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Teacher Shortages, Teacher Contracts and their Impact on Education in Africa

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Author Info

  • Bourdon, Jean

    ()
    (University of Bourgogne)

  • Frölich, Markus

    ()
    (University of Mannheim)

  • Michaelowa, Katharina

    ()
    (University of Zurich)

Abstract

Primary school enrolment rates are very low in francophone Africa. In order to enhance education supply, many countries have launched large teacher recruitment programmes in recent years, whereby teachers are no longer engaged on civil servant positions, but on the basis of (fixed-term) contracts typically implying considerably lower salaries and a sharply reduced duration of professional training. While this policy has led to a boost of primary enrolment, there is a concern about a loss in the quality of education. In this paper we analyse the impact on educational quality, by estimating nonparametrically the quantile treatment effects for Niger, Togo and Mali, based on very informative data, comparable across these countries. We find that contract teachers do relatively better for low ability children in low grades than for high ability children in higher grades. When positive treatment effects were found, they tended to be more positive at the low to medium quantiles; when negative effects were found they tended to be more pronounced at the high ability quantiles. Hence, overall it seems that contract teachers do a relatively better job for teaching students with learning difficulties than for teaching the ‘more advanced’ children. This implies that contract teachers tend to reduce inequalities in student outcomes. At the same time, we also observe clear differences between the countries. We find that, overall, effects are positive in Mali, somewhat mixed in Togo (with positive effects in 2nd and negative effects in 5th grade) and negative in Niger. This ordering is consistent with theoretical expectations derived from a closer examination of the different ways of implementation of the contract teacher programme in the three countries. In Mali and, to some extent, in Togo, the contract teacher system works more through the local communities. This may have led to closer monitoring and more effective hiring of contract teachers. In Niger, the system was changed in a centralized way with all contract teachers being public employees, so that there is no reason to expect much impact on local monitoring. In addition, the extremely fat hiring of huge numbers of contract teachers may also have contributed to relatively poor performance in Niger. These results are expected to be relevant for other sub-Saharan African countries, too, as well as for the design of new contract teacher programmes in the future.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2844.

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Length: 69 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A (Statistics in Society), 2010, 73, 93-116
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2844

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Keywords: quantile treatment effects; nonparametric estimation; teacher incentives;

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Cited by:
  1. Paul Atherton and Geeta Kingdon, 2010. "The relative effectiveness and costs of contract and regular teachers in India," Economics Series Working Papers, University of Oxford, Department of Economics CSAE WPS/2010-15, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Justina Fischer & Torberg Falch, 2008. "Does a generous welfare state crowd out student effort? Panel data evidence from international student tests," TWI Research Paper Series, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz 25, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
  3. Sebastian Galiani & Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 2013. "School Management in Developing Countries," CEDLAS, Working Papers, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata 0147, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  4. Barbara Bruns & Deon Filmer & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2011. "Making Schools Work : New Evidence on Accountability Reforms," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2270, August.
  5. Tessa Bold & Mwangi Kimenyi & Germano Mwabu & Alice Ng'ang'a & Justin Sandefur, 2013. "Scaling-up What Works: Experimental Evidence on External Validity in Kenyan Education," CSAE Working Paper Series 2013-04, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  6. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2013. "Contract Teachers: Experimental Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 19440, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Luis Beccaria & Pablo Alfredo Gluzmann, 2013. "Medición de los Ingresos y la Pobreza Oficial en América Latina y el Caribe," CEDLAS, Working Papers, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata 0148, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.

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