Time to Teach: teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa

Autor(es): Karamperidou, Despina; Brossard, Mathieu; Peirolo, Silvia; Richardson, Dominic

Publisher(s): UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti

Date: 2020

Pages: 76 p.


There is a learning crisis. 53 per cent of children in low- and middle-income countries are in ‘learning poverty’, i.e. they cannot read and understand a simple text by the end of primary school age. In sub-Saharan Africa, the learning poverty rate is 87 per cent overall, and ranges from 40 per cent to as high as 99 per cent in the 21 countries with available data. Teachers attending lessons and spending quality time on task is a critical prerequisite to learning. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, there is evidence that teacher absenteeism ranges from 15 to 45 per cent. Teacher absenteeism and reduced time on task wastes valuable financial resources, short-changes students and is one of the most cumbersome obstacles on the path toward the education Sustainable Development Goal and to the related vision of the new UNICEF education strategy: Every Child Learns. Time to Teach (TTT) covers Comoros, Kenya, Mozambique, Puntland (State of Somalia), Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania (mainland and Zanzibar) and Uganda. Its primary objective is to identify factors affecting the various forms of teacher attendance, which include being at school, being punctual, being in the classroom, and teaching when in the classroom, and use this evidence to inform the design and implementation of teacher policies. The study draws from national, system-wide, qualitative data collections and school observations, and a quantitative survey of teachers working in 160 purposively selected primary schools (20 schools per country/territory).

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