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KiuFunzaII: teacher performance pay improves early-grade learning outcomes

After a two year trial, Twaweza, in collaboration with COSTECH and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), has shown that cash on delivery (or performance pay) for teachers can significantly improve learning outcomes. The results show positive effects on student learning with pupils learning in one year what would normally cost them 15 months to learn.

The results of the pilot project known as KiuFunza, the largest of its kind in East Africa, were presented during a discussion event with education stakeholders in Dar es Salaam.

Over the two years of KiuFunza, Twaweza and IPA tested the following initiatives in close to 200 schools across 21 districts in Tanzania:

  • Rewarding levels of learning in a one group of schools (Stadi)
  •  Rewarding value-added learning in the second group of schools (Mashindano)

Both models were tested to compare results achieved against a group of control schools whose teachers were not given the incentive. While Mashindano is more complex to understand than Stadi, it is also more equitable for the teachers, since students compete with peers at their own level. Stadi is easier to understand but it also tends to advantage to teachers with higher-ability students (often in urban schools).

The average bonus earned by subject teachers is TZS 266,315 or about 42% of the average net monthly wage in 2016. The lowest bonus paid was TZS 8,100 and a few teachers received nothing. But the highest paid teacher earned TZS 3.6 million, or about six months of the average teacher salary.

Aside from improving learning, performance pay is also supported by the majority of teachers:

  • Nine out of ten teachers in trial schools support the idea of performance-based pay
  •  When asked whether the government should include a performance-based bonus scheme in a future salary review, 63% of teachers say yes (while 37% prefer a flat increase).

In 2016

  1. There were 134 schools in 21 districts in the trial and 60 schools used as a comparison or control group
  2. A total of 65,643 pupils were tested including those in the control schools.
  3. In total, 48,042 pupils were in schools with the incentives in place and were therefore supported to learn more than their peers

These results are from the second phase of KiuFunza. The first phase trialed the direct delivery of capitation grants to schools (which was subsequently adopted by the government as policy in January 2016) and cash on delivery for teachers – separately and in combination. This phase found a significant positive impact on learning outcomes from a combination of teacher incentives and direct delivery of capitation funds. The second phase builds on this to trial different models of incentive systems since the capitation grant delivery model has already been adopted by the government.

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. In addition, KiuFunza (and other studies) clearly show that teacher motivation and accountability are lacking. During surprise visits to primary schools in 2016:

  • 41% of teachers were in class, 27% were not at school and 32% were in school but out of class.
  • The estimated cost of this teacher absenteeism from school is TZS 793 billion every year.

Read more: KiuFunza teacher incentives Twaweza

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