Twaweza experiments with direct Capitation Grants and teacher Cash on Delivery

Recent nationwide learning assessments (Uwezo, 2013) have documented the low levels of learning in Tanzanian schools. Low levels of learning are driven in part by limited accountability in the education system, which is reflected in the frequent absence of teachers from schools. This is further compounded by the resource constraints that schools face. School budgets in East-Africa are spent mainly on fixed teacher salaries without emphasis on the delivery of skills to pupils.

To understand better and stimulate debate about what drives learning in Tanzanian primary schools Twaweza started a large scale randomized evaluation in 2013, in partnership with the Tanzanian Commission for Science and Technology, Ministry and District level education authorities, Tanzanian primary school head teachers and Innovations for Poverty Action, a US based research organization. This randomized experiment is called KiuFunza, or “thirst for learning”. The aim is to examine the effectiveness of (1) teacher “Cash on Delivery”, a teacher bonus that depends on the skills that students in their class master; and (2) sending Capitation Grants in full directly to the school bank accounts; relative to “business as usual”, represented by a control group.

Specifically, in 2013-2014 Twaweza compared the student learning outcomes between four different interventions: one in which we provide schools with extra resources through capitation (or per pupil) grants, one in which we provide teachers with a bonus based on the performance of their students in an externally administered exam, one in which schools received both programs, and the control group which received no support. Overall, we find limited evidence that only providing resources improves learning outcomes, but sending the resources directly to school bank accounts ensures that the schools suffer significantly less shortages of learning materials. Moreover, we do find some evidence that incentives improve learning outcomes, especially when coupled with extra resources.


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