The Secondary Education In Mauritius Education Essay

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Since the 1980's, education has always been one of the most over-ridding priorities of all existing Mauritian governments. This is because our island does not have any natural resources and education is the key to success and prosperity of the nation. Education, therefore, has been at the forefront of public analysis. Various taskforces and commissions have been appointed, resulting in several White Papers and Blue prints being published. Fundamental transformation has been noted in 2005 by the newly elected Labour government (Goburdhone, 2005). In this line of thought, the newly elected Minister of Education of the Labour Party, Mr Dharam Gokhool (2006), in his first education policy document entitled " Quality Initiatives for a World Class Quality Education for 2006", emphasized on "Quality Education for All". He insisted on a World Class Quality Education for a world class society (Ministry of Education, 2006, p. 1). Quality education, no doubt, depends on quality teaching (Ministry of Education, 2006, p.2). Educational quality is heavily influenced by teacher quality.

It is to be mentioned that, with the construction of 30 new secondary schools in the mandate 2000-2005, the teacher -pupil ratio has reduced. In addition, all public schools have adequate infrastructure, private secondary schools being almost at the same footing of state secondary ones. According to Hayward (1997), teachers who work in a school with modern facilities are more likely to experience job satisfaction. Laudable efforts have been made to ensure this quality education. But, however, little attention has been paid to teacher motivation.

It cannot be denied that teacher motivation has a substantial effect on teacher efficacy, which in turn has a positive effect on students' performance (Enderlin-Lampe, 1997). It is sad to note that learner performance in Mauritian education system is considerably poor and is thus a cause of major concern. The average failure rate at the end of primary level is about 40 % annually and 30 % at the end of the secondary cycle (Seeroo, 2006). These figures are really alarming and could be attributed to poor teacher motivation.

Poor teacher motivation could be one of the causes of a decline in the number of prospective teachers which serve as an indication of various educational problems, particularly poor learners' performance in the CPE, SC and HSC level (L'Express MAG, 2007). It is also found that there is prevalence or workplace negativity in schools. This could be attributed to a lack of leadership, coupled with the stressful work environment in the 21st century, that increases the pressure on educators. The major stakeholders in the Mauritian System, such as the Mauritius Examinations Syndicate (MES), Mauritius Institute of Education (MIE) and the Private Secondary Schools Authority (PSSA), all agree that poor learner performance is associated with a lack of teacher motivation (L'Express MAG, 2007).

According to the MIE, which is the only teacher training institution in Mauritius, teachers leave the institution, full of enthusiasm and dedication, with the hope that they will change the existing system with innovatory ideas. But, eventually the system changes them (Le Matinal, 2006). Therefore, it is obvious that there is a lack of inspiration from the school heads in the secondary schools. It is thus a lack of leadership that results in poor teacher motivation or de-motivated ones.

One remains motivated when stress is kept to a minimum and teachers are motivated by their zeal and dedication. Barmby (2006) points out that teacher motivation is less influenced by externally initiated factors such as salary, educational policy and reforms and conditions of the service, than by internal factors within which teachers work. Along this line, Hall (1992) posits that teachers need to feel competent to do their job and should be assured that the system is capable of supporting them. In this context, school leadership may greatly impact on teacher motivation. School principals can indeed motivate their teachers to pursue excellence through the way in which the formers' leadership responsibilities are executed.

Despite the fact that state secondary schools and private ones are on the same footing, there exists considerable difference between private secondary school teachers' motivation and those in the public sector. This provides an insight that the existing leadership can therefore impact on teachers' motivation. Therefore, the present study investigates how school leaders can influence the factors affecting teachers' motivation in a selected private secondary school.

1.1: Background of the study

Motivation is a complex, but a very important aspect of teachers' efficiency. Heynes (2000) claims that human resources constitute the most valuable asset that enable school to impart quality education. He also added that school's success depends on the commitment and performance of people working there.

It cannot be denied that teachers are the most important resource in the teaching-learning process (Kruger and Van Schalkwyk, 1997). Their professional activity involves the transmission of knowledge, attitudes and skills to learners (Van Amelsvoort, Hendriks & Scheerens, 2000). According to Barmby (2006), teachers perform their task for three main reasons: altruistic, intrinsic and extrinsic reasons.

1.1.1: Motivation and teachers

Teacher motivation has to do with teachers' attitudes to work, According to Tracy (2000), motivation can be defined as all those inner striving conditions: wishes or urges, that stimulate the interest of a person in an activity. Following these, motivated teachers have a sense of professionalism and show much enthusiasm to teaching. Steyn (2002) identified some signs of high teachers' morale, which are closely related to effective motivation. These are excellent performance, consistent achievement of results, a positive attitude regarding problem-solving and a willingness to accept responsibility. These, will in turn, help to realise the school's vision, mission and goals. Ultimately, in schools with motivated teachers, there is also effective teaching and learning.

1.1.1.1: Teachers' motivation and school leadership

Teachers are motivated to work when they feel good. No doubt, they feel good when the school leader shows professionalism and when teachers work in an encouraging atmosphere. According to Evans (2001, p. 160-171), teachers are motivated when there is "a teacher-centered approach to educational leadership". This is only possible when the school head, as an educational leader, over and above his management role, strives to meet the needs and expectations. At the same time, he/she should show genuine care and interest in the staff's welfare. Positive attitudes should emanate from such leadership. Sergiovanni (1998, p. 38) calls this approach the 'pedagogical leadership approach'.

1.1.1.2: De-motivated teachers

Nowadays, it is difficult to urge teachers to put their heart and soul into their work (Murthy, 2003, p. 1). This is due to the increasing demands placed on teachers, in contexts of increased tendencies of a breaking down of the culture of teaching and learning on account of pervasive societies. As a matter of fact, the place of work is a place of tremendous stress. Teachers start with enthusiasm and creativity, but, gradually, they feel more and more helpless, discouraged and exhausted. Barmby (2006) relates these to: additional responsibilities, excessive non-teaching ones such as paper work and administrative work, for which they have insufficient or no support from the school head. Researcher (Caladarci, 1992; Barmby, 2006) identified bureaucracy as a de-motivating factor. There is a lack of autonomy and teachers feel they have no say in decision-making processes. At the same time, teachers feel they work in isolation, from colleagues and school's administration.

De-motivated teachers often display apathy and indifference to their work. There is also poor time keeping, high absenteeism, a lack of cooperation in handling problems and exaggerated effects of the encountered difficulties (Scott, Cox and Dinham, 1999). It is clear from these that the principal has a key role motivating teachers.

1.1.1.3: The school leader's role in motivating teachers

The school head has a significant role in motivating teachers in order to facilitate the proper functioning of the organisation. Indeed, the key role of the principal is leading the staff and shaping a conducive environment in which teachers can do their work best (Marshall, 1993). In line with this, Murthy (2003) claims that teachers need the full support of the school management to be motivated. The school leader has got the responsibility to practice effective school leadership as this contributes to high teacher motivation. Therefore, by understanding, the sources of motivation, school leaders can create positive motivation for their staff (Chan, 2004). Consistent with this view, Steyn (2002b) argues that effective principals are able to create an ethos that generates motivated and efficient teachers. There is, thus, a relationship between teacher motivation and the role of school leaders. The latter can influence teachers' motivation by focusing less on the bureaucratic aspects of the school, while paying more attention to some informal aspects, as well (Kruger, 2003). Leaders can also inspire motivation in teachers through their own behaviour at school. It is to be mentioned that school leaders could incorporate good leadership practices such as involving teachers in decision-making, providing adequate mentoring, supervision and resources to them.

Teacher motivation is a matter of great concern in achieving a World Class Education. Therefore, the researcher considers it important to investigate how school leaders can impact on teachers' motivation, particularly in private secondary schools. Thus, school X has been chosen to study the above issue in depth.

1.2: Rationale for the research

Having worked seven years in a private secondary school, the researcher has come across teachers with various levels of motivation. The researcher has observed that teachers in private secondary schools are often de-motivated to work compared to those working in State secondary schools. It has been observed that teachers' motivation vary significantly under different school leaders. With almost the same teaching staff, equipped with same modern school premises and teaching resources, teachers show different attitudes towards their work, their students, colleagues and ultimately towards their school head.

The researcher has observed that hierarchical schools, where there is no shared decision-making processes, are highly de-motivating for teachers. Hence, the latter are reluctant to implement such decisions. These teachers often complain that their rectors are imposing irrational decisions on them and that the responsibilities assigned to them do not fit their abilities. As a result, teachers are not really enthusiastic about their work.

Such attitudes manifest themselves in high teacher absenteeism. School X has been chosen after much consideration. Indeed, the researcher found that on some days, 30 % of the teaching staff were absent during the second term of the academic year 2012, the most crucial term for students, at school X. This high absenteeism was felt on seeing the students' performance at the end of the second term examinations: PERCENTAGES FAILURE .

These suggest that school leadership can indeed impact on teachers' motivation and hence the quality of education provided. However, it is sad to note that, till now, no direct policies pertaining to teachers' motivation has been introduced in Mauritius. Another point to be noted is that, educational policy-makers have never consulted teachers on this pertinent issue impacting on education.

Teaching has always been considered one of the most noble professions. But, it seems to have lost its value lately. A close look at the history of School X may provide some insight into how and why the conditions for teachers have recently deteriorated, leaving the teachers de-motivated or under-motivated.

This study was intended to find about the different factors motivating private secondary teachers and the role of the school leader in motivating them. In this regard, the researcher believes this study is a powerful tool for advancing knowledge, promoting progress, and exploring ways in which school leaders can motivate their staff to achieve a World Class Quality Education.

1.3: Problem Statement

The role of the school leader is crucial in motivating teachers in the selected private secondary school. In such organisations, rectors are appointed by the school administrative board, to promote the teaching-learning process. The latter ought to have adequate teaching experience and qualifications for the post of rector. However, not every rector is an effective rector and even less an effective leader.

It cannot be denied that the rectors cannot achieve quality education without motivated teachers. They have to generate commitment and dedication from their teachers through their leadership role. Bearing this in mind, the problem statement was formulated as follows:

Investigating how can the school leader in School X motivate the teachers to teach effectively and efficiently.

The main research question is subdivided into 4 further sub-research objectives that pertain to teachers' motivation and school leadership:

Identifying the factors affecting teachers' motivation in secondary school.

Exploring the role of school leaders.

Investigating how school leadership can impact on teachers' motivation.

Identifying the strategies that can be used to motivate teachers at school X.

1.4: AIMS OF THE STUDY

Motivation is an extremely complicated and multifaceted subject. It is, in fact, one of the driving forces behind teachers' professional commitment and level of achievement (Klang, 2006). School leaders should extend their responsibilities in order to include a definite focus on the motivation on teachers. Rectors expect teachers to meet the needs of the students. But, they often forget to consider the teachers' needs; meeting the aims of education also implies meeting the needs of teachers, prior to effective teaching, so as effective learning can take place.

There is, thus, a close relationship between teachers' motivation and the role of the school leader. Therefore, the descriptive aims of the study are:

To identify and describe the factors that motivate teachers in the selected private secondary school.

To develop guidelines that would help the school rector to motivate the teachers through their leadership role.

1.4: Review of Literature

A review of Literature is necessary when carrying out any research. It enables the researcher to gather enough information about empirical findings, which will in turn, allow the researcher to support or refute one's findings (Bell, 2004).

A literature review for this study consists of a study of the factors affecting teachers' motivation and how the school leader can impact on teachers' motivation.

1.5: Overview of the Research Methodology

A research design describes the choice of the research paradigm and related procedures for conducting the study. It contains a full description of how, when, where, from whom and under what conditions the data have been obtained. This section describes how the research is organized and what methods are used for data collection (McMillan & Schumacher, 2001).

The aim of the research methodology is to help the reader understand the process in its broadest terms (Cohen & Manion, 1998). This section, therefore, elaborates on the approaches and methodology that were used to address the research questions that are stated for this research.

1.6: Definition of key terms

1.6.1: The teacher

The teacher is the one who must educate and teach, at the same time managing all associated teaching activities ( Kruger and Van Schalkwyk, 1997, p. 5). In the local Mauritian system, the secondary school teacher is known as an Educator (secondary) who has the following duties and responsibilities (Ministry of Civil Service, 2008):

teach in secondary schools

prepare schemes of work, weekly plans of work and lesson notes.

Conduct examinations, Continuous assessments, extension classes and Extra-curricular activities as directed.

Keep record of learners' performance.

Ensure the holistic development of learners.

Maintain discipline.

In the present study, teachers also include Heads of Departments and section leaders.

1.6.2: The rector/principal

According to Amelsvoort, Hendriks and Sheerens (2002, p. 26), the principal, as the manager of the school, has the leadership and management duties and responsibilities. They claim that the school head is the principal.

In the Mauritian context, the principal is commonly known as the rector. It is to be mentioned that in Grant Aided Private Secondary Schools, there are also school managers, who are usually appointed by the school board. So, the school management usually consists of the school board, the manager and the rector.

1.6.3: Secondary School

A secondary school is an educational institution that operates to provide formal secondary education to school age youth. In Mauritius, there are different types of secondary schools: the state secondary schools or the public colleges, the grant-aided private secondary schools or the private colleges, confessional grant-aided secondary schools and the fee-paying secondary schools. For the purpose of this research, a selected grant-aided private secondary school will be taken into consideration.

1.6.4: Motivation

Motivation is a theoretical concept that accounts for the fact that human beings choose to engage in particular behaviour at a particular time (Beck, 2002). Steyn (2002a, p. 85) further defines motivation as the complex forces, incentives, needs and other mechanisms which energise, canalize and sustain human behaviour to carry out a specific function.

For the purpose of this research, motivation refers to the 'degree of energy and commitment with which a person performs a job' (Barnes, 2003, p. 178). Therefore, teacher motivation refers to the willingness of the teacher to achieve the goals of the school.

1.7: Chapter organisation

After this introductory chapter, this dissertation is organised into four additional chapters. The second deals with the review of the literature. The third chapter then turns to a detailed discussion of the methodology used in this study. The fourth chapter presents the results of the research as they relate to the five research questions and the fifth and final chapter summarizes and discusses the findings of the study.

1.8: Conclusion

This chapter is mainly an orientation of the study and it has presented the problem under investigation. The background of the study and the role of school leadership in motivating teachers have been briefly discussed.

The next chapter presents the findings of the review of literature on the factors affecting teachers' motivation and the role of the school leader. A theoretical framework for teachers' motivation is thus analysed and discussed. The

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