Working conditions in Zambia rural schools and their impact on teacher motivation: a case of Chienge district in Luapula province.
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This report presents the scenario of the working conditions in Zambian rural schools and their impact on teacher motivation: a case of Chienge district in Luapula province. The objectives of this study were; to find out the availability and suitability of infrastructure of the rural schools in Chienge so as to determine their conduciveness for teachers and learners, to establish the availability of teaching and learning materials in rural schools in Chienge so as to determine the effectiveness of teaching and learning and also to find out the general trend in working conditions among rural school teachers of Chienge district so as to determine the level of motivation of the teachers working in the district. The approach that guided this study was qualitative, with a descriptive survey design, this study also adopted the non-probability sampling technique and the research Instruments of data collection used were interview guide and semi-structured questionnaires and data was analyzed using systematic coding. The findings from other literature indicates that, teachers working conditions affect their ability to provide quality education (Rasheed, 2000). A good number of teachers working in rural areas are subjected to very poor working conditions this is the reason why in Africa, deployment to a rural area is not preferred among trainee teachers. As noted by Adedeji and Olaniyan (2011:57), “In many African countries, most trainee teachers express a strong preference for urban postings. This has been attributed mainly to the deplorable quality of life in the rural areas as compared to life in urban areas.” In Zambia, the flagging working conditions for teachers in rural areas have been noted. According to Mwansa, (2016), the deteriorating working conditions include poor school infrastructure and teacher accommodation; inadequate teaching and learning materials; and a Pupil- Teacher Ratio of 120 or more. With regard to the deteriorating working conditions for teachers, Chienge district could be among the worst affected because the poor working conditions for rural school teachers in Chienge are coupled with “the deplorable quality of life in the whole district” (Joseph, 2016) and these are exacerbated by the generally poor salaries and conditions of service for the teachers in Zambia. Consequently, most teachers are not happy to work in Chienge district and this is apparently having a negative effect on teacher deployment and retention in the district. A good number of them have been seeking transfers from this district and this is an assurance of a devastating impact on learner performance in the long run. The findings indicate that salary, work conditions, incentives, medical allowance, security, recognition, advancement growth, pupils’ indiscipline, school policy and status are the most important factors of motivation to teachers that could enhance, retain or cause them to leave, and also the general perception of inequity among teachers when they compared themselves with their colleagues with the same qualifications, experience and responsibilities (Seniwoliba, 2009). In the absence of the highlighted factors, therefore, motivation levels of teachers especially those in rural areas diminish thereby impacting negatively on teacher performance and ultimately learner performance.
The University of Zambia