Can School Principals Manage Recruitment and Retention of Maths and Science Teachers in Rural Secondary Schools? A Case Study in the Vhembe District, South Africa

  • Matodzi Grace Muremela Department of Educational Studies, University of Venda, South Africa
  • Azwidohwi Phillip Kutame Languages and Social Science Education, University of Zululand, South Africa
  • Ingrid Sibongile Kapueja Languages and Social Science Education, University of Zululand, South Africa
  • Oluwatoyin Ayodele Ajani Languages and Social Science Education, University of Zululand, South Africa
Keywords: Rural; Scarce Skills Subjects; Mathematics; Science; Recruitment; Management; South Africa


Mathematics and science subjects are critical subjects in high schools across South Africa. This study explored how principals managed the recruitment of scarce skills subjects’ teachers, based on demand and supply in Vhembe District. Myriad studies assert that Mathematics and science teachers are in short supply across South African rural schools, which creates a concern for the education system. This problem is prominent in rural Vhembe District, Limpopo. This study examined how rural secondary schools in the Mutale area recruited and retained permanent mathematics and science teachers. An interpretive paradigm was employed to understand the phenomenon under study. This study used a face-to-face qualitative methodology, where targeted principals, teachers, heads of departments, and circuit and district managers were interviewed. Participants were selected via purposive and simple random sampling for the one-on-one structured interviews. All the interviews were audio-recorded with the permission of the 10 participants and were thematically analysed. Various crucial factors have an impact on principals' ability to control the supply and demand of subjects with important, rare skills. Environmental and societal variables participate in the recruitment and retention of rural schools’ struggle to hire and retain maths and science teachers. Findings further revealed that these teachers need incentives to be employed and retained in rural schools. The study, therefore, recommends that teacher training programmes be supported with adequate bursaries or funding for pre-service teachers, while Maths and science teachers should be well remunerated to attract and retain them in rural schools.


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How to Cite
Muremela, M. G., Kutame, A. P., Kapueja, I. S., & Ajani, O. A. (2023). Can School Principals Manage Recruitment and Retention of Maths and Science Teachers in Rural Secondary Schools? A Case Study in the Vhembe District, South Africa. International Journal of Social Science Research and Review, 6(9), 42-60.