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No more cutting class ? reducing teacher absence and providing incentives for performance

  • Rogers, F. Halsey
  • Vegas, Emiliana

Expanding and improving basic education in developing countries requires, at a minimum, teachers who are present in the classroom and motivated to teach, but this essential input is often missing. This paper describes the findings of a series of recent World Bank and other studies on teacher absence and incentives for performance. Surprise school visits reveal that teachers are absent at high rates in countries such as India, Indonesia, Uganda, Ecuador, and Zambia, reducing the quality of schooling for children, especially in rural, remote, and poor areas. More broadly, poor teacher management and low levels of teacher accountability afflict many developing-country education systems. The paper presents evidence on these shortcomings, but also on the types of incentives, management, and support structures that can improve motivation and performance and reduce avoidable absenteeism. It concludes with policy options for developing countries to explore as they work to meet Education for All goals and improve quality.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4847.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4847
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  1. Jishnu Das & Stefan Dercon & James Habyarimana & Pramila Krishnan, 2004. "Teacher Shocks and Student Learning: Evidence from Zambia," CSAE Working Paper Series 2004-26, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  2. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2007. "Are Teacher Absences Worth Worrying About in the U.S.?," NBER Working Papers 13648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Luis Benveniste & Jeffery Marshall & Lucrecia SantibaƱez, 2007. "Teaching in Lao PDR," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7710, The World Bank.
  4. Clotfelter, Charles & Glennie, Elizabeth & Ladd, Helen & Vigdor, Jacob, 2008. "Would higher salaries keep teachers in high-poverty schools? Evidence from a policy intervention in North Carolina," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1352-1370, June.
  5. Duflo, Esther & Hanna, Rema & Ryan, Stephen, 2008. "Monitoring Works: Getting Teachers to Come to School," CEPR Discussion Papers 6682, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Nazmul Chaudhury & Jeffrey Hammer & Michael Kremer & Karthik Muralidharan & F. Halsey Rogers, 2006. "Missing in Action: Teacher and Health Worker Absence in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 91-116, Winter.
  7. Julie Berry Cullen & Randall Reback, 2006. "Tinkering Toward Accolades: School Gaming Under a Performance Accountability System," NBER Working Papers 12286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Das, Jishnu & Pandey, Priyanka & Zajonc, Tristan, 2006. "Learning levels and gaps in Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4067, The World Bank.
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