Factors Influencing the Attrition of Agriculture Teachers in Secondary Schools in Botswana

Article excerpt

A descriptive type of research was conducted to determine factors influencing the attrition of agriculture teachers in Secondary Schools in Botswana. The target population of the study was all the 106 heads of agriculture departments in Secondary Schools. A mailed questionnaire was used to gather data. The validity and reliability of the instrument were established. Results of the study revealed that remuneration, advancement and working conditions were the domains mostly responsible for the attrition of agriculture teachers in Botswana Secondary Schools.

Attrition can be defined as the gradual reduction of the work force by means of natural events such as retirements, deaths, and resignations; as opposed to reductions planned by management such as discharge, layoffs, retrenchments or early retirements.

Teacher attrition can have either positive or negative consequences on the local programmes. In a positive sense, attrition may be one way of naturally getting rid of incompetent teachers thus giving way to hiring new teachers who may be competent and who may introduce new programme contents and new policies and procedures to existing programme.

Negative consequences might arise when the leavers are the best teachers or when the school programmes are undergoing rapid growth and development. In this sense, teacher attrition lowers the overall effectiveness of the school and ultimately the quality of learning.

Furthermore, replacing high performing teachers might be very difficult thus decreasing the overall performance of the affected school. Attrition could result in expenses associated with the recruitement and selection and also loss of productivity until probably a new teacher has mastered the job. Attrition may also have a demoralising effect on the remaining teachers and negative effect on prospective teachers. Also individuals who remain might develop dissatisfaction simply by watching other teachers leave for other job opportunities.

Tilburg (1987) stated that when a staff member quits, both the students and the remaining teachers suffer. There is disruption of service to the clientele, the extra time and money spent on recruitment and training for replacement, as well as the additional stress of more work to the remaining staff members are the possible consequences suffered by the school organisation as a result of attrition.

Webb (1983) reported that in the National Education Association Survey of 1982, teachers indicated that factors and forces that have had a negative effect on their job are, little opportunity for advancement in the chosen profession; salaries not keeping up with inflation; status damaged by decline in public confidence in education; negative student attitudes toward learning. He further stated that, teachers are becoming increasingly estranged from their work.

Many feel they have given up an essential part of themselves to pursue a task that provides little professional recognition, profession that is not fulfilling their needs or tapping their potential and that Teaching profession is not providing individuals with the financial and psychological support required to sustain them in their work. As a result many teachers are leaving the field.

Lukhele (1989) in his study on the turnover of secondary school teachers in Swaziland found that, inadequate career ladders; inadequate salary; attractive terms and conditions of service in the private sector and allowances were major reasons for turnover of secondary school teachers in Swaziland.

In a recent study by Phenethi (1995) on the turnover of agriculture teachers in secondary and high schools of Lesotho found that, lack of involvement of teachers in decision making; lack of support for teachers; poor working relationships between agriculture teachers and headteachers, limited mobility in teaching service; discriminatory practices against the promotion, high demand to attend class activities after normal working hours, headteachers failure to recognize outstanding performance of teachers, lack of inservice training for agriculture supplies and equipment by school administration, attractive conditions of service in other sectors of the economy were major factors associated with turnover of agriculture teachers in secondary and high schools in Lesotho. …