Paying teacher bonuses, delivering Capitation Grants directly to schools boosts children’s learning - Twaweza, COSTECH

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  • Paying teacher bonuses and delivering Capitation Grants directly to schools boosts children’s learning
  • A Twaweza and COSTECH multi-year experiment yields promising results
24 June 2016, Dar es Salaam: After a two year trial, Twaweza, in collaboration with COSTECH and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), have shown that a combination of teacher financial incentives and direct resource transfer to schools can improve learning outcomes.

The results of the pilot project known as KiuFunza, the largest of its kind in East Africa, were presented at an event on evidence-based policy-making in education at the Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) held on 23 and 24 June.

Over the two years, Twaweza and IPA tested the following initiatives in 350 schools across 10 districts in Tanzania:
  1. Capitation grant – transferring the government mandated TZS 10,000 per child directly to schools instead of to district authorities (the trial took place prior to the government’s decision to transfer this money to schools themselves)
  2. Cash on delivery (teacher bonus) – teachers were awarded a TZS 5,000 bonus and the head teacher earned TZS 1,000 for every student that passed basic literacy (English and Kiswahili) and numeracy tests in Standards 1 to 3.
  3. Combination – both the bonus system and the direct transfer of funds
The key findings are:
  • Directly transferring money to schools in full and on time increases the availability of teaching and learning materials in schools. In turn this leads to a better environment for both pupils and teachers which can also motivate both to attend school more. However these resources did not have any direct effects on learning outcomes during the two year trial.
  • Paying teachers bonuses appears to have a positive effect on learning outcomes, but the results are not conclusive.
  • The combination of direct money transfers to schools and teacher bonuses had a significant and positive effect on learning outcomes; more resources available in schools and more motivated teachers mean that children learn.
In 2014
  • TZS 1,125 million worth of Capitation Grant were paid directly to school bank accounts
  • TZS 237 million was earned by head teachers and subject teachers as bonus payments
  • 157 head teachers and 969 subject teachers were involved in the trial
  • 42,725 children were tested in the ‘cash-on-delivery’ schools for grade appropriate literacy and numeracy skills to establish the bonus payments of their teachers
Most head teachers (93%) in the KiuFunza schools agreed that the COD tests measured what is in the national curriculum. The average pass rates across all three grades on the 2014 tests were 55 percent (Kiswahili), 6 percent (English) and 32 percent (Mathematics).

The recently released Tanzania Service Delivery Indicators (SDIs) show that 47 percent of teachers (all grades) are not in their classroom during an unannounced visit. In most cases these teacher are at school but engaged in other activities. As a result, pupils benefit from only 39 percent of the officially scheduled instruction time.

Following the success of this pilot Twaweza is running the second phase of KiuFunza. In this revised pilot, teachers are awarded bonuses for improved student performance, not only when students pass a test. This means that teachers can earn some bonus even if their pupils have not mastered the full range of skills required but have shown progress over the year).

Twaweza chose to focus on teacher incentives for the first and second phases of KiuFunza because evidence from around the world shows that teacher effort can have a significant impact on learning outcomes.

At the event where these results were announced, co-hosted by Twaweza and COSTECH, key actors from the education sector, including the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, received a detailed explanation of the findings and the new design of the second phase of the intervention. Participants were also invited to reflect more generally on teacher incentives (what can help teachers to be more motivated to perform better), accountability (how can we ensure that teachers do deliver on their responsibilities) and monitoring (how do we know what teachers are really doing or teaching).

The conference also marked the launch of a new global initiative to conduct Research in Improving Education Systems (RISE) of which Twaweza and the University of Dar es Salaam are a part.

Kitila Mkumbo, Senior Consultant at Twaweza said “Twaweza and IPA have shown that, combined with direct resource transfers to schools, teacher bonuses can improve learning outcomes. Although learning is driven by a complex range of factors, we have shown, through scientific research, that these elements in combination can bring change. Given the promises of the campaign trail and the fifth phase government’s focus on improving service delivery and the lives of ordinary citizens, we hope this research will be heard at the highest levels. We finally have concrete evidence of what works to ensure children learn. The challenge now is how to scale this up in a sustainable way.”

Aidan Eyakuze, Executive Director of Twaweza, said “Teachers are where learning starts and ends. Yet, as with much of our public sector, there are critical elements required to ensure that teachers deliver on their promise to the next generation of Tanzanians. We need evidence – on how best to train our teachers, how to ensure that every shilling we use for education is invested wisely and for maximum impact. We also need incentives –public servants are currently neither rewarded for excellent performance, nor penalized for failing to do their jobs properly. Finally, we must monitor what is really happening; was the teacher in school today? Was the doctor polite to the patient? These are the basis for a strong public sector that can deliver services well to citizens. Twaweza is proud to be making a positive contribution to these vital aspects of how services are delivered to citizens.”

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For more information:
Risha Chande, Senior Communications Advisor, Twaweza
e: [email protected] | t: (+255) (0) 656 657 559

Notes to Editors
  • Twaweza works on enabling children to learn, citizens to exercise agency and governments to be more open and responsive in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. We have programs, staff and offices across all three countries, and a globally respected practice of learning, monitoring and evaluation. Our flagship programs include Uwezo, Africa’s largest annual citizen assessment to assess children’s learning levels across hundreds of thousands of households, and Sauti za Wananchi, Africa’s first nationally representative mobile phone survey. We undertake effective public and policy engagement, through powerful media partnerships and global leadership of initiatives such as the Open Government Partnership
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