the ultimate goal of formal education this problem may have been due to lack of proper students guidance from the lack of guidance and counseling services in the secondary schools.
Statement of the Problem
As stated earlier, students of secondary school are prove to a lot of problem while choosing their life career. The major problem that they encounter is that of choosing the subjects that will qualify them for their life career. Some of them depend on either their parents or peer group to choose for them, while others just base the choice on their own personal decisions. The reason why they find themselves in such problems of choice is consequent on the absence of guidance and counselling units in most secondary schools in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State. Where they are present, their activities are not felt, as experts are not employed to handle the unit. The result of this situations has not been favourable to both the students and their parents, since majority of them as a result of wrong subjects find it difficult to gain admission into university to start their career and others who manage to enter into the university graduated to sit down at home with out being gainfully employed
The following research questions are stated to guide the study.
- Does the opinion or suggestion of peers influence students career choice.
- Does peers approval influence the career choice of students
- Does boys and girls respond differently to the influences of peer group on their career choice.
The Purpose of the Study
This research work is aimed at investigating the influence of peer groups on students’ choice of career. In view of this, the study will:
- Find out the extent to which peer opinion or suggestion can influence students choice of career.
- Find out if peers’ approval influence the career choice of students.
- Find out if boys and girls respond differently to the influence of peer group on their career choice.
The Significance of the Study
This study when completed will be of great benefit to both the educational planners, parents, teaches, students and the general public.
To the educational planners, the study is important because it will help them to take cognizance of the manpower requirements necessary to meet the socio-economic aspirations of all sectors of the economy and therefore, evolve implementable policies and proposals.
To the teacher and parents, the study is significant because it will provide them with an insight on how it help students to make wise career choice.
To the students, the study is equally significant because it will reveal to tem the factors that can influence their career choice negatively or positively. In addition, the study will aid them in their career choice.
Finally, the study is important to the members of the public because, it will assist them to know the amount of knowledge the young adolescent suppose to have as regards career choice the job available not only in Edo State, but in Nigeria as a whole
Limitation of the Study
The study was confined only to the senior secondary school students. Time and financial constraints were a major limitation coupled with the small sample used for the study. These problems may have affected the result of the study.