The rate of teacher attrition in upper basic schools in The Gambia is said to be “accelerating annually”, according to a research finding conducted by students and academics of the University of The Gambia.
Such a development is a cause for concern as the country needs teachers to prepare our children and people, and by extension the future of our nation.
It is also of deep concern because it would be like throwing our financial resources into the ocean, wherein the government trains teachers who end up serving other sectors, industry and nations far away from us, thereby feeding the labour needs of other nations and sectors.
Such research findings as the ERNWACA-sponsored one conducted by the UTG students and academics, should be encouraged, supported and nurtured by the government and institutions in The Gambia.
This is because they help us to catch the bug, and plan how to tackle the aggravating trend of teacher attrition in our country.
The report has been really telling and it is high time we did something really serious about it, hence much is needed from the government and other concerned institutions to tackle the problems causing the aggravating teacher attrition.
“Research has shown with empirical evidence that teacher attrition at the secondary level is impacting negatively on students’ performance, thus jeopardizing the quality of education,” the report from the research states.
“Teacher quality co-relates to students’ performance, hence well trained teachers are able to effectively and efficiently deliver than the untrained teachers.”
The report also states that teachers are always leaving the profession for one reason or the other, especially in both public and grant-aided secondary schools, for greener pastures.
It is also stated that “teachers opt to develop themselves academically and or professionally within The Gambia or abroad and upon completion will never return to the profession”.
“Some have left because of meagre salaries and poor working conditions, and now work in banks or other institutions,” the report added.
These are really a cause for concern, as they gravely affect the quality of education being derived from our schools and learning institutions in the country.
The Ministry of Education, as stated in the report, is doing its best to address the problem of attrition, but it is still “inadequate”, as it seems the effort is really not tackling the causative factors of the teacher attrition in the country.
Therefore, more needs to be done; as the trend is aggravating, and worrying.
“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”
G. K. Chesterson