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This study examines factors influencing teacher attrition in public secondary schools in Kabul, Afghanistan. Substantial increments in the school-age population, the Education for All (EFA) mandate, and a “seven-fold” growth in number of students during the last decade have collectively increased the demand for teachers in Afghanistan; whereas, teachers from the public schools are leaving the teaching profession in large numbers. The lack of teachers poses serious challenges for the education system especially for Ministry of Education.

This exploratory study focuses on the reasons for the departure of both current and former teachers. It also explores and suggests some strategies to address this phenomenon. The study used a mixed method approach, using questionnaires, interviews and observations to collect data. A total of 44 current teachers and 18 former teachers were asked to respond to the questionnaires, while 2 current teachers, 3 former teachers, a principal, a student, and a member of Information Education Management Information System (EMIS) were interviewed. The results of this study revealed that low salary is only one of the major factors for teacher attrition in Afghanistan. The study also found multiple other factors that influence teacher attrition including ineffective recruitment and deployment process (school distance); heavy workload; unequal work distribution and administration corruption; low salaries and other benefits; lack of professional development programs; and social factors. The study concluded that in some cases, only one of these factors causes the attrition while in many cases, a number of factors collectively compel teachers to leave their jobs. Recommendations suggest the need to reform policies, to restructure organizations, to increase teacher support, and to promote stakeholder engagement.