Hodgetts and Hegar (2005) maintain that, “the psychological drive that directs a person toward an objective is motivation…motivation is a set of processes that moves a person toward a goal” (p. 39). In the context of this study, motivation is discussed in relation to the work teachers render to schools and the satisfaction they obtain from it. In order to perform well in their teaching activities, teachers need to be motivated. There could be many factors that can affect their motivation. They range from the nature of the school infrastructure to salary, recognition/professional status, achievement, advancement/further trainings, relations with others, school leadership and policies, working conditions, recruitment, deployment, and many others. These factors also are country specific that is to say; they vary from region or country to country. Such factors characterize the schools’ effectiveness in terms of performance. Sergiovanni (2009) asserts that effective schools endeavor to create professional environments, that facilitate teachers to accomplish their tasks, participate in decisions affecting their work, have reasonable autonomy to execute their duties, share purpose, receive recognition, are treated with respect and dignity by others, work together as colleagues, and are provided with ample staff- development opportunities so as to help them develop further. This will result in teacher’s creativity, persistence, and commitment to work.
Teacher motivation, although has some similarities, varies from country to country depending on the level of economic development. Literature states that motivation is influenced by a
variety of factors. In the United Kingdom for example, teacher motivation and satisfaction are found to be related to working with children while dissatisfaction is related to work overload,
poor pay, and how teachers are recognized by the society (Spear et al., 2000). These authors conclude that for teachers to be highly motivated, they need a high level of professional
autonomy, an intellectual challenge, feel they are benefiting the society, enjoy good relations with others, and spend sufficient time working with children.
In most developing countries, however, teachers’ working conditions and environment are not supportive and thus lower their motivation and commitment to teach. In South Asia (India,
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal) teachers’ responsibility in schools is very low due to the politicization of the teaching profession. This low accountability by teachers in school matters
has also a disastrous effect on other aspects of job motivation, including job promotion, school management, deployment and recruitment (Bennell, 2004). In sub-Saharan Africa, research has it that sizeable proportions of teachers have low levels of job satisfaction and are poorly motivated; children are not well taught and thus don’t receive minimal acceptable education. Most schooling systems therefore, are faced with teacher motivation crisis that are related to salary, advancement, achievement, recognition, responsibility, poor school facilities, among others which have far reaching consequences (Bennell & Akyeampong, 2007).
In Nigeria for instance, Adelabu (2005) identifies teacher motivation as based on the way teachers are deployed, working conditions, teachers’ competence, teachers’ status, vocational intent, career advancement, fringe benefits, and remunerations. Furthermore, some schools are inadequate, dilapidated, overcrowded, lack teaching materials. Such factors are prevalent elsewhere in the least developed countries. They have an impact on the teachers’ performance and academic quality and need to be improved.
In Tanzania, younger-qualified teachers are generally less satisfied than their older counterparts who still take teaching as a privilege. These younger qualified teachers are heavily concentrated in urban areas. Across Africa, there is much frustration by unqualified teachers because they are limited to opportunities to acquire basic teaching qualifications through
fulltime study leave, or open distance learning programs (Bennell & Akyeampong, 2007). In Uganda, Okuni (2003) found that the quality of Universal Primary Education was
deteriorating due to pupils’ overcrowding resulting from large class sizes; inadequate training, motivation, commitment and monitoring of teachers; less active and contribution by parents; less disciplinary control of students by teachers; and lack of housing for teachers, especially in rural areas.
Rwanda as one of the developing countries in the world with the main education goal of Education For All (EFA) by 2015; has an education system where students study six years of primary school, three years of lower secondary/ordinary level, three years of upper secondary/advanced level, and four years of university-6-3-3-4 (Mineduc, 2010; Elkim, 2010). The government recognizes that through the education sector, it can address challenges of poverty eradication, expand access to education without compromising quality, and place the
country on the path of sustainable growth and development as well as achieving the millennium development goals and its vision 2020. The government, therefore, recognizes that
the teacher is the main instrument in bringing about the desired improvements in quality learning (Mineduc, 2007).
With EFA, public schools experience huge turn up of pupils. This has resulted into current school enrollment of 97% compared to that of 74.5% in 2002 (Elikim, 2010; US Embassy, 2010; Rwanda Gateway, 2010), as well as overcrowding in classes where the student teacher ratio is 67:1. The World Bank report describes this class overcrowding as the “highest” in the world (Mineduc, 2007).
The government has tried to minimize this problem by establishing the method of “study in double shifts.” This implies that some pupils of the same class study in the morning session
while others in the afternoon session. This has an impact on the teacher in terms of commitment and morale to teach because he/she is the same teacher who teaches both sessions.
He/she becomes worn out in the afternoon session due to work overload. Other government incentives and strategies to improve the education sector are- setting structures through which teachers can access loans from their cooperative bank (Umwalimu -Sacco), increase of their salary, have career advancement, increase the number of teacher training colleges and improve on the existing ones so as to have quantity and quality teachers, provide enough teaching materials, have in service trainings for both teachers and school principals, as well as set up the teacher service commission that will largely be responsible for teachers’ improved welfare ( Mineduc, 2007; Minicofin, 2010; Nyamosi, 2011). Despite those incentives and strategies, there is still shortage of teachers to fully teach and understand each student’s learning problems. Even those few teachers are not well trained in teaching profession, their living environment is not favorable because they resort to reside in cheap houses since schools have no staff quarters, the salary pay is too little to sustain their households and this prompts them to have private income sources through private tutoring, their professional status in general is poorly recognized by the society, their career advancement structures are not well supportive, the changing of curricula especially from French to English is still a challenge, teaching many subjects and many hours in different grades/classes is hectic and stressful, getting involved in the outside school activities like representations of various social organizations/groups or elections supervision although give them some degree of recognition, it further adds burden to their teaching workload.
Bennell and Ntagaramba (2008), in their study on the teacher motivation and incentives in Rwanda found that 35% of primary school teachers and 39% of secondary school teachers in
public schools were increasingly de-motivated. In terms of infrastructure, EFA has prompted the government to put much emphasis on constructing new classrooms, especially for the lower secondary (Mineduc, 2008), with no much focus on the already existing ones, which are the teachers’ daily working environment. In order to improve on the building design, the ministry of education has established quality standards for school construction and this concerns all stakeholders. These stakeholders are the ministry of education, districts, international donor agencies, faith based organizations, private contractors, engineers, designers and architects, and all who are involved in planning, monitoring, designing procuring, constructing and rehabilitating school infrastructures (Mineduc, 2008). Those standards are stipulated in four clauses: The school must have appropriate, sufficient and secure buildings; the school must be an environment which is health, clean, secure, and learner protecting; the school must be child friendly, barrier free environment which promotes inclusive access and equal rights of every child; and, the school must have adequate and appropriate equipment that support the level of education. (p. 4)
Despite such efforts however, teachers’ motivation is still low and varies in relation to personal, school policies and leadership, as well as the working environment. Tailor and Vlastos (1975) assert that educational architecture is a “three-dimensional textbook,” implying that the learning environment is a functional art form, a place of beauty and a motivational center for learning. They further highlight that learning environments can kindle or subdue learning, aid creativity or slow mental perceptions. Besides, school buildings are visual objects that can stimulate in terms of their intrinsic design and use. Buckley et al. (2004) found that teachers were dissatisfied with their physical working conditions and were seeking employment elsewhere in other schools with supportive