Determinants of the choice of a career in teaching: a survey of students enrolled in educational degree programmes at Kenyatta university and university of Nairobi
Sawega, James W
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The objective of this study was to determine factors that influence the choice of a career in teaching. To satisfy the research objectives the author used a descriptive research design. The sampling frame included the Joint Admissions Boards register of the students who were admitted to pursue degree courses in education at the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University. Primary data was collected from 60 undergraduate students from each university using structured questionnaires. Analysis was done using mean scores, percentages and frequencies. Where appropriate, the study results are presented in pie charts and graphs. The results of the study show that most (54%) students view teaching as a chance to share with others the knowledge they have. This need had the greatest influence on their choice of teaching as a career. The analysis also reveals that job security that comes with the teaching profession is a factor that most students consider when choosing teaching as a career (33%). The study further established that another factor considered by the students as important in their choice of teaching as a career is the fact that teaching allows for the use of the acquired academic knowledge, (34%). It was also apparent that 42 percent of the students view teaching as a profession that offers much intellectual stimulation. They rated this fact on having had a greater influence in their choice of teaching career. The study also established that quality of material and facility for teaching greatly encouraged students to join or consider remaining in the teaching profession (27%). Improvement in work environment greatly encouraged 30 percent of the students to join or consider remaining in the profession. High starting salaries when teachers start working would greatly motivate the students (47%) to join or consider remaining in the teaching profession. Giving teachers more autonomy or freedom in their work would also encourage them to a great extent, to join or consider remaining in the teaching profession. It is therefore concluded that merely introducing financial incentives to recruit teachers is not enough because various factors influence choice of career in teaching. The most influential factors include: chance to share with others the knowledge they have, job security, use of the acquired academic knowledge and teaching as a profession that offers much intellectual stimulation. It also concluded that changing or improving certain factors in the profession would ensure that more people join the profession. The changes/improvements include: quality of material and facilities for teaching, improved work environment, increased starting salaries, giving teachers autonomy and freedom to do their work and improvement of the public opinion regarding teachers. The study therefore recommended that more improvement and changes in the teaching profession should be carried out especially in terms of teachers’ salaries and the work environment in order to attract more people to take teaching as a career. The other improvement that the study recommends is that the public opinion regarding teachers should also be taken seriously.