Challenges of the new retirement age for teachers in selected government primary schools of Sioma district,Zambia

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Songiso, Mutafela
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The University of Zambia
The focus of this study was to investigate challenges of the new retirement age for teachers in selected government primary schools of Sioma district western in the part of Zambia. The study followed qualitative approach using descriptive research design in order to adequately explore the topic under investigation and ultimately give an account of the situation as it actually existed on the ground. A sample of 32 participants comprising of twenty-four class teachers and eight school managers was purposefully and conveniently drawn from four government primary schools in Sioma district. Data was collected through semi-structured questionnaires as well as interview guides. Analysis of data was done thematically where merging and emerging themes were presented in a descriptive form as findings of the study. The study found that the majority of teachers interviewed in Sioma district were not in favour of the new retirement age. Most of the participants expressed willingness to retire at the age of fifty-five so that they could get their benefits and start a new life while they were still energetic. Some participants lamented that they might not live longer to receive their benefits at the new retirement age of sixty. In addition, the study found that, there was a lot of stigma against older teachers which had affected work relationships in most schools as younger teachers accused the older ones of being fatigued and unwilling to accept change or innovation, especially technological changes in education. The younger teachers also complained about less promotions opportunities in the Ministry as the older teachers were still holding on to most senior positions. It was further reported by the majority of participants talked to that, accommodation in rural schools had become a great challenge for teachers because some of the houses were still occupied by older teachers who could have retired two/three years ago had it not been for the adjustments in the retirement age. Lastly, the study found that there were administrative lacunars in most sampled schools for example older school managers exhibited poor work attitude and attempted to run schools as their own personal institutions. Therefore, the study recommended that the Zambian government should revise the new retirement age to provide for two options only; 55 years normal and 60 years late retirement and that the Ministry of General Education should introduce performance based salaries.
New retirement age--Teachers--Zambia , Retired teachers--Zambia