Background to the Study
Education in Nigeria is more of a public enterprise that has witnessed government complete and dynamic intervention and active participation (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2014). It is the view of the formulated education policy in Nigeria to use education as a vehicle in achieving national development. Education being an instrument of change, in Nigeria education policy has been a product of evolution through series of historical developments. The National Policy on Education in Nigeria was launched in 1977. The orientation of the policy is geared towards self-realization, individual and national efficiency, national unity etc. aimed at achieving social, cultural, economic, political, scientific and technological development. In 1985, the objectives of the policy were broadened to include free primary education among others. As noted by Anyanwu, (1999), this policy has been reviewed from time to time.
Until 1984, the structure of Nigeria education system was 6 years of primary schools, 5 to 7 years of post primary schools (Secondary, Teacher Training College and sixth form) and 4 to 6 yrs of tertiary education (College of education, polytechnics, College of Technology and University education). From 1985, the structure that emanated can be classified thus, pre-primary or kindergarten education (2 to 3 yrs), for the children of ages 3 to5 years the primary school which is of 6 years period for children of ages 6 to 11 yrs, the post primary education which is of 6 years duration but divided into two halves (3 years of Junior Secondary School and 3 years of Senior Secondary School) and the 4 to 6 of tertiary education level. This is called the 6-3-3-4 system of Education, (Anyanwu, 1999). Since the inception of the Obasanjo led administration in 1999, a Universal Basic Education Scheme was launched in 1999. The specific targets of the scheme are, total eradication of illiteracy by the year 2010 and increase in adult literacy rate from 57% to 70% by 2003 (FRN, 2010).
All over the world, educational system is confronted with different challenges. The challenges confronting the developed countries differ from the ones confronting the developing countries. However, for these challenges, there are expectedly coping strategies in order to minimize the possible effects. Coping strategies are measures tried out to ensure the situation is improved upon. Coping strategies are the methods employed by individuals, groups, organisations, institutions or establishments with the intent of managing situations; even though it bothers on heads, leaders, managers or administrators’ situation, crisis or contingency management skills. Considering teacher shortage, coping strategies involves the school administrators’ ability to apply suitable methods to control the problems in the school. According to Subair (2011), coping strategies in schools is any measure undertaken by school administrators to ensure adequate service delivery in the face of any challenge such as teacher attrition, interpersonal and intergroup relations, disciplinary problems, school – community crisis and the likes. He stressed further that the central task of institutional management is to recognize the present conditions, inadequacy that point to the desirability of change and taking appropriate actions even when such moves are not the best. It involves taking such policy measures that will direct future development towards more desirable ends. For the fact that teachers could be very mobile, there is always a constant need for school head to adopt measures that will make their schools stand out among other equals, he remarked.
With the current awareness on the importance of education for national development, the sector is greatly expanding and is growing from strength to strength, thereby becoming one of the greatest social services for almost every nation in the world (Salahu & Aminu 2010). The rapid growth in education can be seen practically in the huge resources invested in the sector, the ever-multiplying schools, the student’s enrolment and the increasing number of staff. This development has added to the complex nature of educational organizations in general and the school system in particular which requires effective and committed teaching staff who will handle the situation. Developing nations of Africa were not left behind on teacher attrition. In Ghana, about 33,185 teachers abandoned their teaching position to seek for other jobs (Business News 2013). The rate of attrition is minimal in the south western part of Nigeria with about 10% of teachers living their profession to other jobs within the first five years of entering into teaching (Okundayo 2010). This project is similar to that of Arikewuyo, (2009) who affirmed that, teacher attrition is less in the South and Western part of Nigeria which fall within the range of 10-15%. But the rate of attrition is high in the northern part of Nigeria probably because the low level of education and the job opportunities compared to the Southern part of the country. Adamu (2010) described the level of attrition to about 20% in some parts of the Northern Nigeria. This assertion was supported by Fati, (2010) who reported that, over 10% of teachers leave teaching profession to better jobs within their first three years.
Teacher attrition has always been a problem in the education system the world over. Azuka, (2013) defined teacher attrition as “teachers leaving the classroom to take up other professional responsibilities, inside or outside of education, or to spend more time with their families”. Teachers are always leaving the profession for one reason or the other, especially in the public schools. Thus, recruiting and retaining teachers for the Universal Basic Education (UBE) poses a challenge for educational planners. It is therefore pertinent to identify the causes of teacher attrition in secondary schools in Nigeria and proffer possible solutions to stemming the tide. Buckley, (2014) propose that there are three factors that affect teacher attrition. These are, teacher, school and community factors. Teacher factors include wage, idealism and teacher preparation courses; school factors are working conditions, organizational factors, lack of resources and accountability while community factors have to do with government policy, budgeting policy, public, stereotypical thought about hours and mandate that has legislated for quality teachers only. Smith, (2012) holds that apart from Poland, all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries face the problem of staffing as a result of retirement and resignation. This paper therefore examines the theoretical explanations why teacher attrition occur, various reasons why people leave the teaching profession and suggestions as to how to stop teacher attrition in order to ensure the success of the UBE in a developing economy like Nigeria.
According to Obanya, (2008). Human capital is the benefit a person receives from a career. Human capital can be generic or specific. It is generic when it can be transferred to other job situations while specific human capital is that which is acquired to do a specific job. Thus, the more generic human capital people acquire, the more the possibility of their leaving for other jobs because they can transfer the acquired skills to other job situations. The higher the specific human capital a person acquires, the less the possibility of leaving the job. Teachers who acquire generic human capital are more likely to leave teaching for other jobs while those who acquire high level of specific human capital tend to stay in the teaching profession since their skill is only specific to teaching.
In support of Grissmer and Kirby, Billingsley and Cross (2013) report that certain aspects of the school environment make teachers to leave their jobs. Lack of administrative support, lack of collegial and parental support and insufficient involvement in decision making may make teachers to leave their jobs. Gonzalez (2005) also found in his studies that many disposition and work environment elements combined to influence teacher attrition. The dispositional factors that were most common among teachers who left teaching were youth, being female high scores on teacher exam(s), mid to upper social economic status (SES), little experience, low level of commitment to teaching and ineffective strategies. The environmental factor that make teachers to leave their jobs were high school teaching assignment, large class size or caseload or both, unsupportive administrator, excessive paper work, ambiguous or conflicting role demands, few job rewards and lack of decision making opportunities.
Kirby and Grissmer (2013) are of the opinion that individuals make a systematic assessment of the net monetary and non-monetary benefits from different occupations. People will definitely go for jobs that give them the highest monetary benefit, and teaching maybe their least option. Stinebricker (2012) found that large amount of teacher attrition was directly related to changes in a teacher’s family situation in which childbirth was a major cause rather than the commonly portrayed scenario in which a teacher is lured away from teaching by the attractiveness of a non-teaching job. Most women will stay on the job if they have access to house helps. Based on the controversies, the research therefore intends to investigate the influence of teacher attrition rate on the quality secondary school Education.
Statement of the Problem
Teacher attrition has always been a problem in the education system the world over. This is because there have never been enough teachers to meet the demands of the ever increasing number of students and pupils especially in Nigeria. Teachers are always leaving the profession for one reason or the other, especially in the public schools. Thus, recruiting and retaining teachers for the Universal Basic Education (UBE) poses a challenge for educational planners.
The problems facing these studies are; Poor conditions of service, irregular payment of teachers salaries and allowances, incessant strike action by teachers to press for one demand or the other. These problems lead to high rate of teacher attrition. The problem of teacher retention and attrition is centered on teacher remuneration.
In addition to the economic problem of teachers centre mainly around conditions of service and salary structures, disparity in pay, late arrival of salary, non or late payment by allowances. For the success of the Universal Basic Education, there must be formidable high quality human resources. And also identified inadequate number of qualified teachers, irregular payment of teachers salaries and teachers dissatisfaction with their conditions of service as the obstacle to effective implementation of the Universal Basic Education in Nigeria.
Purpose of the Study
The general objective of this study is to examine the influence of teacher attrition rate on the quality secondary school Education in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State. The specific objectives of this study are to: