FACTORS INFLUENCING CHOICE OF SCHOOL SUBJECT BY SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
1.1 Background to the study
Although the over-all philosophy and objectives of education in Nigeria states among others that: the integration of the individual into a sound and effective citizen and equal education opportunities for all citizens of the nation at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1981), several factors however influence individual decision and choices. This term “influence” refers to the ability to produce an effect that affects the character of a person and “choice” refers to the right to choose and or the ability to select out of a number of things and take a decision. In consequence, therefore, the choice of a subject by students is influenced by the dynamics of socio-economic and some related personal factors (Akintade, 2012).
The senior secondary school education (SSS) represents the third stage in the current educational system known as 6-3-3-4. This system of education that was designed by the National Policy on Education exposes the learner to as many disciplines as possible in the junior secondary school (J.S.S) and then allows them to make choices of subjects in the senior secondary school level (SSS). The core school subjects for senior secondary school education are as follows: “Mathematics, English, One Nigerian language, Biology, Literature in English, Agricultural science as a vocational subject. Optional subjects include:- Economics, Bible Knowledge, Arabic Studies, Commerce, Accounting, French, Government, Home-Economics, Typewriting, Music, Technical Drawing, Physical Education, Health Science, Wood work and Shorthand (Akintade, 2012)”.
Making choices from an array of options is an integral part of life. At various stages in life, individuals have to make some important decisions. Some of such decisions tend to have everlasting impact on the individual. One of such delicate and life implicating decisions is the choice of school subjects at the senior secondary school level. It is one decision that tends to determine students’ future educational and career progress (Owoyele and Toyobo, 2008).
Some researchers have tried to identity a considerable number of factors influencing subjects’ selection by students in secondary schools. Literature indicates school policy, parental-will (Davis-Kean, 2005) peer influence (Addy and Diddulgh, 2001; Owoyele, 2007) academic ability, intelligence, age, sex, ignorance and accidental choice (Cooley and Comber, 2003) as some of the basic factors influencing students’ choice of subject selection.
The contribution of each of these factors is still obscure and studies on the most likely positive determinant of school subject selection in terms of predicting students’ success in future educational and career endeavours are still elusive (Owoyele and Toyobo, 2008).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Students are faced with the problem of indecision when they are about to choose a subject, as a result of differences in opinion from various angles. This problem has plagued many Nigerian secondary school students for quite some time. It is such a problem that must be looked into, knowing fully well that the place of secondary education is highly significant 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 the ones they have potentiality for to further their education in future which can help to better their career in life. Lots of students have been found choosing subjects for senior school certificate examination not minding the aspect of their potentiality which affects them when making a choice of career in the university. Many had made mistakes of wrong choice. Hence, this research seeks to explore the various factors influencing choice of school subjects by secondary school students in Lagos State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The study will be conducted with the following objectives;
i. To find out the influence of the subject teacher on students’ choice of subjects in secondary schools in Lagos State.
ii. To find out the influence of gender on secondary school students’ choice of subjects in Lagos State.
iii. To investigate the role of parents in influencing students’ choice of subjects in secondary schools.
iv. To investigate the role of peer groups in influencing students’ choice of subjects in secondary schools in Lagos State.
1.4 Research Questions
The study was guided with the following Research Questions:
a.How does the subject teacher influence students’ choice of subjects in secondary school Lagos State?
b.How does gender affect secondary school students’ choice of subjects in Lagos State?
c.What is the role of parents in influencing students’ choice of subjects in secondary schools?
d.What is the role of peer groups in influencing students’ choice of subjects in secondary schools in Lagos State?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The researcher tested the following hypotheses in the course of the study:
H01: There is no significant impact of the subject teacher’s influence on students’ choice of subjects in the senior secondary school in Lagos State.
H02: Gender does not affect senior secondary school students’ choice of subjects in Lagos State.
H03: Parents do not influence students’ choice of subjects in secondary schools in Lagos State.
H04: Peer groups do not influence students’ choice of subjects in secondary schools in Lagos State