Influence of School Environment on Teacher Retention in Early Childhood Development Centres in Nyatike, Migori County, Kenya
Oloo, Judith Achieng’
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In this study teacher retention is considered to enlingten different stakeholders on strategies that can be adopted to retain teachers in schools. Teachers play a crucial role in education, providing instruction and guidance to ensure student-learning and holistic development.The purpose of the study was to establish the influence of school environment which includes (work conditions, benefits, management style, Professional progression) on teacher retention in Early Childhood Development Centres Nyatike Zone, in Migori County. The study was based on Bronfenbrenner´s theory of ecological development which has been one of the most applied and used theories in assessment of early childhood education. The theory proposes that a child's development is affected by their social relationships and the world around them which includes teachers. Bronfenbrenner believed that a person's development was affected by everything in their surrounding environment. The study adopted descriptive research design and was carried out in both public and private Preschools. The target population was preschool teachers teaching in Nyatike Sub-County which was used to evaluate and report the current state of ECD teacher retention. A sample of 68 respondents was selected from the study population of 206 Preschool teachers and Preschool head teachers, using cluster sampling where each ECD center was taken as a cluster. Questionnaires and interview schedules were used for data collection. A pilot study was done to establish the reliability and validity of the research instruments. Statistical Package for Social Scientistists (SPSS) was used to generate descriptive statistics and the findings was presented using tables. The study found out that teachers who were assured of their job security can also respond by giving their all in terms of what it takes to ensure conducive educational climate which is necessary for their retention in early childhood development centres. Majority of the teachers indicated that they liked teaching because they were trained to teach and therefore were satisfied with the profession. The study further established that there is a need to find ways of retaining the teachers in the proffesion as this will assist to reduce the expenses of recruiting new teachers. The study concluded that workload remains the most important factor influencing teachers’ decision to leave the profesion. In addition, teachers liked teaching because they were trained to teach, they were satisfied with the profession because that is where they were earning their living and that teaching proffesion gave them time to do other things. A sustainable working environment that fosters engagement is attractive to potential employees, best school leaders foster a culture of contious improvement, promotes professional development characterized by collaborative relationships among teachers and if this is not adhered to, will enhance teacher retention in schools. The study made the following recommendations: school administrations to be meeting regularly with teachers in their respective schools to discuss ways in which they can be successful and ways that can enhance their career progression as a motivation to stay in their schools. Recruitment of sufficient number of preschool teachers is necessary to ensure adequate in the school in the Sub-County. The County Government should also improve rewarding system for preschool teachers in order to motivate them and boost their performance.