Time to Teach. Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Puntland, State of Somalia

Autor(es): Akseer, Spogmai; Karamperidou, Despina

Organisation(s): UNICEF

Publisher(s): UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti

Date: 2020

Pages: 79 p.


Teacher absenteeism constitutes a significant barrier to achieving national educational goals in many lowand middle-income countries, where teacher absence rates range from 3 to 27 per cent. While there is no data available from Puntland, State of Somalia (hereafter Puntland) on teacher absenteeism trends, regional cases suggest this is a chronic problem facing many schools throughout Africa, with an average of 15 to 45 per cent of all primary school teachers absent from the classroom on any given day. The Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoE&HE) is beginning to increasingly prioritize the role of the teacher in the provision of effective time on task, and thus, has taken measures to deter teacher absenteeism. These efforts, however, focus mainly on absence from school and do not take into consideration when teachers are absent from the classroom (but present at school), when they arrive late or leave school early, or when teachers limit their time on task. Additionally, an analysis of existing policy gaps and policy-implementation gaps reveals that while Puntland has begun to prioritize the negative impact of teachers’ absence on learning outcomes, there is still a need for further enhancement of implementing existing policies and developing additional measures to ensure teachers are on task. The Time to Teach (TTT) study seeks to address this knowledge gap. Its primary objective is to identify factors affecting the various dimensions of primary school teacher attendance and to use this evidence to inform the design and implementation of teacher policies. Specifically, the study looks at four distinct dimensions of teacher attendance: (1) being in school; (2) being punctual (i.e. not arriving late/leaving early), (3) being in the classroom (while in school); and (4) spending sufficient time on task (while in the classroom). TTT is a mixed-methods project, employing both qualitative and quantitative research tools. The study draws from national, system-wide, qualitative data collections and school observations, and a quantitative survey of 138 teachers working in 20 purposely selected primary schools.

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