Teacher employability and prospects in Chipata compound of Lusaka, Zambia: exploring lived voices of unemployed teacher graduates.

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Mugabe, Tendai
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The University of Zambia
Since the statistics on employment constitute one of the yardsticks in determining how well an economy is fairing, it is not surprising that tackling unemployment is a topmost agenda item for most countries, including Zambia. However, despite government’s renewed focus in tackling the problem in Zambia, teacher employability has been on an upward trend and is now much higher than that of other professions. While one can appreciate the magnitude of teacher unemployment in Zambia due to the publication of various statistics, it is however worrying that most research that has been conducted on this phenomenon has ignored the lived voices of unemployed teacher graduates. This study explored the lived voices of unemployed teacher graduates teacher in Chipata Compound of Lusaka Zambia .The unemployed teacher graduates from Chipata compound where selected using purposive and snowball sampling and structured interview, schedule was used to obtain qualitative data from twelve of them. Meanwhile, Tesch’s eight-step approach for data analysis was employed. Data collected from semi-structured interviews was analysed using themes so as to easily interpret and understand the essence of the data. The study was qualitative and used phenomenological research design. From the findings of the study, most participants revealed that investing in education is perceived to increase employability in that an individual with greater knowledge and skills will be more productive in competitive labour markets than one with less human capital. The findings also showed that educational training provides substantial returns to individuals and, as individual returns are aggregated throughout a community, also creates broad social benefits perceived far more cost-effective than paying for the social consequences of under-funded low quality education. The study also established that, teacher employability has negatively impacted the teachers due to the fact that there is lack of employment hence the unemployed teacher graduates develop copping strategies in order to remain resilient to unemployment. The study further established that teacher graduates employability is likely to have long-term effects on employment prospects and wages in the near future. The study recommended that, there is need to initiate programmes to upgrade the knowledge and skills to actualize the unemployed teacher graduates’ entrepreneurial aspirations, Additionally, promotion of merit based job recruitment processes to enhance employability and empower unemployed teacher graduates so that they can engage in small scale businesses.
Graduate teachers. , Professional education.