Tanzanian High School students' attitude towards five University professional courses
Objective: To determine the attitude of high school students majoring in Physics, Chemistry and Biology (PCB) towards Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine and Nursing as professions at university.
Design: A cross sectional study of a representative sample of high school students using a pretested attitudinal questionnaire. Attitude components tested were degree of liking, degree of admiration and intentions to visit a professional at work.
Setting: High schools in Tanzania mainland majoring in PCB.
Subjects and Methods: All 352 high school students from a representative sample of five schools: two boy-schools; two girl-schools; and one mixed gender-school participated by
filling in a questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of demographic variables on age, sex, class, education and employment status of father and mother as background variables, and questions on the degree of liking, admiration and preference to visit a particular professional
at work. All the attitudinal questions were scored on a 5-point scale. Scores for the threeattitudinal components were summed to group subjects into positive, neutral and negative attitude. Main outcome measure: Attitude of students to five professions they could study at a higher level.
Results: Eighty seven percent of the high school students had a positive attitude towards medicine, 66% towards pharmacy, 40% dentistry, 12% veterinary and 9% nursing. Dentistry and veterinary had the highest percentage of students (46.5% and 37.3%) who had
a neutral attitude towards the professions, and the highest percentage of students (11.7% and 9.9%) who reported to have had no sufficient information to enable them indicate whether they admired dentistry and veterinary medicine or not. Significantly more girls than boys liked, admired and preferred to study nursing (c2 varied from 11.39 to 12.99; p-value < 0.005).
Conclusion: Medicine was the most liked profession while nursing was the least liked. Pharmacy, dentistry and veterinary medicine fell in between. There was insufficient knowledge about dentistry and veterinary medicine among the high school students.