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Implication of Professional Development on Teacher Retention in Public Secondary Schools of Nyabihu District

  • Evariste Bigirimana
  • Dr. Irénée Ndayambaj
  • Dr. Jean Francois Maniraho
  • 849-866
  • May 29, 2024
  • Education

Implication of Professional Development on Teacher Retention in Public Secondary Schools of Nyabihu District

Evariste Bigirimana, Dr. Irénée Ndayambaje (PhD), Dr. Jean Francois Maniraho (PhD)

University of Rwanda/ College of Education

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.47772/IJRISS.2024.803058S

Received: 16 April 2024; Revised: 25 April 2024; Accepted: 29 April 2024; Published: 29 May 2024

ABSTRACT

Professional development has been considered and functioned as a booster of any employees’ capacity and career growth, teaching included. This assertion is true in the sense that professional development leads to promotion and career change. Professional development improves employee dedication and capability by providing access to education and training opportunities in the workplace. The Rwandan government has been undergoing a stressful massive recruitment of teachers of secondary schools in order to respond to the needs expressed in NST1 of having improved quality education and building economic based education. The recent recruitment of the teaching staff included the non-certified teachers who eventually were introduced to teaching for a short period. However, it was observed that the latter introduction plays a minor role in retaining teachers in their profession as they keep moving from their job due to the major reason of lacking enough confidence in handling teaching practices. Nyabihu District has been identified among the districts that recognized high teacher turnover for several years back. Many solutions have been thought through REB and MINEDUC and continuous professional development processes have been adopted to update teachers’ capacity in teaching profession in order to stabilize the teacher retention. The main objective of this study was to explore the implication of professional development on teacher retention in Nyabihu District, Rwanda. The highlighted specific objectives were (i) to assess the contribution of induction and mentoring on teacher retention in public secondary schools of Nyabihu District (ii) to analyze the effect of the career ladder pathway on teacher retention in public secondary schools of Nyabihu District (iii) to determine the role of working condition on teacher retention in public secondary schools of Nyabihu District (iv) to identify the contribution of Teacher preparedness on teacher retention in public schools of Nyabihu District. This study used mixed method research design as a method of investigation that associates or integrates both qualitative and quantitative forms. The current study population is made of 662 teachers, 45 head teachers of government secondary schools and 45 Directors of education (DOS), thus the target population is 752. In this research purposive sampling was used to select schools and respective teachers, Directors of studies, Head teachers, in those schools due to their concern in the implementation of professional development in their schools. Questionnaires and interviews were utilized by the researcher to gather data. Tables and graphs were used to display the data after they had been examined using descriptive statistics (frequencies and percentages). Generally, the findings of the study indicated that new teachers are not inducted which shows that this dimension is poorly planned during teachers’ recruitment (34 % of respondents strongly disagreed and 31.5% disagreed) against less than 25% of the respondents who have positively supported each of the items about induction and mentoring of teachers. The findings again indicated that the tendency of the majority of the respondents directed towards the disagreement side of the statements under career pathway development (13.3% strongly disagreed and 40% disagreed) against less than 10% who approved that career pathway processes exist in the schools as one way for professional development. Moreover, the findings indicated that the existing working circumstance neither support teachers nor promote their feeling and mind to do well their profession. Finally, the findings indicated that respondents were against the point that the preparation and planning are important aspects of good teaching and pull teachers to stay in the profession. Therefore, the research recommended that the government institutions in charge of implementation of education policies in regard of teacher professional development wake up for the raised issues such that the teacher retention in teaching profession can be maintained in Nyabihu District and in Rwanda in general. The recommendations also went to innovation of many other mentoring and coaching initiatives that aim at retaining teachers at work together with teachers own initiative to increase their level of education for them to become more professionals.

Key words: (i) Professional development (ii) Teacher retention (iii) Career ladder pathway (iv) teacher preparedness

INTRODUCTION

For any career growth, teaching included, professional development is fundamental. Professional development improves employee dedication and capability by providing access to education and training opportunities in the workplace. Professional development also boosts employee morale by assisting in the recruitment of higher-quality workers in schools.

For teachers, professional development is paramount in determining their updatedness and ability to deliver which all together determine the quality of education. In fact, the quality of the teachers is the most important school-related factor in every way as it impacts on students’ accomplishment and progress (Chetty, Friedman & Rockoff, 2014; Hancock & Scherff, 2010).

Given the current gap in students’ performance and educational advancement around the world, enhancing the quality of the teaching staff through professional development remains a top priority (Harrell et al., 2019). The present study has set out to explore the implication of professional development in teacher retention in rural areas.

Lasagna (2009) defines teacher retention as the ability to keep teachers in the classroom while also reducing lesson turnover. Transferring across schools or districts and leaving the profession are examples of turnover (Ingersoll, 2001). According to Lasagna (2009), keeping ineffective teachers should be avoided, but keeping effective teachers will benefit all stakeholders. Professional development has a major impact on teacher retention, according to research (Power & al, 2010).

Increased student enrollment and financial constraints, in addition to teacher attrition, exacerbate the problem. Researchers investigated the factors that influence the instructors to stay in the profession or leave (Hughes, 2012; Ingersoll & Smith, 2003; Geiger &Pivovarova, 2018). Three reasons for teachers’ retention were highlighted: personal, social, and organizational. In these reasons, gender, experience, and academic credentials are categorized into personal factors, while school circumstances, leadership support, and salary are classified as organizational elements (Guarino, Santibanez, & Daley, 2006).

Retaining qualified teachers has been and is still a problem around the globe. In England and the United States, three decades of attempts to reduce attrition and improve recruitment of quality teachers have yielded little fruits, with attrition rates of 11% to 13% and 7% to 8%, respectively (Carver-Thomas & Darling-Hammond, 2017; Worth, Lazzari, & Hillary, 2017). Developing countries, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, face greater shortages of teachers, and this issue is expected to obstruct the fulfillment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (UNESCO – UIS, 2013). In these countries, the attrition rate varies between 5% and 30%. (Mulkeen et al.,2005).

The Government of the State of Eritrea has prioritized education as a strategy for achieving national development goals (Ministry of Education MoE, 2009). In order to reach this strategy, teachers’ professional development has been placed on top priority with establishment of two teacher training facilities on the purpose of producing adequate instructors for schools till 2018. The College of Education (CoE) provided two-year diploma and four-year degree programs for middle and secondary school teachers, respectively. Second, a one-year certificate program at Asmara Community College of Education (ACCE) produced primary school and mother tongue teachers. (2010, Mulkeen).

Kavanuke (2013) looked into what keeps good teachers in the teaching profession in Tanzania, and found that adequate salaries, working conditions, mentoring programs, and career growth opportunities are among the motivating factors that lead to teachers’ retention in public secondary schools

Rwanda has been ranked as one of the most educationally advanced countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with primary school net enrolment of 97% in 2015. However, boosting school quality, lowering high turnover rates, and attracting teachers to rural areas has remained a major issue for the country’s education sector.

The Rwanda Basic Education Board (REB) which is in charge of basic education teacher management, has taken from the hands of the districts the responsibility of teacher recruitment and placement across the country. According to a recent IPA study 2019, teacher turnover in Rwanda averages 20% per year, especially in institutions with low learning levels and large pupil-teacher ratios. Researches also found out that when a teacher leaves, districts were only able to provide a replacement for 77% of the time. The Rwandan government has made it a priority to recruit and retain competent, skilled, and motivated teachers in order to improve educational quality. Ranges of complementary initiatives were implemented to enhance teacher recruitment, morale, and retention under the Education Sector Strategic Plan. On top of frequent trainings delivered to teachers, MINEDUC thought of other non-monetary incentives such as the provision of cows and motorcycles to the annually best performer teachers, as well as the utilization of a Teacher Development Fund to offer laptops to around 1,000 teachers per year. Mwalimu SACCO was another major initiative of the government of Rwanda that was established to provide financial facilities to teachers in the purpose of trying to retain them in teaching career. (MINEDUC, 2013). However, such initiatives haven’t yielded responses to teacher turnover, thus the investigation on the implication of professional development in teacher retention.

Statement of the Problem

The newly recruited teachers are expected to remain in the profession for quite a relatively longer time not only to gain teaching experience but also to ensure the stability in the hiring processes and in the end positively impact on the students’ learning.

Nonetheless, it is evidenced that the Rwandan educational system is stressed by the constant recruitment and replacement of teachers who time to time move and leave the profession and this impacts on students’ performance (Minister of MINEDUC statement to the parliament, April 2022). According to a 2019 article in The New Times, the Director General of Rwanda Education Board announced a plan to recruit 7214 new teachers in 2020. He also explained that the recruitment was for serving basic data to be used when a teacher leaves the profession.

The 2018 education statistics indicate a decline in numbers of secondary school teachers in the school year 2016-2017, which implies a high rate of turnover. Moreover, a study by Innovation for Poverty Action (IPA) in the year 2021 showed that 20% of teachers separate from their jobs in a given year, 11% exiting the workforce, 8% transferred to other schools in the same districts while 1% of teachers move across the districts, meaning that teacher retention is an issue to deal with, especially in rural areas.  It is evident that increased teacher turnover is hindering the quality of education and this underlines the sense of urgency to investigate the underlying causes and explore how best professional development can help to curb the trend.

Objectives of the Study

The main objective is to investigate the implication of professional development on teacher retention in public secondary schools of Nyabihu District, Rwanda

Specific Objectives of the Study

  1. To assess the contribution of induction and mentoring on teacher retention in public secondary schools of Nyabihu District
  2. To analyze effect of the career ladder pathway on teacher retention in public secondary schools of Nyabihu District
  3. To determine the role of working condition on teacher retention in public secondary schools of Nyabihu District
  4. To identify the contribution of Teacher preparedness on teacher retention in public schools of Nyabihu District

Theoretical Literature

In the purpose of producing a meaningful and groundful study, Herzberg’s Motivation Theory was employed to exemplify the motivation factors that are related to implication of professional development on teacher retention in public secondary schools.

Herzberg’s motivation theory known as “two factor theory” emphasized hygiene and motivation. According to Frederick Herzberg, Employee satisfaction has two dimensions: hygiene” and motivation. Hygiene issues such as salary and supervision reduce employee dissatisfaction with the work environment.

Motivators such as recognition and achievement increase worker productivity creativity and commitment based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Jones, 2011). Herzberg concluded that satisfaction and dissatisfaction could not be measured reliably on the same continuum. Throughout his theory, he determined factors in work environments that cause satisfaction or dissatisfaction which he named satisfiers (motivational factors) and dissatisfies (a lack of hygiene factors) (Misener & Cox, 2001).

According to Herzberg et al. (1959), motivational factors are required to improve job satisfaction thus these motivators are intrinsic to the job and lead to job satisfaction because they meet needs for growth and self-actualization (Herzberg, (1959; Alshmemri et al., 2017) and hygiene factors are extrinsic to the job and serve the need to avoid unpleasantness (Herzberg, 1966).

Employee motivation is a critical factor that can assist employers in improving employee and organizational performance. Internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to continually be interested and committed to the job and to make an effort to achieve a goal, are referred to as motivation. According to Monnapa and Saiyadain (2008), motivation is the result of the interaction of conscious and unconscious factors such as the intensity of desire or need, the incentive or reward value of the goal, and the individual’s and his or her peers’ expectations.

EMPIRICAL LITERATURE REVIEW

This review focused on the opinions of previous writers about the impact of professional development on teacher retention in government secondary schools, as well as the empirical research and other associated papers on the implication of professional development on teacher retention in secondary schools.

Induction and Teacher Retention

Induction is described as the process of providing a variety of professional support services to newly hired teachers and educational experts under the supervision of professional staff to enable entry into the education profession (Taylor,2002)

Induction programs are thorough initiations or introductions to a position that offer novice teachers with the models and resources they need to start their teaching careers, as well as assistance to help them meet performance criteria, (Wang and odell,2002). Induction may include coaching, planning support, professional development, and evaluation. Support, orientation, training, internship, assistance or evaluation programs, retention programs, commencing new teacher program, transitional program for existing teachers, cohort program, phase-in, and workshops are all synonyms for induction. (Smith & Ingersoll,2004, Feiman-Nemser,2012, Huling, Raster, yeargain,2012)

According to research, if teachers receive support and training, they are far more likely to stay in the field, which leads to an increase in teacher retention rates. In and out of the classroom, first-year teachers are often assigned the same tasks as more experienced teachers. Quality programs for all first-year teachers are critical, and data shows that new teachers who participate in induction programs are nearly twice as likely as those who do not stay in the field (Strong,2005)

Teachers who do not participate in induction programs are twice as likely to depart during the first three years of employment, although not all states encourage new and beginning teachers to engage in induction programs or orientations, trends indicate that such programs benefit novice teachers and increase retention rates. Teacher induction programs assist new and starting teachers in becoming competent and effective classroom professionals (Darling-Hammond,2010)

When entering the area of education, an induction program “may consist of, a bigger system of support/assistance that commonly includes mentoring but often includes extra support such as help with curriculum planning and professional development” (Potemski & Matlach, 2014).

This induction program can provide instructors with assistance as they begin their careers in education, instructors feel supported when an effective induction program is performed in schools, which leads to a greater proportion of teachers reaming in the field (Potemski & Matlach, 2014), to properly conduct an induction program, an education program must be able to support participating personnel and provide a supportive environment for these staff.

Creating a great teacher induction program may smooth the transition for new staff by providing them with the time, support, and relationships they require to thrive.

Induction is an umbrella phrase for the supports put in place to help instructors adjust to a new workplace culture (Glazerman et al, 2008; Ingersoll & Strong, 2011, Shockley et al, 2013, Smith & Ingersoll ,2004)

A stand-alone program before the school year should be prioritized to meet the most pressing requirements, followed by ongoing work during the first year. Induction extends beyond understanding students, classrooms, and curriculum. Information regarding the procedures and processes that govern the workplace, as well as school norms, are essential for teachers to settle in and feel confident; however, it is crucial to keep in mind the pace at which this is accomplished. A well-planned induction program considers the school environment as well as the top priority demands of incoming instructors. Organizing timely induction sessions and giving teachers opportunities to apply what they are learning helps them make connections between all the moving pieces (Ingersoll, 2011)

When school leaders and policymakers understand the causes of teacher attrition, they may design policies to reduce attrition through improved preparation, assignment, working conditions, and mentor support, all of which contribute to the objective of guaranteeing skilled teachers for all kids (Darling-Hammond, 2010).

Several studies have demonstrated that well-designed mentoring programs boost new teacher retention rates, there is substantial evidence that well-managed induction and mentoring programs are the most effective way to increase teacher retention (Sutcher, et al, 2019). When effective principals are actively involved in teacher induction, offering “professional development” retention increases, Interaction with supportive educational leaders in a reciprocal relationship of respect, support, and participation in leadership possibilities. Candidates who train to teach with highly competent cooperating teachers are more effective themselves. Induction programs may provide an opportunity for schools and districts to define the criteria for retention, (Ronfeldt&McQueen,2017, p406)

Mentoring and Teacher Retention

Mentoring is the process of using specially selected and trained persons to provide direction, pragmatic advice, and ongoing support to those who are in the process of learning and developing (Whitmore, 2009)

Mentoring comprises essentially listening with empathy, sharing experience, professional friendship, creating understanding through contemplation, being a sounding board, and encouraging, writes David Clutter buck (2010). Retaining new teachers is a critical issue in any setting, keeping instructors who entered the industry through alternative certification programs, as has been done for more than a decade, exacerbates the retention problem.

The typical alternative certification program recruits degreed professionals from various fields and transition them into teaching through an “accelerated” certification program consisting of four courses and a concurrent one-year teaching internship (Feistritzer & Chester, 2004). According to research and practice, the focus should be on helping new teachers during their first years of teaching if we wish to improve teaching quality and retention thus well-designed mentorship programs reduce new teacher turnover.

John Holloway, (2001) said that 20% of mentored teachers returned to teach a second year, claiming feelings of achievement as a result of mentorship. He also references a study of mentored and unmontored new instructors that found an attrition rate of 18% for unmentored teachers and only 5% for mentored teachers thus retention rates were higher for teachers who participate in mentoring programs than those unmentored. Mentoring is a typical aspect of teacher education and professional development for new teachers, (Holloway, 2001; Ingersoll & Smith, 2003; Ingersoll & Strong, 2011; Smith & Ingersoll, 2004; Strong & St. John, 2001)

Career Ladder Pathway and Teachers Retention

A career path is a progression roadmap including short- and long-term goals. It depicts the path that an employee takes from a lower-level position to their ultimate aim through successive responsibilities. Each employee’s strategy will be slightly different, but it will be feasible in your firm. The process of choosing a vocation, strengthening your abilities, and progressing along a career path is known as career development. It’s a lifelong learning and decision-making process that leads to your ideal job, skillset, and lifestyle. Career development is important because it gives people a feeling of self, pride, and a place to play and contribute, it assists us in identifying our abilities and talents, as well as how to apply them in our job and lives, it gives people power.

Across the globe, teacher attrition is a recurrent issue, novice and beginning teachers abandon the profession within the first five years (Gallant & Riley, 2014). Because of this issue, as well as the fact that fewer young people are choosing to enter the profession of education, schools, districts, and leaders must discover ways to retain both young people and teachers. There are various advantages to keeping teachers, it results in a more stable school atmosphere, improved academic accomplishment among students, and lowers direct and indirect recruitment and replacement costs (Patte, Naomi, Jim & Braenna, 2016). It suggests that retention is beneficial to both the school and the kids’ academic success, In Rwanda career ladder pathway will help teachers to boost the spirit of creating a well conducive working environment and remain in their respective schools, you can retain teaching personnel by ensuring that they are engaged, motivated, and stress-resistant, as well as attract potential instructors, by providing professional development opportunities.

Working Condition and Teacher’s Retention

Workplace organization and activities, training, skills, and employability, health, safety, wellbeing and working time and work-life balance are all covered, working conditions is seen as “the way schools, teachers, and teachers’ learning are organized in terms of time, space, resources, workload, task variation, evaluation and feedback, organizational goals, and professional development policies,” as defined by Louws, Meirink, van Veen, and van Driel (2017). In the case of Teacher Professional Development, adequate time appears to be a critical requirement that either hinders or encourages its adoption and sustainability. The amount of time required is determined by the type of Teacher Professional Development activity (van Veen et al., 2012). Nonetheless, most research concludes that professionalization activities should be integrated into teachers’ work and should be ongoing rather than occasional.

Working circumstances that support teachers, according to Johnson, are the best methods for promoting teacher retention. Professional development, opportunities for advancement, and adequate supports, according to Johnson, create a healthy working environment in which teachers desire to stay. In other words, many of Johnson’s best practices aren’t precisely “retention rules.” Rather, they are policies that encourage a productive workplace. As we examine replies from school district officials, we’ll try to figure out whether the measures are intended to retain students or if retention is merely a nice side effect. “In other words, each district allows teachers to have their voices heard when selecting what forms of professional development to give, and even permits teachers to attend the sessions that best meet their requirements.”

For example, while selecting which types of professional development to provide and in what methods, District makes sure to consult teachers. As a result, the district recognizes that teachers are the ones who teach, and that they are therefore more aware of their needs in terms of education and behavior control than the central office is.

Teachers in District are also encouraged to lead professional development workshops so that “teachers learn from teachers” (Susan, May 22, 2018). According to Grier and Holcombe (2008).

According to research, when the organizational circumstances in which teachers operate are improved, instructors are more likely to remain in their employment (Kraft et al., 2016). Working conditions have been highlighted in the research as a mediator in the association between teacher turnover and school demographic factors (Geiger & Pivovarova, 2018), and may be especially relevant for minority teacher retention. As previously stated, principal leadership plays a large role in determining working conditions and has a strong impact on teacher turnover, particularly in high-need schools (Grissom, 2011), school districts that struggle with teacher turnover must recruit principals who have demonstrated the ability to improve teacher working conditions (Burkhauser, 2017). Principals are responsible for defining the school’s vision, functioning as instructional leaders, developing teachers’ leadership skills, and managing people and systems, thus certain research suggests that high-quality principal preparation and development programs can improve principals’ ability to retain effective teachers. Offering principle professional development activities like coaching and/or mentoring has the potential to improve principal practice and reduce teacher attrition (Jacob, Goddard, Kim, Miller, & Goddard, 2015; Lochmiller, 2013), Teacher attrition is one of the major factors to the global and national scarcity of effective instructors. Low income, the quality of teacher preparation programs, an impossible workload, and terrible working conditions are all prominent reasons for teachers worldwide to leave the profession. Poor working conditions are a contributing element in teacher retention issues. According to recent research (Potemski & Matlach, 2014), there are four key factors that contribute to poor working conditions for teachers: a lack of respect, a lack of motivation, and a lack of resources, a lack of autonomy in the classroom, a scarcity of materials and resources, and inadequate pay. When teachers have poor working conditions and low morale, which leads to unhappiness in the classroom, work environment teacher burnout is caused by chronic sentiments of dissatisfaction, which subsequently lead to a state of exhaustion.

Teachers are leaving the profession of education as a result of this (Halstead, 2013). Schools with lower teacher turnover rates were slightly more favorable about their working circumstances. Schools with a high turnover rate were mainly positive about their working circumstances as well, Allensworth, E. &Mazzeo, C. (2009).

Teachers were motivated to be productive, creative, and satisfied when three working conditions were present:  schools with space for each teacher to work with students and colleagues, Schools that are clean and Schools that are physically sound with technology that teachers rated their working conditions as more satisfactory had lower attrition rates and also were schools with higher rates of low-income and educational policymakers interested in changing teacher working circumstances in order to improve student achievement, morale, and teacher retention should routinely investigate the working conditions of teachers in low-performing schools. Schools must become places where teachers and students may achieve together if pupils are to be properly educated and perform to high levels. There is substantial evidence that teachers are more likely to stay in the classroom and are more likely to be retained and effective in their profession when their schools provide a variety of support. Ensuring that teachers have ongoing chances to build skills to meet the different needs of learners adds to a good and supportive working environment.

Poor administrative support, huge class numbers, limited student resources, and school rules adopted without teacher engagement discourage excellent instructors from working at some schools.

Teachers’ Preparedness and Teacher’s Retention

Preparation and planning are important aspects of good teaching. Failure will result if the teacher falls behind in planning. Good teachers are usually over-prepared, always thinking about the next class, and constantly planning and preparing.

Teacher burnout and discouragement are caused by a lack of proper preparation. Teachers who complete well designed, longer programs are more likely to stay in the classroom than those hired through alternative techniques that provide only a few weeks of training. Ronfeldt et al. (2014) discovered that graduates who completed more methods-related training were somewhat more likely to remain in the classroom.

Candidates who complete more courses and student teaching weeks appear to have stronger retention and feel more prepared to teach, but there is little evidence that they are more instructionally successful.

Better quality clinical experiences, on the other hand, are consistently connected with higher retention, perceptions of readiness, and recognized instructional efficacy. Clinical experiences that are aligned with other program dimensions such as coursework (program coherence occur in field placement schools with strong professional learning environments and that match employment schools on student demographics, school, and grade levels and include instructionally effective cooperating teachers who also provide high-quality coaching are suggested by the literature, effective preparation as a teacher can reflect your enthusiasm for the subject to students, parents, and coworkers. When you invest time and effort into your lessons, your peers and students can tell. This might demonstrate that you go above and beyond the call of duty to provide the greatest possible instruction. Preparation can be an important aspect of your teaching journey if you want to make the most of your teaching profession and assist students acquire skills and competencies for success. Understanding the teaching preparation process and why it is so important will help you build the skills and tactics you need to improve as a teacher (Kippich & Knapp, 2001).

It is critical to prepare for teaching classes so that you can deliver productive, interesting lessons to your students while also making the most of your time and resources. While preparation for teaching may include factors such as lesson planning and the development of daily activities, it may also include the initial or ongoing training you take to gain skills and competency as a teacher. These sorts of preparation, when combined, can help you refine your teaching skills and principles while also performing well in your profession.

Conceptual Framework

The study defined the important indicators of the independent variable and dependent variables and the relationship that exists between these two main variables.

Research Design

This study used mixed method research design as a method of investigation that associates or integrates both qualitative and quantitative forms. It entails logical presumptions, the application of both qualitative and quantitative methods, and the blending of these methods in a study. Therefore, it includes more than just gathering and evaluating both types of data; it also involves using both methodologies so that a study’s overall strength is greater than that of either qualitative research or quantitative research (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2007). Thus mixed method helped to collect necessary information on how professional development implies on teacher retention and enable to decide if retention of the teachers is the result of professional development among other factors, thus clarification of this may not be fully proved by a sole research design that’s why mixed method research design was employed as it helped in generalization of findings and contextualization of the conclusion.

DATA COLLECTION INSTRUMENTS

Two types of data collection instruments were employed to gather information from all the respondents who participated in this investigation. A survey questionnaire was used as a tool to gather primary data whereby respondents were required to answer a similar set of closed questions, which were in prearranged order. The questionnaire was among the most convenient methods of data collection due to its credibility to provide the respondents with the freedom of expressing their views about professional development and how it enhances retention of teachers and this helped in the assurance of collection of data and easy interpretation

Purposive interview was also used to get the perceptions of the head teachers and directors of studies about professional development and teacher retention as a way of getting more understanding the scenario from the respondents, purposive interview helped me to achieve the research objectives as the interview questions target the response relate to the research questions which was interpreted and analyzed for generalization.

Validity and Reliability

The questions were set in accordance with the research objectives and framework to ensure that respondents do not deviate. The tool was given to the respondents provisionally to check if the data given related to the research objectives. In return, the tool gave the information related to the objectives of the research as respondents provided the correlated answers to the set questions at different period of time, this the tool was valid.

A sample of the population was used to test the instrument, and the results have been compared to see if they were consistent.

Sample Size of the Study

Based on slovin’s formula of calculating sample size the error of margin is 5% which is 0,05 and confidence of coefficient is 95% then the estimated target population (N) in Nyabihu District secondary schools is   752, therefore, the sample population (n) is:

The sample size of the study is 257 including teachers, directors of studies and Head teachers. In accordance with educational data of Nyabihu district (2019), the target population is 752.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

This study was guided by four objectives (i) to assess the contribution of induction and mentoring on teacher retention, (ii) to analyze the effect of the career ladder pathway; (iii) to determine the role of working conditions and (iv) to identify the contribution of teacher preparedness. All the objectives aimed to prove whether their existence affected their retention.

Induction and Mentoring 

The findings indicated the respondents’ perceptions on induction and mentoring of novice teachers with emphasis on issues such as availability of induction and mentorship program, awareness of induction and mentorship availability and its accessibility, and if the retention of teachers is influenced by the induction and mentoring program in a school.

Variables 5 4 3 2 1
Induction and Mentoring Strongly Agree % Agree% Not sure% Disagree% Strongly Disagree%
The new teachers are inducted to be enabled in education profession and career 5.1 9.3 12.9 31.5 34
First year teachers are often assigned the same tasks as more experienced teachers in a school 8.5 8.5 8.5 30.6 37
Teachers often remain in teaching profession due to the induction and mentoring program 6 9.7 11.3 31 37
School has a Mentor and he/she organize academic contact in which teachers meet once per week, month or term 7.1 9.7 14.5 32.3 29.8
All teachers understand the role of induction and mentoring in their teaching career and various topics assigned help them to enhance teaching profession 12 9.3 9.3 30.2 33.9

Source: primary data (researcher 2023)

The findings depicted in this table indicated that 34% of respondents strongly disagreed and 31.5% disagreed that new teachers are inducted or mentored which shows that this dimension is poorly planned during teachers’ recruitment. The findings indicated that more than 30% have strongly disagreed and 30,6% disagreed that the first year teachers are often assigned the same task the same as more experienced teachers. This indicates that when a new teacher is recruited, no particular course to integrate them in the profession nor assignment to tasks as fellow experienced one, they only do this if there is no bench on the same post as said in the interview conducted during this study. Moreover, more than 35% strongly disagreed and 31% disagreed that teacher remain in the profession due to the induction and mentoring, 29,8% strongly disagreed and 32,3% disagreed that the school has a mentor who organizes academic contact in which teachers meet once per week, month or term. Furthermore, 33,9% strongly disagreed and 30.2 disagreed their understanding on the role of induction and mentoring in their teaching career and the role of the various topics assigned to help them enhance teaching profession. It was observed that only a small percentage of less than 25% of the total respondents have positively supported each of the five items on inductions and mentoring of novice teachers. For example, only 10% shows that they understand the role and importance of induction and mentoring while those are stable and gain skills about this dimension confirm that teachers remain in the profession due to this dimension, the induction and mentoring as a relationship between people with a goal of professional development have to be enforced to pull teachers to remain in the profession hence, a confirmation of the literature from John Holloway, (2001) who found out in a comparative study that 20% of mentored teachers returned to teach a second year, claiming feelings of achievement as a result of mentorship compared to 5% of teachers who were not mentored thus retention rates were higher for teachers who participate in mentoring programs. In addition, during informal conversation with teachers about why teachers are not motivated to remain in their profession, teachers who participated in this study revealed that new teachers are not inducted, and they suspect that administration may not be aware of the existence of induction  and mentoring programs, because they never heard them talking about it, and as soon as teachers are recruited, they are immediately placed to commence teaching which after all, when these teachers find it complicated, the remaining feeling is to leave the job. Seeking to deepen the strategies that help new teachers to at least resist for their first days in teaching, teachers revealed that most of the new teachers adopt a self-coaching for being integrated in the teaching profession.

Career Ladder Pathway

A career path is a progression road map including short and long  term goals, the process of choosing a vocation strengthening your abilities, and progressing along a career path is known as career development, across the globe, teacher attrition is a recurrent issue, novice and beginning teachers abandon the profession within the first five years (Gallant & Riley,2014), this dimension is taken into account to verify whether career ladder pathway is the factor of  pulling teachers to remain in the profession. In this regard, the findings indicated perceptions of the respondents through each of the items under career ladder pathway.

Variables  5    4 3 2 1
Career Ladder Pathway Strongly Agree % Agree% Not sure% Disagree%(n) Strongly Disagree%
Career development helps teacher to deliver a productive teaching activity and remain in the career 6.9 6.9 8.9 39.9 29
Career ladder pathway helps teachers to boost the spirit of creating a well conducive working environment and remain in their respective schools 8.1 10.5 23.4 30 25.4
Career development is important and gives teachers a feeling of self, pride and place to apply and contribute 7.7 10.1 16.9 27.4 29.4
Career development assists teachers to identify their ability, talents and how to apply them in teaching job 10.1 12.5 17.5 31.9 19.8

Source: primary data (researcher 2023)

The findings indicate that 29% strongly disagreed and 39.9% disagreed to have had experienced or assisted to the occurrence of the professional career development for teachers in their schools which would help them to deliver productive teaching activities and activate them to remain in the profession with confidence. Among the respondents, 8.9% were not sure if the career development helps teacher to deliver a productive teaching activity and remain in the career. I addition, 25.4 strongly disagreed and 30% disagreed that career ladder path way boosts spirit of creating a well conducive working environment and remain in their respective schools. Moreover, 29.4% strongly disagreed and 27.4% disagreed that the process in place for career development is important and gives teachers a feeling of self, pride and place to apply and contribute. Furthermore, 19.8% strongly disagreed and 31.9% disagreed that career development processes in place assist teachers to identify their ability, talents and how to apply them teaching job. The findings indicate that a small percentage of the respondents confirmed that they agree or strongly agree with each of the statements under the point of career ladder pathway, which recommends to the educationist the green light of raising awareness amongst teachers about career ladder pathway as one way to grow teacher professional development, thus teacher motivation. During the interview session, some respondents provided another side of perceptions whereby the could spot some examples of the government commitment to support teachers’ professional development through career ladder pathway. For example, the Ministry of education, through Rwanda Basic Education Board (REB) has established mechanism of providing scholarships to in service teachers to increase their education levels.  They mentioned that career ladder pathway is a collective responsibility that may be involve different education partners like MINEDUC, REB and NGOS aimed to building capacity of teachers. However, though these mechanisms have started being implemented, when the teachers have increased their level of education, they are likely to leave the host schools. One head teacher said: “When a teacher completes a certain level of education, they are likely to move to other schools once they have succeeded employment test, they get discouraged once they fail the test, this also leads to the move which also caused attrition of teachers than being promoted at the same school or leave the profession despite of the experience they already possess, for other opportunities.”

Working Environment

Working conditions is seen as the way schools, teaching and learning are organized in terms of time, space, resources, work load, task variation. When working conditions are well set in schools, teachers are motivated to be productive. In this research, respondents have shown their perceptions on the working environment at their place of work and it contribution in retention of secondary teachers on the Rwandan territory.

Variables   5    4 3 2 1
Working Conditions S A % A % NS% D% S D%
Teachers are likely to stay in their career once there is a well conducive working place 9.7 10.7 10.7 30.2 33.9
Working circumstance support teachers and promote their feeling and mind set about their profession 7.4 7.4 9.6 43.6 31.7
Workshops help teacher learn from teachers and attract their retention to the profession 8.1 11 25.9 26.8 27
Working place is conducive teachers are motivated, productive, creative and satisfied which retain them in the profession 7.7 11.1 18.9 29.9 32.1

Source: primary data (researcher 2023)

A healthy working environment pull employees to work productively and stay for a long period. In this study, respondents have expressed different perceptions and feelings on this dimension, mentioning the situation of each statement at their place of work. Responses on each of the statement about working conditions, were analysed in a table using percentages. The respondents were requested to demonstrate if, on one extreme, they strongly agree or, on the other extreme, strongly disagree the statements which they did successfully. The findings have indicated that 33.9% strongly disagreed that teachers are likely to stay in their career once there is a well conducive working place. In addition, 43.6% disagree that working circumstances support teachers and promote their feeling and mind set about their profession. Moreover, 27% strongly disagree that workshops help teacher learn from teachers and attract their retention to the profession. Furthermore, 32.1% strongly disagree disagreed that when working place is conducive, teachers are motivated, productive, creative and satisfied which retain them in the profession. The findings again indicated that 10.7%, 9.6%, 25.9% and 18.9% of the respondents are, respectively, not sure of each of the actions expressed in each of the above statements. This dimension has also hit the opposite of the favorable side which contradicted the previous views about the contribution of the working environment in retaining teachers. It was a fact that there might be put in ingredients in improving working environment as Louws, Meirink, van Veen, and van Driel (2017) suggested such as health, safety, wellbeing tips, working time and work-life balance; and translate working conditions as the way schools, teachers, and teachers’ learning are organized in terms of time, space, resources, workload, task variation, evaluation and feedback, organizational goals, and professional development policies.

Teacher Preparedness

Effective preparation help teacher to meet the needs of the students, teacher turnover is sometimes driven by lack of effective preparation which impact negatively educational outcome intended. The findings on teacher preparedness indicated the responses on each of the statement and were analysed in a table using percentages. The respondents were requested to demonstrate if, on one extreme, they strongly agree or, on the other extreme, strongly disagree with the statements.

Variables   5    4 3 2 1
Teacher Preparedness SA % A% NS% D% SD%
Teachers deliver productive, interesting lesson if he/she prepare for teaching classes which help him/her to feel well in the profession 6,6 13.3 26,6 40.6 13.3
Teaching preparation is important and help to build the skills and tactics needed to improve as teacher 13,3 13,3 20 36,6 20
Preparation and planning are important aspect of good teaching and pull teachers to stay in the profession 13,3 46,6 13,3 20 6,6
Teachers who discovered more methods related to training are more likely to remain in the classroom.  13,3 20 26,6 13,3 20

Source: primary data (researcher 2023)

As shown on this table, more than 40% of the respondents disagreed that teacher deliver productive, interesting lesson on a basis of preparation although some of respondents agreed that this helps to feel well in the profession. In addition, 36,6% disagreed and 20% strongly disagreed that teaching preparation is important and helps to build the skills and tactics needed to improve. This means generally that the respondents, both teachers and school leaders, don’t reach the level of understanding well the benefits of lesson preparation and how it helps in teacher professional development which results into teacher retention because preparation practice helps teachers to improve skills and practices and leads towards professional independence.

In the meantime, during interview sessions, the head teachers affirmed that teacher preparedness is one of the crucial components that teachers as well as school administrative staff are convinced that it is a very key factor in a teaching profession and can boost teachers career development. This is in conformity with the views of teachers and Kippich &knap, (2001) who posit that understanding teacher preparedness is important and helps building skills and tactics needed to improve teaching.

During this same interview, respondents confirmed that most teachers prepare teaching materials to implement school teaching related activities but it was also pointed out that some teachers fail to prepare their lessons regularly. One head teacher, during interview, remarked that preparation involves different activities taken by teacher towards effective production. She mentioned that preparation helps teachers to be integrated in the career than being unprepared, she also said that a prepared teacher feels the love of the career while an unprepared one thinks always to move and leave the profession due to the lack of productive work and confidence in front of the students.

SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS

In respect to the objective number one which is to assess the contribution of induction  and  mentoring  on teacher retention in public secondary schools different views have been expressed on  (1) new teacher induction  to enable education  profession  and career, (2) first year teachers often  assigned the same  task as  experienced teachers  in  school, (3) the teachers often remain in  teaching  profession  due to  induction  and  mentoring, (4) schools  have a mentor to organize academic contact in which  teachers  meet weekly or monthly, it was found that some sampled schools are aware of the existence of this program but it is done at lower pace. It was noticed that the school leaders (Head Teachers and DOSs) try to recognize the role of induction and mentoring of teachers but they lack an opener to translating them into practices as confirmed by Directors of studies that there were no planned induction and mentoring on new recruited teachers. In regard to teachers understanding of the role of induction and mentoring in their teaching career, over 45% of the respondents affirmed that teachers do not have enough information on the role of induction and mentoring and what it can help in teaching profession and this affect teacher retention as they are not experiencing loving the job in schools where they teach or even change the career.

As of the respondent’s opinions on objective two which focused on analyzing the effect of the career ladder pathway on teacher retention in public secondary schools, generally, Head Teachers, during interview, confirmed that career ladder pathway may be one of the factors that is useful in reduction of teacher turnover or attrition in different schools though the same respondents through questionnaire had given different views on the same item whereby 56% of the head teachers disagreed with the statements under career ladder pathway development. While the head teachers indicated double standards on this issue of the role of career pathway in the development of the teacher, the majority of the DOSs and teachers have remained opposed to the fact that this item has been fully used in the secondary schools that underwent this study. It was observed that only 19,1% of the DOSs and 18,3% of teachers stood positive for the statements under career ladder pathway development. This implies that if the career ladder pathway development exists in the schools, it is lowly emphasized and may not contribute much on the teacher retention in Nyabihu District.

The respondents in this study also reacted on objective three which was to determine the role of working conditions on teacher retention. As a key factor to strengthening the employee retention in general, this has not faced supportive arguments in this study since the majority of respondents (+56%) have demonstrated that the existing working conditions are not favorable on teacher retention in secondary schools of Nyabihu District. This was observed as the statements (1) teachers are likely to stay in their career once there is a well conducive working place (2) working circumstances support teachers and promote their feeling and mind set about their profession (3) workshops help teacher learn from teachers and attract their retention to the profession (4) when working place is conducive, teachers are motivated, productive, creative and satisfied which retain them in the profession, all of the four have only been supported by 18% of the teachers and 15% of the directors of studies. While head teachers have again demonstrated two opposite sides. The findings indicated that only 31.6% of the head teachers who participated in the study approved the four statements under working conditions while during interview sessions the majority of them, more than 50%, have supported the role of working conditions in retaining teachers at their schools. In the researcher’s analysis, these views were given in two different perspectives. The first perspective which appeared in responding the questionnaires concurs with the situation of working conditions at their schools while the second perspective during the interviews concurs with ideal thinking of how working conditions should be favorable to employees, including teachers. Both of them are beneficial to the study with some nuance which is that teachers have not fully experienced the working conditions which help them remain in the career for long time.

Finally, the respondents have contributed in responding to the fourth item which was about teachers’ preparedness. The findings indicated again that the majority of the respondents have not supported the statements under this item. On the side of the teachers, generally 64% disagreed that (1) teachers deliver productive, interesting lesson if he/she prepare for teaching classes which help him/her to feel well the profession (2) teaching preparation is important and help to build the skills and tactics needed to improve as teacher (3)preparation and planning are important aspect of good teaching and pull teachers to stay in the profession (4) teachers who discovered more methods related to training are more likely to remain in the classroom. While the DOSs have again refuted the statements at 41% the same as the head teachers at 42%. However, the head teachers, have taken another supplementary position similar to the ideal conception of the teacher preparedness that is presumably supposed to characterize them in their career.

In fact, they recognize that preparation and planning are important aspects of good teaching and insist that if the teacher falls behind in planning would result in a failure in their profession and may lead to the teacher turnover. They also recognize their hand in teacher preparedness in a key factor to create a place for the teacher confidence.

CONCLUSION

The study dealt with the implication of professional development on teacher retention in public secondary schools of Nyabihu District. It was built around four objectives (i) to assess the contribution of induction and mentoring on teacher retention in public secondary schools of Nyabihu District (ii) to analyze effect of the career ladder pathway on teacher retention in public secondary schools of Nyabihu District (iii) to determine the role of working condition on teacher retention in public secondary schools of Nyabihu District (iv) to identify the contribution of Teacher preparedness on teacher retention in public schools of Nyabihu District. In general, the study revealed that professional development is related to and can affect teacher retention though it is not emphasized in schools as a principal activity that may support schools to retain teachers which results in low teacher retention in public secondary schools. This may be attributed to many factors not only the ones raised in this study but also others which were not tackled including reward and remuneration, attitude toward the school, school leadership, performance appraisal, family situations and stability, lack of recognition among other teachers. For this noble cause, schools have to prepare the induction course of new teachers since, when induction and mentoring are effectively enforced, it can culminate the professional spirit of teachers who will finally remain at the workplace for a longer period and therefore enhance the learning and teaching process. School leaders also may play a vital role in following up and monitoring teacher’s preparedness and support whenever it is needed considered that 40% of respondents are not aware of the importance of lesson preparation, which may turn into positive if teacher preparedness remains a culture within the school life and among teachers.

RECOMMENDATION

 Following the results of the study and conclusion, the following recommendations are made to different categories of organs and persons deemed to play a vital role in teacher retention.

The Ministry of Education, Rwanda Education Board, District Education Officers and Sector Education Inspectors

High level education institutions are targeted with these recommendations. First and foremost, MINEDUC, REB and other regarded institutions should establish, during recruitment of new teachers, various professional courses ahead of time at national level and be administered intentionally nationwide to integrate them into the teaching profession rather than sending them to schools only. In addition, regular meeting, monitoring session, inspections should follow the introduction of the new teachers to ensure that they are well settled to start the job confidently.  Moreover, MINEDUC, REB and other regarded institutions should strengthen the implementation and translation of the policies into practice and monitor up to the level of the schools, the usefulness of each policy regarding teacher retention such as the special statute for teachers that mandates that each new teacher have to receive induction before starting the job. Career pathway should also be strengthened and monitored nationwide to ensure that no teachers are left behind due to the lack of commitment and awareness from the school leaders. These institutions should also strengthen the school leaders’ awareness on the strategies to maintain the teachers for the benefit of the school performance.

Development Partners in Education

Development partners that support the ministry of education in the implementation of the education policies have to integrate in their different programs a component that aims at promoting teacher retention in schools by planning various scenarios of integrating teachers into the teaching career, initiating projects that expound the teachers’ psychological motivation to remain at the work place.

Head Teachers

The Head Teachers as school managers need to be trained in an effective leadership style so as to acquaint them with the challenges of teacher retention, the working conditions, career development, induction and mentoring may be planned better if the leader possess characteristics of approaching teachers, sharing them and striving for their improvement. Head Teachers should establish a regular program of working with teachers on challenges encountered in the teaching profession so as to create a well conducive working environment. For instance, Head Teachers have to ensure that teachers get inducted and mentored in a conducive environment, proper deployment of teachers in different training assigned to ensure career development. They put emphasis on teacher induction and mentoring programs, career ladder pathway, working conditions and teacher preparedness to ensure effective teacher retention.

Teachers

Teachers have to increase their skills by adding their level of education which finally helps them to understand the system of education.

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