School governance reform at scale - Experimental evidence from Tanzania

Author(s): Cilliers, Jacobus; Habyarimana, James

Date: 2021

Pages: 40 p.

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We report on a randomized evaluation of a school management reform program in Tanzania, rolled out to all schools in the country over a period of two years. Government officers (previously known as school inspectors) visit schools and produce a set of diagnostics and recommendations to improve school quality that are shared with all stakeholders. We evaluate the program in a nationally representative sample of 397 schools, with 199 schools assigned to the control. In a subset of treated schools we encourage additional monitoring by the local government front-line education officers by short-circuiting the information flow between the two separate ministries. We document three main findings from the midline survey. First, head teachers exposed to the additional monitoring changes their beliefs: they revised downwards their beliefs about the quality of school leadership. There were no commensurate changes in beliefs about the quality of teaching or extent of community engagement. Second, teacher presence increased by 7.9 percentage points and teaching practice improved. We find no evidence of improvements in school management, community involvement, nor the overall quality of the school environment. Third, there was a modest improvement in student learning of 0.05SD in Kiswahili, but no improvements in mathematics.

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