A sociological analysis of teachers preparedness for retirement from the teaching service in Kabompo district of North-Western province,Zambia

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Chinyemba, Chombo
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The University of Zambia
This study was designed to analyse the preparedness of teachers for retirement in Kabompo District of North-western Province in Zambia. The study was anchored on the ‘activity’ and the ‘continuity’ psychosocial theories which describe how people develop in old age. A mixed methods approach, specifically a concurrent embedded design, was used to carry out the study. The target population comprised approximately 350 serving teachers aged 40 years and above. A sample of 162 teachers was purposively and conveniently drawn from 15 schools to participate in the study. Structured questionnaires were used to collect quantitative data from 150 participants while a focus group discussion guide was used to collect qualitative data from the two focus group discussions comprising six (6) participants each. The quantitative data were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) to generate frequencies and percentages. Cross tabulations and chi-square analysis were used to check for significant associations between the demographic factors (gender, age and education) and preparedness for retirement in the observed and expected frequencies at the significance level or alpha (α) =0.05. Qualitative data on the other hand were analysed manually and thematically. The findings of the study were that the teachers nearing retirement in Kabompo District were not prepared for retirement. Most of them indicated that they did not have alternative means of covering living expenses in retirement apart from the pension benefits. The monthly salary was the only source of income and that they could not make ends meet if a salary was no longer available. Cross tabulation of demographic factors and preparedness for retirement showed that gender and education did not have significant association with preparedness for retirement. Instead age had an association with the participants’ preparedness for retirement as the participants aged 46 -50 years old appeared to be more prepared than those above 50 years and those below 46 years old. The major challenges established included: inability to save money monthly for retirement; too many loans to service; kinship obligations; low salaries; lack of positive attitudes towards saving and investment; inadequate business knowledge and lack of vision for their future. The study thus recommended that: the government should ensure that all teachers, upon their confirmation in appointment, are entitled to a house loan so as to help them have decent accommodation before the actual retirement time; teacher unions to ensure that their teacher members are periodically educated and updated on the conditions of service and retirement policies and procedures so as to help the prospective retirees make effective retirement plans. Further, through Future Search Zambia, the government should ensure that teachers are exposed to compulsory pre retirement education aimed at equipping them with various coping skills in retirement.