The purpose of this study was to understand what knowledge and skills retired educators have and how these skills can be harnessed and utilised to benefit career development programmes in Botswana. The Tri-KCC conceptual model of career development was deductively and inductively developed from an interplay of the economics of knowledge management, the epistemology of constructivism, career psychology and gerontology.
A mixed methods-sequential explanatory was used in this study, following assumptions of pragmatism. The participants of the study were retired educators in Botswana, with a convenience sample located in Gaborone. The participants had retired between 2000 and 2012. One hundred and eight participants (108), out of a sample of 200 responded to a survey questionnaire. Sixteen (16) participants from the survey formed focus group discussions of 5, 5 and 6 participants each. The participants were purposively selected through respondent directed and snowball techniques.
The quantitative aspect of the study was conducted first, followed by the qualitative aspect. The quantitative phase helped to explore the concept of harnessing experiential knowledge of the retired educators. The survey questionnaire highlighted the following soft skills of retired educators: self-awareness and others-awareness, leadership, mentoring and counselling. The quantitative stage informed the qualitative stage during which the focus groups took place. Thus the qualitative phase had more weighting in the study. Quantitative data was analysed descriptively and inferentially, while thematic analysis was used for qualitative data.
Results confirmed that retired educators have acquired a great wealth of knowledge and skills and that the success of being an educator is linked to both professional and personal identities. In addition, experiences that were meaningful to the retired educators were those where self-discovery boosted their self-esteem. Botswana is losing skilled resources to the early retirement age. In view of the findings, the Tri-KCC conceptual model was constructed to incorporate knowledge capture and management to guide practice. Career construction theory, through narratives of retired educators, was proposed to guide the practice of career development. Based on the results, it appears that an improved career development theory and practice that utilises retired professionals may not only benefit Botswana but other countries as well.