Teachers' Retention in Tanzanian Remote Secondary Schools Exploring Perceived Challenges and Support
Abstract: Teacher retention is a global challenge, and many developed and developing countries are struggling to staff and retain teachers in schools, particularly in low-performing, remote, and less desirable areas. In most of these countries, Tanzania in particular, the efficacy of fiscally inclined teachers’ retention strategies continues to be dubious. The aim of this study is to explore teachers’ perceived school level challenges and the support of retaining teachers in remote secondary schools in Tanzania. The study is inspired by a supportive management theoretical framework, particularly Organizational Support, Leader-Member Exchange and Coworkers’ Exchange. It is motivated by a pragmatic knowledge claim. Data were sequentially collected in three phases using interviews and survey questionnaires. A sample included 258 secondary schools teachers from 28 remote schools in the Dodoma region in central Tanzania. Mixed methods data analysis techniques were used.The current study identifies younger males of a well-educated and experienced teaching workforce as being the chief staffing in remote Tanzanian secondary schools. Such a teaching workforce is challenging to retain in remote areas, as it is rarely satisfied with the teaching career and highly susceptible to frequently changing employers and working contexts. Moreover, findings show that teachers perceive problems related to housing, social services, conflicts in schools, the inability to influence changes in schools, the teaching and learning situation and limited opportunities as the chief reasons for not remaining in remote schools. Furthermore, findings show that teachers perceive meaningful retention support as being contextually definitive. The catalyst is high quality exchanges amongst teachers which spearhead the development of intra- and extra-role practices, school citizenship behaviours, intraschool social capital (an investment), all of which could bind teachers together, enhancing performing and supporting each other beyond formal contracts. Such a situation triggers teachers’ beliefs that changes, improvement, adaptability and survival within difficult remote environments is possible, and this consequently influences the intention to voice and/or conversely, to exit. Teachers’ empowerment, justice practices and working voicing arenas are important practices for enhancing retention support, especially in remote areas.
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