A Study of Causes of Teacher Attrition in Selected Regions of Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


This study was aimed at investigating the pressing issue of the reasons why teachers leave the leaching profession and the factors that contributed to or aggravated the exodus from teaching. It was also intended to identify preventive strategies to reduce attrition and increase teacher retention. To conduct the study, a descriptive survey was employed. For this purpose, the study was conducted in fo ur sample regions of Ethiopia: Addis Ababa, Afar, Amhara and Oromia. From these regions samples were taken fi'om 12 Zones, 20 Weredas, 46 Primary and 12 Secondary Schools. Randomly selected samples of practicing teachers (N = 884) offormer teachers (N= 282) fi'om primary and secondmy schools and of prospective teachers (N= 162) ./i·olll eight teacher edllcation inslitlltions Ivere involved in filling qllestionnaires to prol'ide first hand information. 1l1ter viell's anclJocus group discussions were carried out wilh educatioll ailicials ./i"0111 REBs, ZEDs. WEOs and incumbent school principals and teachers. 111 addition, various doclllllel1ls and personal observations and experiences were IIsed as insl/'lll/1ents to collect dalc( Data analysis Ivas lIIade by using statistical tools such as percentage. mean, Chi-square, rank order correlalion coeffiCient and t-test to identifjl whether there were differences and agreements among Ihe respondents on several variables. The study revealed that average teacher attrition rate per annum in the three years period (/996/97-1998/99) Jor the four Sampled Regions was about 3%, the highest (7. 4%) in Afar Region (a peripheral region), and the lowest (1.3%) in Addis Ababa (an urban region). Over a similar period, among the teachers with certificate, diploma and degree holders abaul 1%' 5% and 8% of them respectively lefi the profession annually. Annual rate of allrition for primmy school feachers Jound to be about 1% , in contrast to the rate of attrition of secondary school teachers that reached 5.3%. The ./Clilure ornew graduates to turn-ujJ before starting the profession also aggravated attrilion. Within the three years period (/996/97 - 2000/01) among the new graduates 14.1% of diploma and 19.1% of degree holdersfailed to report to Afar, Amhara and Oromia regions collectively. Former teachers lefi their jobs mainly for the reasons which are in rank order: the low social prestige accorded to teaching by the society at large, low economic and financial benefits, lack of tramfer, unfavourable working conditions within schools, administrative problems. lack of pro./essional career development. difficulties of living conditions, overloaded work. limited chanceforfiu·ther edllcation and lack ol instruclional support. The study also revealed that the majority of former and practiCing teachers lacked initial commitment to teaching Substantial number of practicing teachers disclosed that they would not prefer to stay in teaching. The majority of prospective teachers in the degree programme joined teacher education programme withollt being interested. The new career structure and salary scale hasfailed to bring about the intended purpose of retaining teachers as they lefi the profession at a significanl rate. Almost all practicing teachers disclosed that the career structure lacked the power to motivate teachers. Finally, Ihe sllldy discusses the consequences as resull olteacher alfrition and suggestions are forwardedfor how policy decision-makers in the MOE, REB, ZED, WED as well as in schools and communities, can help reduce allrilion, enhance retention and attract the best recruits to teacher education programmes.



Study of Causes of Teacher