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Incentives can help put the creativity back into teaching

When properly motivated teachers can use their creativity to help children learn, even in the most difficult of circumstances.  This was one of the observations during a policy discussion held around KiuFunza in Dodoma. The event aimed to kickstart discussions with a small group of policy-makers around the possibility of implementing cash on delivery for teachers at scale in Tanzania.

The discussion covered some of the critical design decisions that need to be considered to implement performance incentives for teachers.

What is the indicator targeted and paid for?

Generally the idea would be to award value-added learning, the difference between what a student can do before and after a year of schooling. However this risks weakersudents being excluded to boost pass rates. A model from Brazil which combines pass rates and progress through school or flow provides a possible solution.

Who should be paid?

The main options here are individual teachers or groups of them. Using national examination data would necessitate rewarding teachers in groups. For example Grade 4 exam results could be used to reward teachers of a specific subject in Grades 1-4.

How much should be awarded as a bonus?

The higher the bonus the higher the budget but at the same time the incentive offer has to be compelling enough for teachers to want to work harder to earn it.

Which schools?

Should incentive payments be rolled out in all schools? Given the inequality shown in Uwezo learning data, teacher incentives can be targeted at disadvantaged schools or areas to increase equity.

The discussion was generally positive with many present expressing support for the ide although there was still naturally still some skepticism. A further event to award the best performing teachers and discuss the idea with MPs and other actors. Follow the event on Twitter.

Read more: KiuFunza learning outcomes

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