Because teachers are often paid according to their education level and years of experience, rather than quality of their performance, they have few incentives to work hard and ensure that students in their classrooms are learning the skills they need to succeed. As a result, there has been an interest in promoting performance-based incentives for teachers to improve quality of instruction. But results about the effectiveness of these initiatives have been mixed. The evaluation will add to the body of evidence on the usefulness of incentives, including the long-term impact.
Research area: Education
Evaluation Sample: 420 schools
Timeline: 2013- 2016
Researchers: Shwetlena Sabarwal, World Bank; Deon Filmer, World Bank; James Habyarimana, Georgetown University
In Tanzania, there is an interest in these kinds of programs because teacher quality remains low and there has been a marked drop in performance. In 2012, less than one-third of all students taking a primary school exit exam passed, compared to 58 percent the previous year. One problem is that teachers don’t spend a lot of time in the classroom teaching. According to a 2011 survey, one in four teachers is absent from school on any given day, while those in school are away from the classroom more than half the time. Because pay and working conditions are poor, teachers have little motivation to improve. The Ministry of Education has launched a program to change this through performance-based incentives, such as recognition awards and prizes. The evaluation will compare the impact of short- and long-term incentive programs on teacher behavior and student learning. It will also examine the effectiveness of incentives aimed directly at students.