Collins Oliver Ariko and Enose M.W. Simatwa
High rate of teacher mobility impacts negatively on school improvement efforts for it disrupts the stability and continuity of teaching. Therefore, the Kenya government is committed to staffing all public schools with teachers and reducing teacher transfers by offering enhanced salaries and allowances. Suba district is one of those districts where hardship allowances are offered to teachers. A bonding policy which restricts newly recruited teachers from transferring before the end of five years has also been put in place since 2001. Despite these measures, secondary school teacher transfer requests in Suba District had been the highest at about 16.5% while national average teacher transfer requests were estimated at 10.9%. For instance, out of the 38 newly recruited secondary school teachers since 2001 whose bonding period had not elapsed, 26% of them had already applied for transfers by December 2005. These figures were high and above the national annual average of 5% (2,000 out of 40,000 post-primary teachers) transfer requests. Therefore, this study investigated the factors that influenced secondary school teacher transfer requests in Suba District. The study employed a descriptive survey design. The socioeconomic and environmental factors linked to teacher transfer requests included accessibility, location of schools, availability of opportunities for further studies, electricity as well as housing. Teacher-related variables included teachers’ family ties, teachers’ background, and teachers’ age. Factors associated with students included students’ rural catchment area, class sizes and students’ socio-economic backgrounds. Management factors encompassed availability of opportunities for teacher promotion due to less professional contact and support, opportunities for teacher recognition, collegial treatment and availability of induction or mentoring programs. The findings of the study are significant in that they exposed the problems that hindered teacher retention in Suba District secondary schools.
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