STUDENTS` INTEREST IN TECHNICAL STUDY PROGRAMS AND TECHNICAL OLYMPIAD: INVESTIGATION OF THE INTERRELATION
Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra (SLOVAKIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-7 July, 2020
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Technical-oriented study branches in Slovakia, as well as in other EU countries, have been recording in the last 10 - 20 years a decline in the number of lower secondary school students applying for study at secondary vocational schools, i.e. in the number of students applying for technical-oriented study programs.
To analyse this serious social phenomenon, which consequently is negatively reflected at the economic and economic level, in 2014 the State Institute of Vocational Education carried out a national questionnaire survey, aim of which was to monitor lower secondary school students` reasons of preferring or refusing to study at (upper) secondary vocational schools respectively grammar schools. In addition to the well-known facts regarding the significance of the social environment, from which a student comes, to the choice of upper secondary school, this survey has brought several interesting findings. One of them was a finding that the students applying for study at secondary vocational schools, in comparison to those applying for study at grammar schools, have clearer ideas about their future study and branch.
A factor that strongly motivates them to make this choice is that they want to get a qualification more quickly and consequently as well to get more quickly a better job. On the other hand, a large proportion of students applying for a grammar school do not yet have a clear idea of their future profession. Basically these are students who have an ambition to continue in their studies after the secondary school completion at a higher education institution, but in many cases they do not have a clear idea about the kind of the higher institution.
One of the ways how to support students` interest in technology, to enhance technical education at schools, and to change the way science and technology are perceived both in society as well as by students, is organizing of Technical Olympiad. At the same time it is also a way how to identify and support talented students. In Slovakia enunciator of the Technical Olympiad, as a subject competition assigned for students of lower secondary schools (ISCED 2), is the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic. It organizes this competition in co-operation with the Slovak Institute of Youth IUVENTA. Department of Technology and Information Technologies, of the Faculty of Education, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra takes part at carrying out the Olympiad as one of its main guarantors.
In the academic year 2018/2019 there was held 14th year of the competition of Technical Olympiad. The paper will present an analysis of the kinds of upper secondary schools chosen by the winners of all completed 14 years of the competition to continue their education (professional preparation/training). This is, there will be solved the research question whether there is any interrelation between students` interest in technical study programs and Technical Olympiad and the research sample will consist of all the winners (students placed on the first three places) of this competition (2011 – 2014).
Keywords: Technology education, professional orientation, interest in technical study branches, secondary education.