Educational and Career Aspirations Among Secondary School Girls in Nyeri District  

Abstract Category: Education
Course / Degree: Ph.D. Education
Institution / University: The University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Published in: 2004

Thesis Abstract / Summary:

This study explores educational and career aspirations among secondary school girls in Nyeri District, Kenya. Data was collected from ten secondary schools selected through stratified and purposive sampling methods to cater for the diverse nature of secondary schools in Kenya. Findings draw upon responses to questionnaires and individual interviews involving Form One and Form Four girls who were in school at the time of data collection between January and April 2001. The aim of the study is to understand the processes through which secondary school girls acquire certain educational and career aspirations.

The study has revealed the complexity of the multiple influences that lead to the girls having certain educational and career aspirations. They have to contend with gender biases at home, school and within the rest of the society. In addition, there are other structural factors which affect what the girls aspire for. Poverty was a major concern for many girls - it was cited as the main reason why a large number of Form Four girls did not think they would be going to university. Whereas this did not appear to be of major concern to Form Ones (most of them said that they thought they would go up to Form Four), the results from the Form Fours can be used to conclude that the higher the educational level, the more the financial worries.

It was not the aim of this study to pinpoint a hierarchy of influences upon girls’ educational and career aspirations. In fact, data from the study has shown that instead of a situation where influences can be ranked one on top of the other, different factors seem to gain prominence for different girls, in different contexts, at different times. What was evident was the fact that the girls are aware of, and learn how to contend with the many different challenges they face.

The determination to succeed was evident from the choices that girls made of the higher educational courses they would like to pursue and careers they would like to go into. With the recognition that some of their aspirations may not be realised because of structural factors these girls still want to ‘make it’ in life; they therefore think about alternatives in case what they aspire for does not come to be. The study has revealed situations where hope and uncertainty exist side by side. Some of these issues are explored through case studies of individual girls.

Many of the girls see education as a means to an end because it will lead to rewarding careers; this portrayal of education in economic terms reveals a weakness of the education system because there is less focus on the attainment of other goals of education, for example intrinsic rewards, personal satisfaction, empowerment and so on. There are half-hearted measures to give girls more access to schools, but the crux of the matter is that the system still remains selective with very high wastage rates at all levels.

Thesis Keywords/Search Tags:
Kenya, Nyeri, Education, Secondary Schools, Girls, Gender, Careers, Aspirations

This Thesis Abstract may be cited as follows:
Chieni, S.N. (2004) Educational and Career Aspirations Among Secondary School Girls in Nyeri District, Kenya, The University of Manchester, United Kingdom

Submission Details: Thesis Abstract submitted by Susan Chieni from Kenya on 05-Sep-2005 11:07.
Abstract has been viewed 3058 times (since 7 Mar 2010).

Susan Chieni Contact Details: Email: susanchieni@yahoo.com

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