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Education plays a very important role in producing human resources for all countries around the world. A country can become well developed based significantly on the quality of human resources and this can be achieved through conducting education. Cambodia is one of the countries in the world which need a good education system to produce qualified human resources for developing the country. The education system in Cambodia is divided into four levels, Pre-School Education, Primary Education, Secondary Education (lower and upper), and Higher Education (UNESCO, 2008). The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has set the goal to help children get basic education to at least grade nine. After completing grade 9, students can either go to upper secondary schools or secondary vocational training program provided by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MOLVT). After completing upper secondary school, students can either enter vocational training or universities (UNESCO, 2008).
Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) plays a vital role in the socio-economic development of any nation. The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) is committed to economic and social development as a priority. The 'Rectangular Strategy', the approved national economic development framework, and the more detailed 5 years National Strategic Development Plan 2006 - 2010 are committed to skills development. Cambodia will achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of Poverty and Starvation Reduction, Enhancing Gender Equity and Creation of Globalization Partnership for Development partly through a responsive and better quality training system. For growth, employment, equity and efficiency the RGC is committed to strengthening the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector, (NSDP, 2006 - 2010).
To achieve this commitment, the RGC mandated the establishment of a new ministry, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (MOLVT), in 2004. Within the ministry the Directorate General of TVET (DGTVET) was established and under this sits the National Training Board (NTB) with a mission to ensure that Cambodia meets its economic and development goals through an industry driven, quality TVET system, (National TVET Development Plan, 2008).
A key strategy to achieve quality effective TVET and competency based curriculum and training is designation one of the TVET teacher education institute, operating under the Directorate General, TVET, as a Lead Institute and a Centre for Excellence for TVET teacher training in Cambodia. That institute is responsible for VET Teacher Training and Development for teachers servicing both the Regional and Provincial Training Centers in throughout the country, (National TVET Development Plan, 2008).
There are 38 TVET institutions run by Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MOLVT) in Cambodia and those institutions are separated as Provincial Training Centers (PTCs), Regional Training Centers (RTCs), and TVET institutes, (National TVET Development Plan, 2008). TVET teachers education are trained by a TVET institutions under the umbrella of MOLVT and it is the only institution which has the main duty to train TVET teachers both Senior and Junior level for all of the 38 TVET institutions throughout the country. Since 2005, the MOLVT has set the policy to recruit three 300 of TVET teacher trainees every year, (National TVET Development Plan, 2008).
1.2 Problem statement
A study conducted by Nock and Bishop (2008) showed the major causes of Cambodian teacher dissatisfaction such as low salary, corruption/nepotism, poor leadership, poor living conditions, students behavior, and working environment. The same study revealed that 99% of the respondents said that they could not survive on their salary and this trouble caused 93% of them to hold a second job. Moreover, other studies in Cambodia also found out the increasing disrespect from society toward teachers in public schools (CITA, 2010). MoEYS (2010b) admitted that many teachers have left their teaching positions, transferred to new jobs, and reached the retirement age. The problems also occur in MOLVT. These studies above did not specify the problems in TVET but they outlined the common problems happening in the Cambodian education environment.
In addition to the matters mentioned above, it is widely accepted that TVET is a very poor sector in Cambodia and it is often considered as the second choice to all people including students, (ADB, 2009). TVET is a newly established institution which just started developing in 2004, the year that MOLVT was established. The enrollment rate in TVET is very low if compared to academic education, (ADB, 2009). Moreover, the leadership, teaching facilities, and especially human resources are in the bad condition, (ADB, 2009). Yet, there are many graduates who come and apply for the entrance examination to be a TVET teacher at a TVET teacher education institute in Phnom Penh. Based on my job, I am able to get the data from administration office and I see that, usually the number of applicants who applied for the entrance examination always far exceeds the number of recruits. For example, in the academic year 2012 - 2013, there are more than 1,800 candidates have applied for the entrance examination while MOLVT recruits only 300 of teacher trainees. Given the comparatively low status of TVET, it is unclear why there are so many graduates enter the entrance examination to become a TVET teacher.
1.3 Research Question
To pass the entrance examination at the TVET teacher education institute is not easy. Yet, there are some trainees who drop out from this training program when they have another choice or better job opportunity. Thus, this research is basically aimed at finding out the main motivation factors that encourage trainees wanting to become a teacher in the TVET sector. The specific question that the study seeks to answer is:
"What are the motivating factors of university graduates who have entered the technical teacher training institution in regard to their choice of a technical vocational education and training teacher career?"
1.4 Significance of the research
This study will be useful in some areas as following. First, this study will contribute to decision makers or policy maker when recruiting TVET teacher trainees. These people will have some basic findings from this research so that they will be able to make good decisions when planning TVET teacher training. If TVET planners understand teacher motivation, they will be able to address any weaknesses in that motivation. Second, through understanding teacher motivation, this research helps to retain teachers in TVET teaching. Last, but not least, the study will contribute to the present literature on TVET teacher training sector, a sector in which virtually no research has been done on TVET teachers.
By using the search engine Google Scholar and the James Cook University Library search engine with key terms including: Teacher motivations, Motivation to become teachers, Motivations to become TVET teachers, and perceptions of university graduates toward TVET teachers career, I have found and downloaded many valuable materials for my literature review related to my topic. Those materials give an overview on my topic, and they work as a basis of knowledge to support the literature review.
The international context
A number of studies have been conducted in many countries throughout the world over the last 20 years exploring the motivation of those who decide to become school teachers (Kyriacou & Coulthard, 2000). Such studies indicate that the main reasons for choosing teaching as a career fall into three main areas. First, altruistic reasons: these reasons deal with seeing teaching as a socially worthwhile and important job, the aspiration to get children successful, and the aspiration to make society developed as we can see that many people wish to share their knowledge and expertise to other people in order to provide the subject matter to their community. Second, instrinsic reasons: these reasons covers aspects of the job activity itself, such as teaching children activities, and the willingness to use their subject matter knowledge and expertise in which 95% of students in this study rated that they find the job enjoyable as very important factor in choosing teaching career. Third, extrinsic reasons: these reasons cover aspects of the job which are not inherent in the work itself, such as long holidays, level of pay, and status as there are many people choose teacher career for their own benefit such as good payment, for journey, or for pleasure. The results of such studies have received particular attention because of the recruitment crisis facing many countries in attracting people of sufficient quality into the teaching (Kyriacou & Coulthard, 2000).
Kyriacou, Hultgren, and Stephens (1999) argued similar reasons to what is mentioned in the paragraph above. In this study, 105 student teachers in Stavanger College School of Teachers' Education, Norway, and 112 student teachers in University of York, United Kingdom, were asked to complete the questionnaire at the beginning of their teacher training course. They revealed the result that both groups of student teachers reported that their choices came from being strongly influenced by enjoying the subject they would teach, wanting to work with children, the fact that teacher career would give them chances to use their subject, and long holidays as well as social hours.
DeLong (1987) conducted a study about "Teachers and Their Careers: Why Do They Choose Teaching?" in Brigham Young University, Provo, by randomly selected 139 elementary and secondary teachers to participate in the study. The result found some similar reasons to the above paragraph why people choose their career in teaching as following: most people rated 'I like working with children/youth' the most follow by 'I like to help others learn and develop', next is 'it fulfills a need of mine to feel useful/contributing', and then 'I like the hours and vacations', least rated one is 'It's a profession that also allows me time to pursue other jobs or business' and 'I like money'. The study also stated about the influences on teachers' acceptance of first teaching jobs such as geographical location, teach my area of expertise, just needed a job, job satisfaction, good administration/bosses, long-range security, a chance to be creative, good physical environment, benefits, autonomy, and advancement into school administration. The result of this study suggests that teachers go into teaching for very different reasons and are influenced in different ways to choose teaching as career.
Ebru (2012) surveyed 974 Turkish pre-service teachers to examine their perceptions about the teaching profession and to seek for reason for choosing teaching as a career. The results showed that the motivation for choosing teaching that was highest rated was the "social utility value" of the teaching profession such as contribution to social, shaping the future for children or adolescents, enhancing social equity, etc. Another motivation was Personal utility value of teaching profession, for example, time for family, job transferability, and job security. Also, the following most rated motivation was the prior teaching and learning experiences. Most of the participation in this study also listed their personal abilities and skills as a major reason to choose teaching and "work with children or adolescents" was the following most frequently mentioned motivation of the participants.
Berger and D' Ascoli conducted a study about "Motivations to Become Vocational Education and Training Educators: A Person-Oriented Approach" and they argued some similar to what is discussed above. 605 in-service VET educators in Switzerland were surveyed and the results revealed that the most important for choosing a career as VET educator are intrinsic career value, perceived teaching ability, personal utility value, and opportunity. These results showed quite the same study results in general education.
The Cambodian context
The study by Nock and Bishop (2008) about the teacher motivation in Cambodia has stated the most common reasons why people want to go to teaching are: a strong interest in the job, a desire to help Cambodia's development by improving education, and because of they enjoy contact with children. However, some teachers said that they were influenced by their family, had no other job opportunity, and chose teaching to avoid conscription into the army. These three reasons seem to be contrasted with all the literature discussed above. The study went further to discuss about the characteristics of a motivated teacher are as following. First, they have good relationship and communication with students with a happy and pleasant personality. Second, they focused on and committed to the job by hardworking, punctual, conscientious, and confident, with a serious attitude. Third, they obey the rules and always have a good working environment in the classroom and always maintain good student attendance. Fourth, they are skillful and willing to motivating student learning and achieving good results. Fifth, they behave in a normal way and appropriately. Sixth, they have a good lesson preparation and are flexible when it is used. Seventh, they have good relationship with other members and always share each other the useful resource. Eighth, they are creative in teaching by using visual aids and classroom display. Last, but not least, they take students on field trips, teach students about Khmer culture, and making improvements in the school environment.
In summary, most previous studies have shown the most common motivation factors that encourage individual in choosing teaching career. Those factors included: the desire to work with children and young people; the willingness to make the society developed, wanting chances to use their creative talent; and the belief that teaching is a well-paid job with respectful from other people. Moreover, many teachers also claimed that they like teaching career and they teaching is an enjoyable job. However, some teacher also stated that they were influenced by their family to be a teacher, they have no other better jobs, and to avoid to be conscripted into army in some political crisis society, (Nock & Bishop, 2008).
To conduct this research plan, qualitative approaches will be used. Ary, Jacobs, and Sorensen (2010) describe the purpose of qualitative research as being to contextualize findings, interpret behavior and intention, or to understand perspectives. Qualitative research is used to examine individuals, families, and a variety of group, organizations, industries, and more (Ary, Jacobs & Sorensen, 2010). Lodico, Spaulding and Voegtle (2010) describe qualitative researchers focus on the study of social phenomena and on giving voice to the feeling and perceptions of the participants under study. Gay, Mills and Airasian (2009) stated that "Qualitative research is the collection, analysis, and interpretation of comprehensive narrative and visual (i.e, nonnumerical) data to gain insight into a particular phenomenon of interest" (p.7).
The study will have several strengths. The researcher has a good network or access to the target institute. Thus, the researcher will be able to collect the necessary information that might be needed in the study. With this facilitation, the researcher will be able to randomly identify teacher trainees in the field of agriculture and engineering. This will help the researcher collect reliable data.
However, this study will be limited by three factors. First, it will be a case study only, which will be conducted in only one medium-sized TVET teacher training institute in Phnom Penh. Second, the study will target only 60 teacher trainees from agriculture and engineering group. Thus, the findings will not be generalizable to other teacher trainees in business fields. Moreover, the finding might not good enough due to the sample size is not large. Finally, the sample selection of this study might not ensure completely reliable findings.
In this sense, researchers, scholars, and students, conducting researches from these findings should be careful about making generalizations from this study. However, these findings will definitely offer the foundation for other research on TVET education institutions in Cambodia in which no research has been conducted in this field yet.
Tools/instruments for data gathering
Since the concept of factors influencing university graduates' decision to study at a TVET teacher education institute are complex and qualitative in nature, the researcher will use a survey questionnaire and interviews as the main qualitative data collection methods. Moreover, since there several different areas that trainee teachers being trained, the researcher will divide the participants and interviews into two main categories: agriculture and engineering.
Both primary and secondary data will be collected. The extensive secondary data needs to be consulted first. This includes various documents, publications, books, and documents from the internet. After the secondary data has been collected, the primary data research will be done through a guided questionnaire survey. The questionnaire will be administered mainly to trainee teachers in a TVET teacher training institute. The obtained information will become a framework for data analysis and interpretation.
Site, population, sample size and sampling method
The study will be conducted at a TVET teacher training institute. The population of study consists of TVET teacher trainees, students who are being trained to become teachers. In qualitative approach, the data collection should include the purposeful sampling approach and data collection form such as observations, interviews, documents, etc., (Creswell, 2009). Therefore, the sample will be made up of sixty respondents selected using the purposive sampling technique. The sample includes thirty participants from agriculture group, and thirty participants from engineering group. The teacher trainees will be selected from the twelfth Cohort at a TVET teacher training program at a TVET teacher education which is being trained in the academic year, 2012- 2013. Three hundreds of TVET teacher trainees are recruited and trained every year and all teacher trainees are divided into different classes based on their major skills. Thirty teacher trainees will be randomly selected from each class base on their areas of study, where they come from, and the ages so as to ensure the research is representative. Then, the selected respondents will be politely asked to fill in the questionnaires and six of them will be selected to be interviewed.
Data collecting procedures
Data will be collected from a TVET teacher education institute, referred as Institute A, in Phnom Penh by means of two main categories of survey questionnaire and interview, targeting 30 in agriculture majors and 30 in engineering majors.
The researcher will explain about the purpose of research to all groups of teacher trainees and randomly select 60 of them in the field of agriculture and engineering. All selected teacher trainees will be asked to complete a survey form with some multiple choices questions and open-ended questions. The questions focus on the motivation factors or reasons why they have chosen TVET as their career. For example, what were the two main reasons why you have chosen a career in TVET? Who influence your decision to become a TVET teacher? There will be some more questions about their background.
To ensure success in the expected research plan and anticipate possible difficulties, the researcher will conduct a pilot study prior to the actual research. The researcher will select six teacher trainees randomly to answer the questions in the questionnaire. After they have answered all the questions, the researcher will learn if the teacher trainees understand the questions and are able to completely finish all the questions in a set period of time. The researcher will make any necessary changes if he/she finds any misunderstand questions to fit with the actual situation and also to ensure the expected result in the actual study.
The researcher will non-randomly select three trainee teachers from each group, agriculture and engineering. The students will be asked about what factors influenced their decision to study at the TVET teacher education institute and what expectations they are holding from their study after their graduation and go to the real teaching work. Along with the two major questions, there will be some more relevant questions about their background. The interview questions will be developed based on three important stages. First, interview questions will be designed based on consultations with experienced researchers. Second, the themes which emerge from the survey questionnaire I will administer will provide a basis for some questions. Finally, semi-structured interviews will be conducted along with some additional questions for respondents' clarification if necessary in order to collect more in-depth information.
The study will be conducted in a TVET teacher education institute in Phnom Penh. The researcher will ask for a letter from the MEd Program at RUPP to seek permission from the target institute prior to data collection. The purpose and significance of the study will be attached with the permission-seeking letter and clearly explained to the director of the institute and all the participants. The director will be asked to sign an approval for the study in his/her institute. Likewise, the research participants (teacher trainees) will be asked to sign an agreement to indicate their willingness to participate in the study. The names of the participants or IDs and the institute will be kept anonymous. No information concerning the survey and the interviewees' responses will be used other than the purpose of the study. Also, the participations in this study will be truly voluntary. While answering the questions, the participants can withdraw from the interview or skip any questions if they prefer to do so. Creswell (2009) stated that "the research proposal needs to address the role of the researcher: past experiences, personal connections to the site, step to gain entry, and sensitive ethical issues (p.201)". The connections between the researchers and the participants, where the researcher conduct the study at his/her own organization, will face difficult power issues and the result will be biased and incomplete, (Creswell, 2009). Therefore, as the researcher in this study work as a lecturer in the institute being studied, there will be a power inequality between the researcher and the participants. However, the researcher will inform the participants that they will feel comfortable to refuse the requesting to participate in the study. After the publication of the final findings, a copy of the results will be given to the institute.