An Exploration of Teacher Attrition and Retention in Private Secondary Schools in Cameroon
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This work explores the influences that lead to teacher attrition and retention in some private secondary schools in Cameroon and identifies ways to foster teacher retention. Teacher attrition has received more attention in the literature than teacher retention. Where retention is covered, the motivation for teachers to stay on in the job or profession has often drawn on human and social capital theories and economic models. The work studies teacher attrition and retention qualitatively through the lens of the job embeddedness theory in the African and Cameroon context. The exploratory and interpretivist approach uncovers views, opinions, unexpected outcomes, and novel and emerging perspectives that could lead to an improvement of our understanding. It probes participants on retention issues related to why teachers of private secondary schools in Cameroon remain in their jobs and the ways that teachers use to stay on in the job or profession. The last question is to respond to how the retention of private secondary school teachers in Cameroon can be fostered. Thirty-seven teachers from fourteen schools were interviewed. The semi-structured interviews were analysed thematically. The findings suggest that attrition is commonly influenced by remuneration, school leadership, workload, tribalism and traditional practices. Retention influences, on the other hand, relate mostly to religion, family attachment, age, experience, love for the job, and cultural norms. The theoretical contribution of this work relates to the introduction of the job embeddedness theory in the discussion of teachers’ professional context. This approach has revealed that institutions such as churches, tradition and kinships, and thrift and loan societies influence teachers’ choices to quit or remain in their jobs. Teachers in private secondary schools in Cameroon have been given a voice, which increases knowledge about teacher attrition and retention literature. The practical and policy implications of this study is for Cameroonian school managers and educational bureaucrats who can align their teacher retention strategies with the study’s recommendations, with particular focus to improving teachers’ working conditions, modernising school leadership styles and promoting informal activities to incentivise teachers to remain in their jobs. In terms of future studies, the neglected role of informal institutions in teacher retention would be an interesting area to pursue.
PhD Thesis - School of Management
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