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Purpose: This article is focused on the high attrition rate of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It looks into the possible reasons that cause teachers to leave the country or the profession after spending a short time there, based on data collected from EFL teachers from across the Kingdom.
Approach/Methodology/Design: This study used a mixed methods enquiry design, initially carried out through semi-structured interviews in a qualitative manner. Five teachers who worked in various higher education institutes across the Kingdom were interviewed and questioned about various aspects of their professional life as a teacher in the KSA. Those interviews were subsequently analysed to create questionnaires which were then administered to a sample of 20 teachers. The returned questionnaires were analysed and reported in numerical charts for ease of visual clarity. The lower the figure, the less motivation or satisfaction there was in the field.
Findings: NEST attrition rates in Saudi Arabia are abnormally high due to a serious lack of cultural training by management and/or provider, poor induction once a teacher arrives in country and culture. NNEST attrition rates are more aligned to professional reasons, as they feel they are treated poorly by comparison with their NEST counterparts: lower wages, fewer promotion opportunities, not being taken as seriously by students and employers, and sudden discontinuance of contracts among the main reasons for NNESTs leaving their posts.
Practical Implications: The study makes suggestions as to how teachers’ needs might be addressed in order to reduce the outflow of professional teachers from Saudi Arabia.
Originality/value: There is very little continuity in teaching due to large numbers of teachers exiting the Kingdom after a very short period of time. NEST attrition rates in Saudi Arabia are abnormally high due to a number of reasons.
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