Early Childhood Education Project Topics

Attitude of Students Towards the Study of Early Childhood Education

Attitude of Students Towards the Study of Early Childhood Education


The study focused on attitude of students towards early childhood education in Owerri Municipal Council. The purpose of the study is to determine the salary related factors that discourage students from choosing early childhood education. Four research questions guided the study. The study is a descriptive survey design, the population of the study was 500.

A simple random sampling technique was used to select the sample size of 220. A structured questionnaire was used as instrument for data collection. Mean () statistics was used for data analysis. The findings includes; salary related factors discourage students from choosing early childhood education, parental, service condition and existing teacher status discourage students from choosing early childhood education. Recommendation includes Government should motivate and fund school by adequately providing salaries as at when due to teachers, conclusion and summary was reached and suggestion for further studies was also include.

Chapter One

1.4 Objectives of Study

In trying to investigate the factors that influence the choice of early childhood education, the study sought to:

  1. investigate the level of family influence on studying early childhood education;
  2. determine the impact of gender on studying early childhood education;
  3. establish whether the school environment influences career pathways;




Research on family influence has increased rapidly during the last couple of years, yet an understanding of family influences on career choices still remains sparse. Much of the research on family influence focus on individual parents’ careers, for instance, mothers or fathers influencing children to take up a certain career. This research considers family members’ influence on career choices which includes parents, siblings and extended family members.

The first interactions of a child with people takes place within its home among members of its family who include parents, siblings and relatives (Bollu-steve & Sanni, 2013:92). A child is affected by a number of family-related factors such as the marital relationship of the parents, the socio-economic status of the family, the atmosphere of the home (whether parents are warm or hostile), the environmental condition, occupational status of the parents and the number of siblings in the family (Bollu-steve & Sanni, 2013:92). The family dynamics therefore play a pivotal role in the career readiness of the students.

In America, Hairstone (2000:2) purported that the career process of young people can be compared to rocks in a rock polisher. All kinds of people grind away at them but parents are the big rocks in the tumbler. Other American studies also reveal that, even if schools had the resources with which to meet young people’s career needs, neither teachers nor counsellors can replace the influence parents have on their children (Taylor, Harris & Taylor, 2004:1; Hairstone, 2000:2). Besides parents, other American family members are viewed as influential in their children’s career choices (Tillman, 2015:23; Griffin, Hutchins & Meese, 2011:177; Ojeda & Flores, 2008:91; Domene, Shapka & Keating, 2006:154). Similarly, Kracke (2002:20) revealed that German families influence students on studying early childhood education. All these studies were carried out in completely different environments from the current study.

Parents influence career choices in a number of ways, for example, parental support and encouragement. A study carried in Kenya reflects that when adolescents require information on topics such as career planning, they consult their parents (Edwards & Quinter, 2011:82). Although the study was similar to the current study in terms of focus and objectives, the study used a qualitative approach which limits the objectivity and generalisability of results. Another study in Kenya also examined the influence of parental support in their children’s careers (Korrir & Wafula, 2012:87) however, the study was carried out to examine the factors that influence the choice of careers in the hospitality industry in Kenya. The current study did not focus on a particular career but careers in general and is carried out in Nigeria.

A study was conducted to investigate the influence of family background on the academic performance of students in Nigeria. It was found that supportive parents are important for their children’s career decision making and for the success of their careers (Barker, 2010:6; Clutter, 2010:13). Bollu-steve and Sanni (2013:92) established that Nigerian parents influenced students’ performance and eventual career choices. Despite the differences in the aims of these studies, they acknowledged the importance of parental support of their children’s education and career choices. The current study particularly focused on family influences on career choices.

African studies, for example, in Kenya (Mokoro, Wambiya & Aloka, 2014:1465) and in Nigeria (Abiyo & Eze, 2015:26; Abiola, 2014:231), have highlighted that many of the settings in which children and youth participate are dependent on the choices of their parents. Thus, parents’ decisions, choices of where to live, what to provide materially and relationally in the home and how to structure out-of-school time for children, impacts children’s development in ways that are meaningful for later success in the world of work (Abiola, 2014:231). Beggs, Bsutham and Taylor (2008:391) refer to “helicopter parents” who have a tendency to intervene in their children’s college life from choosing a university to helping them choose individual courses. In this case, parents are seen as inseparable from their children’s career choices. This parental/child attachment has been raised in the Social Learning Theory that informs this study when it emphasises the impact of the environment on learners.

Parental education was found to influence children’s career choices, for example, Eccles (2007:668) revealed that, in America, parents’ education and occupation were associated with academic achievement. Parental education was referred to as a determining factor in the selection of careers by British students (Dustman, 2004:227). It was revealed by Pfingst (2015:91) in Australia and Abiola (2014:231) in Nigeria that highly educated parents have more resources, both financially and in terms of academic advice, to support their children than poorer parents. Similarly, in Albania (Uka, 2015:212) and in America (Dustman, 2004:227), parental education levels contribute to children’s career pathways. An earlier study by Fisher and Padmawidjaja (1999:144) revealed that American parents who were college educated were able to instil in their children the desire to have experiences and accomplishments that would enable them to surpass their parents’ educational and occupational levels.

Students may learn from models in their world whether in urban or rural areas. The immediate world of children is the family. Models could come in the form of family members or other relatives (Braza & Guillo, 2015:83; Ogunyewo et al., 2015:28; Egunjobi et al., 2013:302). This is in line with Bandura’s Social Cognitive Learning Theory which informs this study that advocates the importance of role models and vicarious learning. Role models in the family may include parents, older siblings and extended members of the family such as uncles, aunts and cousins. Therefore, students may pursue careers as a result of certain individuals in the family who were role models. In Nigeria, Mapfumo et al. (2002:163) stated that relatives were considered to be the main influence in career choices of children in their vicinity.

Mapfumo et al.’s (2002) study also revealed that societies perpetuate certain behaviours among male and female children through the way they are brought up. Mapfumo et al.’s study did not specify the factors that influence career choices but revealed that the family (which is one of the factors in this study) has an important role to play. The study looked at career perceptions and visions of boys and girls in secondary schools in Nigeria. The current study aimed at establishing whether parents act as role models as revealed above and influence students’ choice of careers.

Bartle-Haring, Yaunkin and Day (2012:203) argued that there are other contextual factors beyond schools that are related to school engagement such as parental involvement, family routines, family connectedness, parenting practices and family social support including parental expectations for academic achievement. If families are not well coordinated, the children may not be motivated by them in their choices of careers. It is not only the parents and other family members who influence children to choose careers but other family dynamics such as family cohesion and conflicts within families. Although it is not the purpose of this study to reveal these dynamics, they may influence families in assisting their children in choosing their careers.  

Families do not always influence students’ choice of careers. For instance, in South Africa, Mashinge and Oduntan (2011:25) and Dodge and Welderndael (2014:46) found that families do not influence career choices. Ma and Yeh (2010:24) established that Chinese-American youths’ parental values were not a significant predictor of career aspirations, plans and vocational outcome expectations. Their study also reflected that, as children grow older, the desire to find fulfilment in a career versus pleasing the family can influence adolescents’ decisions about their career choices. The family’s interference with their children’s career decisions may have a negative influence on the career choices in later stages. Similarly, in Nigeria, parents and relatives played insignificant roles in the choice of library and information science careers (Oloasebikan & Olusakin, 2014:55). Egunjobi et al. (2013:302) also revealed that Nigerian parents did influence their children’s nursing careers. Although Egunjobi et al.’s study could be affected by bias as the researcher used purposive sampling and also focused on a particular career, these revelations are still relevant. The downside of non-probability sampling techniques in general and purposive sampling in particular is that an unknown proportion of the entire population will not be sampled. The sample may or may not represent the entire population accurately therefore the results of the research cannot be generalised. Over and above purposive sampling, Egunjobi et al.’s study used participants from nursing colleges and only focused on nursing careers which makes it different from the current study which looks at students on studying early childhood education. Moreover, the current study used stratified random sampling which gives it an edge and also looked at careers in general not a specific career as did Egunjobi et al.’s study. Stratified random sampling captures key population characteristics in the sample therefore the results can be generalised.

The present study sought to establish whether, in Nigeria, similar results that family has an insignificant influence on children’s career choice is correct. The next section discusses the influence of schools on students on studying early childhood education.


Career guidance is offered at institutions of learning such as schools, colleges and universities among others. High schools are a transition to higher institutions of learning and the world of work so they have a critical role in assisting students choose careers (Baloch & Shah, 2014:547).  If students have too many choices of careers or have not made a decision on which career to take, school career guidance is helpful in selecting their study paths and in identifying their potential strengths to enhance their competitiveness for positions (Dodge & Welderndael,

2014; Sun & Yuen, 2012:204). Krumboltz’s theory of Social Learning Theory of career development, which informs this study, emphasises teaching people career development techniques so that they can give career guidance in schools. Similarly Lapan, Tucker, Kim and Fosciulek (2003:329) stated that the transition from high school to university or the world of work has been understood as one of the most difficult developmental challenges confronting adolescents and that schools play a pivotal role in guiding the students towards a career. The current study sought to find out whether career guidance offered in schools influences students on studying early childhood education.

Edwards and Quinter (2011:85) emphasised the influence of Kenyan schools in students’ choices of careers when they argue that it is in schools where students learn about and explore various careers before they make career choices. Korrir and Wafula’s (2012:87) study highlighted the influence of the school on choosing a career.  It investigated the factors that influence the choice of hospitality careers at Moi University. They concluded that Kenyan students’ interest in this career could have been developed at high school. The study was carried out at a university and looked at a particular career. The current study does not look at a particular career but careers in general. Also, the participants in Korrir and Wafula’s study are different from the current study which looks at students in Nigeria. Similarly, Faiter and Faiter (2013:13) emphasised that American students were influenced at high school to follow STEM subjects which eventually prepare students for careers that are scientific in nature.

Decision making is an important tool in career choice. This is in line with Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory which informs this study that emphasises career decisions. According to Ferreira and Lima (2010:298), decision making is a complex process which can often be difficult and confusing for many Spaniards. In general, career guidance interventions in American schools are concerned, not with telling students what to do, but with helping them acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes that will help them make better career choices and transitions hence ameliorating the problem of career decisions (Watts & Sultana, 2004:111). Similarly, Hansen (2006:34) stated that, in Switzerland, school career exploration and career decision-making activities can be used to broaden students’ awareness of their interests and abilities as well as the career opportunities that exist. Decision making is one of the basic tenets of Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory which emphasises self-efficacy. According to Social Cognitive Theory, self-efficacy entails the belief in one’s capability to succeed on a given task. Hence, students are likely to choose careers based on whether they have the capacity to do well in their chosen careers. If career guidance enhances the acquisition of self-efficacy, it was critical for the current study to establish its influence in Nigeria.




It emerged from this study that family influences career choices among students in Nigeria. The study revealed that both mothers and fathers influence their children in their choice of careers. The study also revealed that parents can create career interests in their children. It also emerged from this study that parental influence comes in different forms such as parental actions, parental values and beliefs, parental connectedness and expectations. The current study further showed that the level of parental education has a positive influence on children’s choices of careers. Mothers and fathers’ careers also had an impact on their children’s choices of careers. It also emerged from this study that family businesses had no influence on students’ choices of careers.

The present study revealed that schools influence career choices among students.

Career guidance lessons students receive from career guidance teachers have a bearing on students’ choices of careers. It emerged from the current study that class teachers and former students also play a pivotal role in students’ choices of careers. The study also revealed that the geographical location of the school plays a significant role in students’ choices of careers

It emerged from the current study that gender does not influence career choices among students. Both male and female students compete for the same careers. There is no difference between the subjects done by girls and by boys that lead them to the choice of different careers. It also emerged from the current study that both male and female role models influence students in their choices of careers.


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