1.1 Background of the Study

            Given the contemporary understanding of education's vital role in fostering a nation's development, the education sector is witnessing significant expansion and progress, emerging as one of the most crucial social services worldwide (Salahu and Aminu, 2010). This remarkable growth is evident through substantial investments in educational resources, a proliferation of schools, a surge in student enrollment, and a rising number of teaching personnel. As a result, educational institutions, especially schools, have become increasingly intricate, necessitating dedicated and proficient educators to effectively manage this dynamic situation.

One of the most significant challenges confronting schools in both developed and developing countries is the problem of teacher attrition. Teachers play a pivotal role in the educational process, and their recruitment and retention within the system are crucial factors in enhancing learning outcomes. As educators operate within a service-oriented organization that focuses on human development and character shaping, their impact on students is profound. This perspective aligns with the National Policy on Education's declaration, emphasizing that the quality of teachers directly influences the overall standard of an educational system (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2013).

The effectiveness of any educational institution hinges upon its teaching staff, as teachers play a central role in the learning process. Consequently, the position of a teacher holds great importance, not only in relation to students but also to society as a whole. Unfortunately, over time, the teaching profession has been overshadowed by the allure of supposedly more attractive opportunities elsewhere, often referred to as 'greener pastures.' The demand for higher-paying and more prestigious positions in industries like oil companies has led to a decline in the teaching force, with many of its best educators leaving for other career paths.

Experienced and qualified teachers frequently leave the education sector to pursue opportunities in various fields, such as customs services, banks, oil companies, and other government agencies. As a result, only those who couldn't secure better employment opportunities tend to remain in the teaching profession, while new entrants often view it as a stepping stone to access more desirable jobs.

            As per the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary (2015), attrition refers to a decrease in the number of employees due to resignations, retirements, or deaths. Borman and Dowling (2014) provide their definition of teacher attrition as the process of educators leaving the teaching profession to pursue other career paths. Based on these definitions, researchers view teacher attrition as the loss of teachers from the education sector. Numerous studies conducted worldwide have raised concerns about this issue.

For instance, in the United States, Ingersoll (2013) found that approximately 15.7% of teachers leave the profession for another line of work every year, and 40% of teachers sponsored for further studies opt not to return to teaching.Within the first two years, Mcadoo's (2013) research in the New York district revealed that out of the 3,252 teachers hired between 2010 and 2011, approximately 7.8 percent parted within the first year, and 16.3% left. A similar situation exists in the UK, where about 14.1% of teachers exit the profession within their first four years of entering it.

 The situation in Ghana bears resemblance to that of the United States. A survey conducted in 2009, commissioned by the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU), revealed an alarmingly high teacher attrition rate in Ghana. The survey conducted by GNAT (2009) revealed that the Ghana Education Service estimated around 10,000 teachers leaving the classroom annually to pursue alternative professions.

The pronounced rate of teacher attrition exerts a detrimental influence on efforts to improve schools, leading to disruptions in the stability and consistency of teaching practices. Research indicates that high-performing schools are distinguished by the stability and continuity of their teaching staff, while teaching as an occupation has historically been associated with a high turnover rate (Lawrence, 1999). This situation is evident in Ghana, where the country's Teacher Training institutions produce a substantial number of teachers annually, yet there remains a shortage of teachers due to the lack of retention in the profession.

Cobbold (2007) expresses concern about the dilemma faced by policy makers and school leaders in Ghana, which revolves around retaining qualified teachers in schools to ensure quality teaching and learning for all students. A national study (Quansah, 2003 as cited in Cobbold, 2007) reveals a shortage of 40,000 trained teachers in basic schools, with 24,000 of these positions being filled by untrained personnel. Moreover, the Colleges of Education, which are the main sources of basic school teachers, lack the necessary resources to admit and produce an adequate number of teachers, despite an annual increase in teacher candidate admissions.

Compounding this problem is the tendency of many basic school teachers to teach for just three years before taking advantage of the study leave with pay offered by the Ghana Education Service (GES). During this leave, they upgrade their qualifications to diploma and degree levels through full-time study on full salary at universities. Unfortunately, a significant majority (about 70%) of these teachers do not return to the classroom after completing their studies (Akyeampong, 2002). This renders an otherwise well-intended government policy counterproductive (Bame, 1991).

The widely known saying in Ghana, "If you can read this, Thank the Teacher," vividly illustrates the essential role teachers play in society and their indispensable contribution to national development. Therefore, the consequences of teacher attrition can be profound and can influence various aspects of the education system, including the academic performance of pupils.

Consequently, this study aims to assess the effects of teacher attrition on the academic performance of pupils in the Birim North District.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

            The continuous turnover of teachers disrupts the learning process, hampers the continuity of education, and can result in a decline in the overall quality of instruction. As a consequence, pupils may experience setbacks in their academic achievements (Adarkwah et al., 2022).

            Therefore, it is crucial to investigate the effects of teacher attrition on pupils' academic performance to better understand the underlying challenges and identify potential strategies to address this issue effectively.


1.3 Aim of the Study

The primary aim of this research is to investigate the effects of teacher attrition on pupils' academic performance in the Birim North District.


1.4 Objectives of the Study

            The study aims to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To determine the extent of teacher attrition in the Birim North District?
  2. To determine the relationship between teacher attrition and pupils' academic performance in the Birim North District.
  3. To assess the effect of teacher attrition on pupils' academic performance.


1.5 Research Questions

To guide the research, the following research questions will be addressed:

  1. What is the extent of teacher attrition in the Birim North District?
  2. How does teacher attrition correlate with pupils' academic performance in the district?
  3. What are the effects of teacher attrition on pupils' academic performance?


1.6 Research Hypothesis:

The research hypothesis for this study is as follows:

H0: There is no significant relationship between teacher attrition and pupils' academic performance in the Birim North District.

Ha: There is a significant relationship between teacher attrition and pupils' academic performance in the Birim North District.


1.7 Justification of the Study

The study of the effects of teacher attrition on pupils' academic performance in the Birim North District is essential to address the increasing concern regarding the impact of teacher turnover on educational outcomes. Understanding the extent of teacher attrition and its correlation with pupils' academic performance will provide valuable insights into the challenges faced by the education system in the district. The findings of this study can inform policymakers, school administrators, and relevant stakeholders about the need for targeted interventions to improve teacher retention and enhance the overall quality of education.


1.8 Scope of the Study

This research will be confined to public secondary schools in the Birim North District.  The study will examine the extent of teacher attrition, its relationship with pupils' academic performance, and the specific effects it has on academic outcomes.

However, the study will not delve into broader national or global trends of teacher attrition. Instead, it will concentrate on the local context of the Birim North District. The research will utilize data collected from schools, teachers, and pupils within the district to ensure a comprehensive analysis of the issue at the local level.