Why programs fail: lessons for improving public service quality from a mixed-methods evaluation of an unsuccessful teacher training program in Nepal

Author(s): Schaffner, Julie; Glewwe, Paul; Sharma, Uttam

Date: 2021

Pages: 47 p.


Using a randomized control trial embedded within a mixed-methods evaluation, we find that an at-scale government teacher training program, of a common but seldom-evaluated form, has little or no impact on student learning. We then document five challenges that the policy’s design failed to address, related to: oversight of training sessions, school-level difficulties in releasing teachers for training (lack of substitute teachers), deficits in teachers’ subject knowledge, deficits in teachers’ post-training accountability and support, and students’ needs for differentiated instruction. We discuss implications for the literatures on teacher training program design and on good governance for public service provision.

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