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This study was conducted to look into influence of parental background, peer group and aspiration on students choice of literature in English as a subject in school certificate examination in Egor local government area of Edo state.

The purpose of this study is to examine the above mentioned factors with a view to finding solutions and ensuring better students participation in literature in English.

Four hypotheses were formulated and tested with data collected with the help of students questionnaire. The respondents were drawn from six schools in egor local government area. A sample of hundred (100) students all drawn from SSI to SSII and SS III. Simple percentage was used to analyse the data collected.




Nigeria is presently witnessing a rapid economic, industrial and political growth and as such, the Nigerian students are faced with the problem of choice of career or vocation out of the numerous existing ones which are possibly known to the students.

Besides, Nigeria as a developing country where appropriate human resources are at a premium, the influencing of students occupational interest and their behaviour, their maximal development and utilization become a concern of primary importance.

Infact, there are a number of factors that influence the choice of career among students such factors include: family background, academic performance, prestige and monetary prospects, peer group influence and the intrinsic values within the students. Okigbo [1978] noted that, one of the objectives of the educational programme in Nigeria is to make an impact in the area of art education so as to meet the growing needs of the human resources sector and humanities.

The National Policy on Education [1981] is also designed to meet this line of development of Nigeria.

However, observation and studies have so far revealed that students’ interest, enrolment and performance in literature in English have remained very poor over the years. The general impression is that special ability skilled, talent and sex have a lot to do with the study of literature in English.

Also, student’s inability to perform well in literature in English and why few take it up as been adduced to negative attitude towards the subject. Attitudes are wrapped up with a persons feeling, need and self concept, likewise attitude once formed is difficult to change.

Literature-in-English is not only looked at as difficult, people are of the view that the subject is for student who are arts oriented.

Effort must therefore be made to identify the contributing factors in order to effectively stimulate the interest of students in literature in English as an attractive and satisfying intellectual discipline in the humanities.

While academic performance in school subjects largely determine the choice of career and vocations among students certain factors in the environment of learner also influence this choice. Such environmental factors include the family view, Musgrave [1967] in a study on the family education and society, stated that the family still exerts a powerful influence on the prospects, capacity for development and life chance of the young.

Musgrave asserted that parental status is a strong influential factor on the choice of career. For example some Nigerian Businessmen ant their children to study Business Administration in the universities so that such children will be well equipped so as to be in charge of their parent’s business enterprises, whether such children are good in subject relevant to study of Business Administration or not. In support of this, Joe DC Graft, sons and daughters is a case study of the effects of parental forceful influence on their child’s choice of career. In the novel, James Ofosu, the protagonist, wanted his daughter, Momaan to study law against the latter’s choice for music.

In Nigeria four basic arts subjects are taught in our secondary schools. These are Literature, Government, History, and Christian Religious Studies. But this paper will dwell on the factors influencing students towards the choice of Literature –in- English as a school certificate subject.


This study is therefore designed to find the influence of parental background, peer group and career aspiration on students choice of literature –in-English in Egor local government area of Edo state.

Considering the number of students that end up studying literature in English at the level, one is prompted to ask;

i.             Does the peer groups attitude have any significant influence on student’s choice of Literature-in-English?

ii.            What are the effects of family background on students’ attitude to Literature-in-English?

iii.           Does the teachers’ attitude and guidance-counseling service have any significant influence on students attitude to Literature-in-English, all these and more are to be investigated in this study.


This study is aimed at investigating the effect of parental background, peer group and career aspiration on student’s choice of Literature-in-English as a subject in secondary schools.

This study will suggest some recommendations towards the improvement of student’s interest and understanding of the importance of the subject to their future [life] career.


This study will provide useful information as regards the parental background, peer group and career aspiration on students’ in secondary schools in Egor Local Government Area of Edo state.

Since Literature-in-English is a vital component of arts courses like Philosophy, History and International studies, English, Linguistics, Theatre-Arts.

The need to probe or investigate the factors influencing it’s enrolment in secondary schools can not be over emphasized.

The result of this study will enable the school guidance and counselling unit know the areas of emphasis when advising the students on subject choice.

It will provide parents the insight into main problems of their children and how best to advise them. It is also hoped that, this study will go a long way in providing the much needed remedy and ensuring increased number among students in Literature-in-English.

Lastly, it will be of help to the government as this will tend to explain how best to achieve the national objectives of reduction.

It will also serve as an extension the frontiers of knowledge as it will benefit person who might be interested in conducting a research on the same or similar subjects in the future.


In this investigation the following will serve as guidelines:

i.             There is no significant influence of parents educational background on students choice of Literature-in-English.

ii.            There is no significant influence of parental occupation on students’ choice of Literature-in-English.


The study will be conducted among students in six selected secondary schools in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State.

Students in SS II and SS III will be used because they are old enough to determine what career they want to pursue.

The main instrument to be used is a questionnaire. The questionnaire is designed to find out the demographic characteristics of the students; the parents’ educational level, socio-economic status and occupation and career to be pursued by the student and what influenced them to choose such careers.


The following words and terms are defined for clarity.

1.    Socio-Economic Status: Hornby defined ‘status’ as a person’s legal, social or professional position in relation to others in this study, it is refer to one’s standing socially and economically within the social stratification. In the light of the above definition of socio-economic status, high, middle and low socio-economic classes are defined as follows:

a.    High socio-economic class: These are people who fall in the category of salary grade 13 and above. These include top ministries officials such as permanent secretary, managers of bank, directors of corporation and parastatals and those successful self employed individuals. They also include professionals, like academic doctors etc.

b.    Middle socio-economic class: Theses are persons on salary grade level 7-12, these include secondary school teachers, primary school headmasters, journalist, civil servant etc.

c.    Low Socio-Economic Class: These are persons on salary grade level 01-06, these include manual workers, petty traders, clerical workers, small scale farmers and those that make minor repairs.

2.    Career: A way of making a livelihood and advancing one’s self through life.

3.    Peer group: Close friends of the same age, class mates of the same interest or a group formed by persons of equal merit of quality.


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