Family influence on Career Choices - A case study of selected schools in Lusaka Province

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Kaswanga, Sandie A
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Career guidance and counselling services are vital in the lives of everyone, learners included. These services are important especially in facilitating effective occupational choices. Observations in schools, however, reveal that the services are unavailable, necessitating a better understanding of the situation, and if at all there is need, to minimize the impact of their unavailability. Cognisance with the difficulties in the provisions of these services envisages that family influence when practiced within family-school collaboration may offer a plausible alternative. In a developing country with a falling economy, this is significant as it calls for lesser financial investment and is largely available to all learners. The purpose of the study, therefore, _was to find out whether the family influenced career choices of learners and that such confirmation would facilitate the basis of enhancing it. The implementations of the family-school collaboration, however requires a thorough understanding and this descriptive survey research intended to provide this understanding, especially as it had to be reviewed within the local Zambian scenario. The study employed both qualitative and quantitative methods. Questionnaires were administered to learners while short personal interviews were conducted with teacher counsellors and results analysed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). The study's findings confirmed reviewed literature assertions that the family influenced career choices of learners. In Lusaka schools, it was a major factor and thus significant. The parents' education, occupation, the family socioeconomic status, and family functioning were some of the dimensional factors of the family influence which were of immediate prominence in affecting career choices of learners. The study also attempted to provide a local understanding of the influence of the factors and suggested explanations as to why vocational services were non-existent in schools despite government intentions to provide the services. The society's social cultural (cooperation/communality) was partly a suggestive explanation to the nonexistent phenomenon and also tended to explain why the family influence was significant in the learners' career development. It also provided probable insights as to why the current foreign derived career development theories were seemingly not working in schools. Major recommendations of the study include the revisition of the current policy and practice of guidance and counselling which should include other stakeholders like the family, both immediate and extended. There is also need to undertake a multidisciplinary comprehensive research study to provide a better understanding of the present policy and practice. There should also be more elaboration on the what, how and why of the family influence, in our local context.
Vocational guidance , Parent participation