Parental socio-economic status and occupational aspiration among public secondary schools students



This research is on the assessment of Parental socio-economic status and occupational aspiration among  public secondary schools students. This study was on some selected secondary schools in Cross River. The study is descriptive in nature and uses Child’s Vocational Awareness Questionnaire (CVAQ) on students for : Occupational aspiration findings. A total number of one hundred (100) students responded to the instrument. Contrary to the research, it was revealed that the development in the educational achievement of the students with a better possibility for better career choice is high and the level of education of the parent could be in form of motivation for child to aspire for better jobs in future. And that majority of the students now -a-days decide on their own career choices.


  • 1 Background to the study

This study examines the Parental socio-economic status and occupational aspiration among  public secondary schools students in Cross River. Several researchers have long recognized that occupational aspiration is influenced by socio-economic status (SES) of secondary school students in particular, the background of their families is especially important. McLaughlin, Hunt, and Montgomery (1976) found that SES affects the occupational and educational aspirations of female high school seniors, a finding in agreement with Empey’s (1956) study on males. Krippner (1963) studied students’ occupational preferences and their parents’ occupational levels using Roe’s (1956) occupational scale and found that the occupations students liked to enter were related to the status of their parents’ occupational level.
According to Uche (1994) children from parents with high socio-economic status are likely provided with high quality private education from nursery up to university level. Given this opportunity, it is likely that such children will be less delinquent than their counterpart from lower socio-economic background. However from an empirical study by Coughin and Vuchimah (1996), there is a relationship between family socio-economic status and juvenile delinquency. Female secondary school students tend to act out as a result of low level of support from their mother while boys tend to act out as a result of low level parental mentoring; however the study concludes that family structure is not a predictor of juvenile delinquency, low parental monitoring did seem to predict higher drug use, Dishon and Loeber (1985). In another study on child rearing style and students’
dishonest behavior by Ajake and Bisong (2008), child rearing style is a function of family socio-economic status. Significant difference exist between respondents from autocratic child rearing family and those from democratic homes in lying, stealing and truancy, in each case autocratically reared subjects are more vulnerable to delinquency. Again a significant difference exist between subjects reared under democratic child rearing style and their counterpart reared under the laissez-faire rearing style in lying, stealing and truancy. In each case, those who are brought under the laissez-faire families are the more vulnerable.
Blau and Duncan (1967) and Duncan and Featherman (1972) showed a strong positive correlation between family SES and an individual’s occupational aspirations and attainment. Sewell, Haller, and Straus’ (1957) survey of secondary school seniors showed a positive relationship between SES and educational and occupational aspirations of young women. Sewell and Shaw (1967), in a later study, concluded that for women, SES has a greater effect than intelligence on selection of attendance to and graduation from college.
Okeke(1973) study of illiterate low class families in Nigeria found that their children expressed a desire to engage in better occupations and strive for better education than their parents. The traditional view that factors like age, sex, race, and socio-economic levels determine occupational expectations and attainment should no longer be a stumbling block to counselors. With more attention and support, counselors should be better able to help the low SES to maximize their potentials and capabilities. This does not insinuate an exclusion of the needed help to the high and middle SES.
Extrinsic reward was most significant to low SES. Olayinka (1973) also found that children with low SES view education and occupation as a means to
better their status and economic conditions, while children with high SES view education and occupation as a means of entering into a profession similar to their parents.

     1.2 Theoretical Framework

Individual difference exist among people, this has an effect on who the individual are and what they are capable of doing. What an individual does is sometimes at variance with his ability, attitude, capabilities and interest.
Socio-economic status (SES) as defined in the Wikipedia (the free encyclopedia) is an economic and sociological combined total measure of a person’s work experience and of an individual’s or family’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education, and occupation. When analyzing a family’s SES, the household income, earners’ education, and
occupation are examined, as well as combined income, versus with an individual, when their own attributes are assessed. Socio-economic status is typically broken into three categories (high SES, middle SES, and low SES) to describe the three areas a family or an individual may fall into. When placing a family or individual into one of these categories, any or all of the three variables (income, education, and occupation) can be assessed.
As defined by APA (American Psychological Association) socio-economic status is commonly conceptualized as the social standing or class of an individual or group. It is often measured as a combination of education, income and occupation.

     1.3 Statement of the Problem

In schools, most of the conservatism found in western education finds it root in most of instructional programmers. Programmes in most schools lack diversification to cater for all career choices of students, most students were left unguided and so are more prone to making unwise choices or no choice at all, until after schooling in most cases, however, students do not make wise choice of subject as a result of lack of sufficient information.
Left unguided, it has been observed that quite a number of students in secondary schools are ill informed of the labour market. They become nervous, worried and anxious. They finish secondary school with the feeling of inadequacy and frustration, they do not have in mind the jobs they want to do, based on this, they lack knowledge that the employers require as entry qualification, and they may not know that, there is a method of application for the job they wish to apply for. This is common because they do not possess the necessary educational and vocational information. Some people like to work in team, others preferred to work alone, vocational guidance must therefore take full account of all these likes and dislikes. Inadequate vocational information in secondary schools in Cross River state, have left students to decide and pursue any course or job they could find whether or not it is in consonance with their interest, aptitude and ability. Some secondary schools in Cross River state find it very difficult to organize or administer guidance and counseling programme for students due to lack of professional counselors. The school management which includes the Principal and the heads of departments are not motivating or educating the students to make use of the career masters where
available. Moreover Cross River state government in particular shows little effort towards recognition and establishment of guidance and counseling at professional level. Even in the few schools that possess career masters, their expertise is not fully utilized.
Kithyo and Petrina (2002) argue that boys schools tend to be more equipped and oriented towards science and technology. Boys in mixed schools are also encouraged to enroll and perform well in these subjects. Girls schools do not offer technology subjects such as engineering; instead they offer domestic sciences and secretarial subjects. By the time the students come to choose careers, they have internalized gender norms (Kithyo and Petrina, 2002). Research indicates that children from low-SES households and communities develop academic skills more slowly compared to children from higher SES groups (Morgan, Farkas, Hillemeier, &Maczuga, 2009). The school systems in low-SES communities are often under resourced, negatively affecting student’s academic progress (Aikens &Barbarin, 2008). There also exist the conflicts between the individual free choice of occupation and that of the Nations manpower needed, and there are also conflicts between individual choice, parents wish, and friend’s advice. Nigeria is moving from pre-industrial to an industrial country. Industrialization paved way to technological development which will increase the need for skilled human labour and will require all the power and more skill that can be obtained. Training children through education will make them be aware of these potentialities.
The focus of this study is therefore to make a critical examination of the influence of socio-economic status on career aspirations among secondary school students in schools of Cross River.

     1.4 Purpose of the Study

This study aimed at finding out the influence of  Parental socio-economic status and occupational aspiration among  public secondary schools students
The specific purpose are thus:

  1. To find out the factors that influence senior secondary school student’s career
  2. To find out if there is any relationship between parental occupation and their children career aspiration.

     1.5 Research Questions

The major questions this study intends to address are;

  1. What are the factors that influence senior secondary school student’s career aspirations?
  2. What are the career aspirations of students in senior secondary schools in Cross River?
  • Is there any relationship between parental occupation and their children aspiration?

     1.6 Research Hypotheses

Based on the research questions, the following hypothesis will be tested:

  1. There is no significant difference between parental education and career aspirations of students from high and middle socio-economic
  2. There is no significant difference between parental education and career aspirations of students from high and low socio-economic
  • There is no significant difference between the educational and career aspirations of students from middle and low socio-economic status.


     1.7 Significance of the Study

This study examines Parental socio-economic status and occupational aspiration among  public secondary schools students. Choosing a career is one of the hardest decisions to make in life. It is believed that the role of socio-economic status on : Occupational aspiration and education is important in the technological societies because the allocation of social position relies heavily on higher education; the better educational background, the higher position to be reached in office. With this condition, the need of higher educational level in Cross River increase rapidly. Therefore, educational and : Occupational aspiration of senior secondary school students is an important phenomenon to be studied. We are going to outline this importance in regard to some related aspect that the study will be effective to.
It is hoped that the findings of this study will help the students in the sense that it can be used to provide information for maintaining student’s motivation in both academic and social integration to support career development during the child’s study. It can also help the student in the process of choosing a career of his choice.
It is hoped that this study will help parents to understand that their children already have in mind their desired career aspiration. What is left for them is to support and guide them financially, and give them motivational support for them to be able to attain their goal.
Society is associated with children vocational aspiration. Reviewing an extensive body of research, Watson and Mc Mahon (2005) concluded that children learn about the vocation by interacting with their social environment. This study might open the mind of the society and make them understand the : Occupational aspiration of their individuals which might trigger the society to support some less fortunate students in their educational development.
Schools and teachers sometimes shape perception about vocation. This study might help in letting the school and teacher to be aware of their student’s choice of career and to avoid any form of discouragement, rather the students should be encouraged and supported. This study will also state the importance of guidance and counseling which may persuade schools and teachers to introduce or re- establish their guidance and counseling services.
This study may help educational stakeholders in the process of employment that is their employment would be in form of merit and not randomly so as to maintain further expenses. They would be speared the trouble of training their new staffs.
It is hope that these findings will help the government to understand that students have their aspired careers, this may bring less expense of resources in educational prospects if the student is held within what they want to become in future. It is hoped that the findings can be used to examine the trend of educational : Occupational aspiration of senior secondary students of Cross River.

1.8            Basic Assumption of the Study

The assumption of this study was as follows;
The target respondents were expected to participate in giving the desired information for the study and that they would be truthful, honest and objective to the questionnaires especially after being assured that the information would only be used for academic purpose

     1.9 Scope of the Study

The study anticipates that some students may perceive this research as wanting too much from them. Therefore, the researchers, however, will try to minimize these anticipated limitations through convenient rapport with  respondents and by seeking to make them understand the rationale of study and why they should participate.
The research will be delimited to some local Government in Cross River State. Using five (5) public secondary schools which will constitute both female and  male and co-education in the district, the students and teachers will be recruited as study participants in analyzing significant factors influencing their career aspirations. The students will constitute the study’s primary participants while teachers will supplement findings through guided interviews. On this foundation, the study will focus on the functional relationship between guidance and counseling, family background, and role modeling and career aspirations.

     1.10 Limitations of the study

     There were a lot of constraints that act as a constraint to the study such as time, financial constraints.

     Time: There was insufficient time in the parts of the researcher. The time allocated for this thesis combined with final year exam preparation was insufficient.

     Finance: There was insufficient finance for the researcher to transport to the local government area in other to gather data for the study.

     Despite all the limitations, the researcher was able to manage the situation as it does not in any way affect the authenticity and validity of the results.

     1.11 Operational Definition of Terms


  1. SES: Socio Economic Status.


  1. Socio-economic Status: is an economic and sociological combined total measure of person’s work experience and of an individual’s or family’s economic and social positionin relation to
  • Career: Is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a person’s “course or progress through life (or a distinct portion of life)”.
  1. Aspiration: Is a longing for and striving after something higher than oneself or ones current status. Salawu(1993)