An examination of the relationship between learner and teacher motivation and self-efficacy in relation to the intention of learners to drop out of school
Learner and teacher motivation are vital to the study of learner retention or dropout rates in schools. Together with self-efficacy of both teachers and learners, its effect on learner retention rates in South African secondary schools can no longer be ignored. The aim of this research was to examine the relationships of learner and teacher motivation and self-efficacy with learners’ intention to drop out of high school. The Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and Bandura’s Theory of Self-efficacy were adopted to explain the relationship between studied variables. A quantitative methodology was used with a cross-sectional comparative design. The sample consisted of 625 learners and 111 teachers from 5 randomly selected high schools in the Metro North (from 43 government high schools) and 5 randomly selected schools in Metro East (from 42 government high schools) Education Districts in the Western Cape. Fifty percent of the schools were considered low income schools based on the school fees requirement. The data were collected using self-report questionnaires consisting of four sections, Demographic Information, the Motivational Index, Self-efficacy and Dropout Perceptions. The data were analysed with the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS V23). The current study found no significant relationships between teacher and learner motivation and self-efficacy. However, there was a significant negative relationship between teacher self-efficacy and learners’ intention to drop out of school. There was also a significant positive relationship between learner motivation and learners’ intention to drop out of school. Further research should be conducted to establish the reasons why there are negative relationships between teacher self-efficacy and learner self- efficacy. Also why a large number of learners, especially those from low socio-economic schools, seem more motivated to leave school than to persist. A further investigation is also required into the predictive factors which lead to learner vulnerability to drop out of school.