Teacher supply, recruitment and retention in six Anglophone sub-Saharan African countries: a report on a survey conducted by Education International in The Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia

Case Studies & Research
Education International
79 p.

The purpose of this survey was to investigate teacher supply, teacher attrition, teacher remuneration and motivation, teacher absenteeism and union involvement in policy development in six Anglophone African countries. These are: The Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Tanzania Uganda and Zambia. The survey data or information was collected by means of a questionnaire and through country visits (interviews and discussion groups) and document analysis. Some of the findings are summarised below: The study reveals that four of the six countries involved in the survey (Gambia, Lesotho, Tanzania and, to some extent, Uganda) have a serious shortage of qualified teachers at both primary and secondary levels. These countries have not succeeded in providing adequate pre-service training facilities to meet demand, current and future. Kenya and Zambia do not have adequate numbers of teachers in their schools (evidenced by high pupil-teacher ratios) yet they have many qualified teachers who are unemployed. These countries have failed to significantly increase their teacher stock due to budgetary considerations and agreements reached with international financial institutions. Teacher shortages seem to be more acute in remote rural areas and in special subject areas, such as mathematics and science. The average rate of teacher attrition in the six countries is 4%. Most of the attrition is attributed to retirement, resignations, death and dismissals. Many respondents felt that death due to AIDS related illnesses has contributed to the high level of teacher attrition, especially in Lesotho and Zambia. Brain drain has also contributed to the high level of teacher attrition in Zambia, particularly at secondary level. Low salaries and poor conditions of service are the main cause of brain-drain. The survey reveals that teachers' salaries are generally below the poverty line or cost of living. Conditions of service are also poor. Many schools do not have accommodation, or adequate accommodation for teachers. The situation is even worse for unqualified teachers, most of whom earn between 40 and 60% of the salary of the lowest paid qualified teacher. The low salaries and terrible conditions of service have contributed to a general decline in the status of the teaching profession in all six countries. As a result, teaching has become a stepping stone or a profession of last resort in these countries. For example, in Tanzania, some teachers discourage their own children from taking up teaching as a career. There is an urgent need to improve the teachers' conditions of service in order to make the teaching profession more attractive. All the countries surveyed, except Kenya, did not have effective collective bargaining structures in place. For example, in The Gambia, the salaries of teachers and other civil servants are determined by a government commission, while in Tanzania they are usually determined by the country's political leadership. Although the study reveals that most of the unions are consulted by their governments on education policy issues, the process of engagement is not usually institutionalized.

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