1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Student’s resumes secondary education with the expectations that the school will provide them with an environment that will allow them to freely decide the subjects to study based on their abilities and interests. Interest in the subject is regarded as the most important motivational factor in learning. Interest can be described as preference to engage in some types of activities rather than others. When interested in a particular phenomenon or activity, one is favourably inclined to attend to it and give time for it. Education can vastly be viewed as formal, semi-formal and informal. Informal education system saw to it that guardians or parents inculcated into their wards or children values and norms, and also taught them handcraft occupations which in turn became their subject. In whatever form education may come, it invariably cultivates the mind or the intellect. It brings about self-realisation, ensures social reformation, love in the society and a good life (Appiah, 2014). Accordingly, education is that which empowers man to perform in a justly, skilfully and satisfactory manner to whatever capacity he finds himself. Amoor and Aliyu (2014) further assert that it is a process of leading and initiating people to acquire necessary skills, facts, knowledge, habits and attitudes that will make them co-exist with others as useful and productive members of the society. According to a study carried out in Ghana by Akyina, Oduro-Okyireh and Osei-Owusu (2014) governments over the years have laid emphasis through educational reforms on the need to have subjects in schools that will aid the youths to occupy positions in the society. Thus, the government is affirmative that this can be achieved through serious emphasis on guidance and counselling so that students can make right choices of subject of study; make good plans and decisions which will ultimately promote disciplines in schools. This implies that there is unarguably an influential nexus between the choice of subject of study in a University and subject choices in Senior High Schools so as to enable students channel their interests, aptitudes and abilities. However in the Nigerian context, this may not always be the case as students find themselves deviating from their academic needs, aspirations and aim in life. The proper educational counselling that may guide toward making intelligent and informed decisions are somewhat not sought after and this may lead to problems of coping with a course of study, lack of interest, lack of motivation (Akyina et al, 2014) and subsequently withdrawal (Redmond, Quin, Devitt and Archbold, 2011). In senior secondary school, students choose to study commercial subjects for a range of reasons. McPhan et al. (2008) identified five main groups of factors that influence students’ decisions about continuing the study of commercial subjects namely aspirations, engagement with the curriculum, performance, subject image and family and peers. One factor which seems to have a significant influence particularly for some ethnic groups is that of families and, in particular, parents. Parents play an important role in influencing students’ choice of commercial subject, but parents from different cultural backgrounds and in different societies may influence their students’ learning differently. In particular, perceptions of the nature, role and importance of commercial subjects in the education of students may differ between cultural groups. Cao, Bishop and Forgasz (2012) explored the perceived parental influence on subjects learning in Australia and China. From the secondary school age, the adolescent are often faced with the problem of choosing subject that are suitable and relevant for the attainment of a dream subject. This process of choice making leads the adolescent to select one form of subject or the other in which he or she is best suited. According to Okeke (2010) in pre colonial Nigeria, the acquisition of skills did not require much specialized assistance because it was organized informally at home and in families, village square, and at moon light games. These purpose were dearly understand by adult citizens who impacted the skills such as the practical transmission of local customs, moral, religious and social values. In modern age, the quest for knowledge and excellence has made the society more complex and as a result create the problem of subject choice among youth just coming out from secondary school, quite often, the adolescent student choose subjects for which they have no interest or ability on. It is always a failure on the part of student which can lead to frustration and eventually leads to dropout. With this, choosing a suitable and interesting subject becomes a problem which he or she must in one time or the other faced in future. The eventually becomes not just the individual students problem but societal and government responsibility. Also, the choice of a subject is very crucial in the life of the students as it may affect every aspect of their lives. A right choice in subject making will always afford the students opportunity to actualize their potentials in their chosen future subject. Jaiyeola (1997) of the opinion that our young one needs constant guidance in their choice of subject; this is because it is common to find students choosing subjects for which they have little or no aptitude or interest in only to the end up frustration treated in long run. This therefore is the essence of this research as it seeks to investigate the factors that influence students’ choice of subject of study with particular focus on students in secondary schools in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Subject choice has the potential to open the door for success or close the door of opportunity (Jungen, 2008). While often perceived to be an individual choice, research suggests that a variety of influences are likely to manipulate one's ultimate decision. Among these factors, students report that parents have the greatest influence on which career they choose (Kniveton, 2011). It is therefore important to explore the issues regarding subject choice and the role that parents play in this decision. This is an important topic because parents may not realize the major impact their norms, values and gender roles have on career choice, and yet parental influence on students’ subject selection may present opportunities or obstacles for students during the subject exploration process. There have been a lot of research work carried out on this topic, but despite their findings and results, choice of school subject is still a common problem student’s face in school today. Therefore, this study tends to examine influence of parents that serve as barriers to choice of secondary school commercial subjects.
1.3AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine influence of parents on student’s choice of commercial subject in senior secondary schools. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the extent of how the parent-child relationship influences subject choice of students.
2. To examine the extent to which the parents’ levels of education influences subject choice of students.
3. To examine the influence of parents on commercial subject choice of students.
4. To examine the extent of how parental values and expectations, influences the subject choices of students.
5. To examine the relationship between parental influence and students academic performance.
6. To suggest ways in which school counsellors will be of help to students in choice of subjects in order to place them where they belong.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What extent does the parent-child relationship influence subject choice of students?
2. What extent does the parents’ level of education influences subject choice of students?
3. What are the influences of parents on commercial subject choice of students?
4. What is the extent of how parental values and expectations, influences the subject choices of students?
5. What is the relationship between parental influence and student’s academic performance?
6. What are the ways in which school counsellors will be of help to students in choice of subjects in order to place them where they belong?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H01: There is no significant relationship between parental influence and student’s choice of commercial subjects in senior secondary school.
H02: There is no significant relationship between parental influence and student’s choice of commercial subjects in senior secondary school.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Most parents are ill informal about the opportunities opened to their children. There is also lack of awareness of what should be factors to consider before choosing subject even among student themselves. There are also conflicting values by student at times when they are faced with problems of making right choice. This study will help students understand themselves and become more effective and productive. Also this study intend to reinforce the need for training and updating school counsellors who will be of help to the interpretation of students results in order to place them where they belong. The study is aimed at reducing social voices of our young people. Many students had dropped out of school due to their inability to recognize their potentials; thus this study will put them in normal human track and make them sensitive to social norms. Therefore, the overall significance of this study is that it reveals the subject aspiration of students with a promise that it will help subject guidance expert in assisting tomorrow leaders making a good decision as regards their school subject which will save the young people from future failure and frustration but make them productive and equip them with the knowledge for future learning.
1.7SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on influence of parents on student’s choice of commercial subject in senior secondary schools: case study of Potiskum L.G.A, Yobe state
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Academic: Relating to schools, colleges, and universities, or connected with studying and thinking, not with practical skills.
Performance: The accomplishment of a given task measured against preset known standards of accuracy, completeness, cost, and speed. In a contract, performance is deemed to be the fulfilment of an obligation, in a manner that releases the performer from all liabilities under the contract.
Choice: An act of choosing between two or more possibilities or the willingness to select among others.
Subject: an area of knowledge that are studied in schools or universities.
Counsellors: one who give expert advice to student in pressing issues.
Influence: factors that affects human decision making or thinking that affects the way person behaves or think.
Parent: A person who brings up and cares for children
Socio-economic Status (SES): An individual's or group's position within a hierarchical social structure. Socioeconomic status depends on a combination of variables, including occupation, education, income, wealth, and place of residence.