1.1 Background to the study.
Employee turnover has come to gain great attention all over the world, in various industries. Organizations have faced this problem at some stage of their evolution. Employers therefore take a deep interest in their employee turnover rate because it is a costly part of doing business.
Teacher turnover is a global challenge and, by its very nature, is an extremely complex phenomenon. It is frequently positioned as either a problem for workforce planning and resources, or as an indicator of the relatively poor quality of schooling and teacher morale. Consequently it has become increasingly important in debates about the teaching profession globally. Teacher turnover reduces the quantity of teachers available to schools, potentially exacerbating localized teacher shortages.
1.1.1 Global perspective
Herbert and Ramsay, (2004) reveal that there are numerous reports of high teacher turnover in several developed countries such as United States of America. According to Ingersoll (2002) in the USA, teacher shortages as a result of turnover are widely reported in many states. In addition Hanushek,(2004) reports that between 16 to 20% of all teachers choose to leave the school in which they are teaching that year in the USA.
According to Ingersoll (2002), numerous research reports for example Schools and Staffing Survey, Teacher Follow-up Survey National Center for Education Statistics, Center for American Progress, U.S. Department of Education, and National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future have documented that the United States is at the peak of a severe teacher shortage.
According to the National Center for Education Information, the nation will require hiring about 2.2 million teachers in the next decade. A common response by policymakers to the probability of a teacher shortage is to increase the supply of teachers by implementing hiring initiatives. Though these recruitment efforts may be worthwhile, they will not solve the teacher staffing problems that some schools face. Herbert and Ramsay, (2004) claim that it is for this reason, that teacher retention has been identified as a national crisis there.
In Britain teacher turnover is reported as a national crisis. Santiago ; Mackenzie (2005) also reveals that the situation is worsening in Sweden, Germany and New Zealand as far as teacher turnover is concerned.
1.1.2 Regional perspective
In the developing countries the problem is comparatively serious. Reports in countries such as South Africa, Zambia, New Guinea and Malawi indicated that the problem had almost reached a catastrophic stage (Xaba, 2003). In most of these African countries, the phenomenon of teacher turnover is associated with the HIV/AIDS epidemic, especially in sub-Saharan countries like Zambia, Nigeria, Kenya, Central African Republic and South Africa as reported by Coombe, (2002).
The president of the Gambian Teachers’ union reports a massive exit of teachers from the profession due to amongst other reasons, a lack of adequate salaries, allowances, housing and promotion (Xaba, 2003).In South Africa for example, concerns of teacher turnover are strongly articulated due to the adverse effects it has on the education provision. The situation regarding teacher turnover and attrition in South Africa seems complex for example, Coombe (2002) reports that many vacant teaching posts are not filled instead there is employment of temporary teachers. This non-filling of permanent posts point to teacher shortages in that country.
In a recent study conducted in South Africa by the Human Sciences Research Council for the Education Labour Relations Council in 2005, it was found that 55% of teachers would leave teaching if they could. The 3 reasons cited for this included workload stress, low salaries, lack of discipline in schools and lack of career advancement. Ingersoll (2001) further reveals that many teachers are reportedly leaving the profession for greener financial pastures. Zimbabwe is reported to have lost very many newly -qualified teachers who may have left for greener pastures.
The problem of teacher turnover in Malawi is also reported to be overwhelming as compared to other developing countries (Xaba, 2003).
1.1.3 Kenyan Perspective
In Kenya, concerns about teacher shortages are strongly articulated. To some extent it is also a result of turnover of teachers amongst other reasons. Teacher’s turnover manifests in many ways and is attributed to many causes. It is therefore imperative that the education system takes cognizance of this and taken steps to address this situation proactively before it reaches critical proportions. This study therefore will investigate effect of psychological contract attributes on turnover of public secondary school teachers in Kajiado County in Kenya.
1.1.4 Psychological contract
According to Guest (2007), a psychological contract is concerned with the perceptions of both parties to the employment relationship, organization and individual, of the reciprocal promises and obligations implied in that relationship. . It is the beliefs based upon promise expressed or implied regarding an exchange agreement between an individual and, in organizations, the employing firms and its agents. These beliefs transcend the written and explicit provisions of the formal employment contract (Rousseau, 2004).
Beardwell (2007) observes that psychological contract is somewhat concerned with an individual’s subjective beliefs, shaped by the organization, regarding the terms of an exchange relationship between the individual employee and the organization It is subjective, unwritten and often not discussed or negotiated, it goes beyond any formal contract of employment. The psychological contract is promise based, and overtime assumes the form of mental schema or models which like most schemas is relatively stable and durable.
Psychological contract violation refers to the emotional and affective state following the belief that the organization has failed to fulfil the psychological contract. These include feelings of frustration, anger, and betrayal (Robinson & Morrison, 2000). Breach and violation are correlated but previous studies have shown statistical evidence for the conceptual distinction (Robinson & Morrison, 2000; Zhao et al., 2007). Contract breach and violation both have a negative influence on the work process. These negative influences can result in an increase of the number of leaving employees, a higher staff absence and a reduced loyalty to the organization (Turnley & Feldman, 2000).
1.1.5 Public Secondary Schools
Analyses of the costs associated with employees? turnover are quite high and the process for replacement is time consuming. This in turn affects the overall productivity. Trevor (2001) states that the cost of employee turnover to organizations has been estimated to be up to 150% of the employee remuneration pack.
In addition to the above costs, if an organization has made significant investment in training and development of its employees, that investment is lost when employees leave. Moreover excessive turnover can also impact the morale of employees and the organization’s reputation as being a good place to work which makes retention and recruitment more challenging and time consuming. High rate of teachers’ turnover has negatively impacted the provision of education services in public high schools. According to Loeb, Darling-Hammond, & Luczak (2005) excessive teacher turnover can be costly and detrimental to instructional cohesion in schools.
When a teacher quits teaching, TSC, the employer of teachers in public schools, must source for replacement through alaborious exercise that starts with advertising to invite applications from qualified persons.The Board of governors then conducts interviews with an aim of sourcing for the most suitable person to fill the vacancy. This is not only time consuming but also leaves provision of education services in jeopardy before final appointment is made of the successful new teacher.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
Within the education sector in Kenya, teacher turnover in public secondary schools has become a rising problem, creating a shortage of qualified teachers, which should be addressed if quality education is to be provided for all children (UNESCO 2003). Excellence in education requires that qualified teachers be recruited and retained. According to a report by the World Bank (2002), at least one teacher per day is driven out of classroom by low salary.
Despite efforts by the Kenya government to train more teachers, the shortage of teachers remains a problem . Teachers are leaving the profession to take up non-teaching employment. Oyaro (2008), quoting data from Kenya National Union of KNUT, reported that between January and June 2008, six hundred teachers had left classrooms in Kenyan schools for better paying jobs elsewhere. That is about three teachers leaving the service every day.
In addition, Khatri, Fern and Budhwar, (2001) assert that high turnover has been found to be a major source of poor morale among employees in many organizations. Since, long-term retention of a highly productive workforce is coveted, a major goal of human resources is to attract and maintain highly productive employees. It is therefore imperative for human resources to better understand how to maximize the retention of productive employees through the analysis of the antecedents of organizational withdrawal decisions. It is for these reasons, that teachers’ turnover is a critical issue that needed to be looked into.
According to statistics at Kajiado TSC unit the rate of teacher turnover rose from 12% in 2010 to 15% in 2011. In 2012, the turnover rate was 20% therefore portraying a worrying trend. Therefore, identifying the factors influencing the high rate of teacher turnover was instrumental in efforts geared towards addressing the problem.
While substantial research literature has documented the phenomenon of teacher turnover in many parts of the world, far less research effort has gone into understanding the psychological contract attributes effect on employee turnover in public secondary schools in Kajiado County.