The Educational and Occupational Choice Process: The Case of Agriculture Students in Pakistan
thesisposted on 15.08.2012, 14:50 by Sameen Masood
The development of the agriculture sector is crucial to the socio-economic prosperity of Pakistan. Despite its significance, the enrolment trends in agriculture sciences and research and development in this sector have not gained substantial attention. The specific objective of this research is to draw conclusions and make recommendations through which enrolment in agriculture sciences can be facilitated, retention of agriculture graduates can be ensured and barriers in the choice process can be removed. This has been achieved through investigating the choice process of agriculture students by answering the first research questions that seek to identify stages of the choice process. Expanding the understating of the choices and the choice process, the study answers the second research question exploring the influence of various factors on the choices as well as the choice process of agriculture students in Pakistan. This qualitative study was conducted in two different cities of Pakistan where various cohorts of students at different stages of their academic and professional life were interviewed. The thematic analysis of the interview data presents a ‘multi-stage’ educational and occupational choice process detailing the definitions, characteristics, sequences and components of the stages. The outcome of the process is postulated based on the experiences of the earlier stages. The significance of practising ‘choice’ intensifies as unplanned choosers are more likely to drift away from the agriculture profession as compared to planned choosers. Furthermore, the role of locality, gender, social prestige associated with various professions and nature of parental support emerged as choice facilitators or barriers in the choice process of agriculture students. Thus, key recommendations arise for the policy makers in the education sector and in agriculture universities and establishments. Particular focus is required for establishing career guidance facilities, disseminating information at different levels, making small changes in the structure of the education system and addressing misconceptions about agriculture sciences and professions in this field.