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Teacher shortages, teacher contracts and their effect on education in Africa

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To enhance primary enrolment rates, many African countries have launched large teacher recruitment programmes in recent years. Given tight budgetary constraints, teachers are no longer employed in civil service positions, but on the basis of (fixed term) contracts typically implying considerably lower salaries and a sharply reduced amount of professional training. We analyse the effect of this change on educational quality in Niger, Togo and Mali, on the basis of very informative data, which are comparable across these countries. We use a variety of estimation techniques, including a non-parametric estimation of quantile treatment effects. Our results demonstrate that contract teachers tend to reduce inequalities in student outcomes. Overall, the effects are positive in Mali, somewhat mixed in Togo and negative in Niger. This ordering is consistent with theoretical expectations related to the manner in which contract teacher programmes were implemented differently in each of the three countries under study.

Keywords: Africa; Contract teachers; Matching estimators; Primary education; Quantile treatment effects

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-985X.2009.00601.x

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Research on the Sociology and Economics of Education, Dijon, France 2: University of Mannheim, and Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, Germany 3: University of Zurich, Center for Comparative and International Studies, Zurich, Switzerland, and Hamburgisches WeltWirtschafts Institut, Hamburg, Germany

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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