An investigation into the pull and push factors of teacher transfer in rural areas: a case of Isoka district of Muchinga province.

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Sichilima, Malango Ginno
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The University of Zambia
Many teachers are skeptical being posted to rural schools in Zambia because they are not willing to serve in rural areas. This refusal denies rural areas of teachers who could teach learners and provide early stimulation thereby setting a strong base on which later instruction could be based. It is clear that there are factors that push and pull teachers to and away from rural schools. To understand the pull factors that could motivate teachers to accept to live and work in rural areas, and the push factors that could influence teachers to transfer from rural to urban schools, Survey design was adopted targeting 81 teachers and 10 head teachers drawn from Isoka district using both systematic random sampling technique and purposive sampling. Data was collected using questionnaires and analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistical methods. Findings from these rural schools revealed that job/personal/property security, early release of teachers for study leave, respect and recognition for teachers, and the peaceful rural environment are the major pull factors that motivate teachers in rural district of Isoka to stay. However, compromised job/personal/property security, and lack of additional sources of income are significant push factors that threaten retention of teachers in these schools. It is hoped that rural posting would be attractive to teachers in Zambia if the government improves further the living and working conditions of teachers in rural areas, and implements the 20% of basic salary rural and remote allowance recommended by the collective agreement of 2018. However, poor staff and lack motivation were also contributing to the desire to move to other schools together with increasing workload especially experienced when a teacher left the school. Teacher transfers increased the Workload for the remaining staff as replacements were not done immediately and when they did eventually come very late, their suitability was in doubt. This compromised the quality of education and at times prompted the students to complain to the management when they found it hard to cope with the replacement. It was therefore recommended that; the District Education Office in the area needs to be considerate during teacher deployment and placement so as to suitably place teachers where they can be most productive and settled to avoid transfers. The school management approaches to staff- management conflicts need to be improved to check growing teacher frustrations and desire to leave the Schools; there is need for more information sharing among the stakeholders on the developments in teacher retention and transfer requests by schools so that the suitable can be made in good time. It is further recommended that more research should be done on; the impact of devolved government’s policies on teacher mobility and; the effect of School Management Committee structure on provision of quality education in secondary schools.
Teachers--Zambia. , Teacher transfers.