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Time to Teach

Teacher attendance and time on task in West and Central Africa
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in West and Central Africa

Author(s)

Ximena Jativa; Despina Karamperidou; Michelle Mills; Stefania Vindrola; Hanna Wedajo; Andrea Dsouza; Jessica Bergmann

 

Publication series:
Innocenti Research Report

No. of pages: 68

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(PDF, 9.36 MB)

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Abstract

Teachers are the most important drivers of students’ academic achievement and they are at the heart of learning recovery efforts. Finding out the bottlenecks and necessary conditions for ensuring teachers’ presence at school and in the classroom is essential. Time to Teach is a mixed methods research initiative that aims to find out the contextual, working conditions and policy factors impeding primary school teacher attendance in 11 West and Central African countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, The Gambia, and Togo. 

The study considers teacher attendance as multi-dimensional, in four distinct forms. Teachers were asked to about their attendance in relation to: (1) being school; (2) being punctual (arriving and leaving on time); (3) being the classroom; and (4) spending sufficient time on task. Evidence is drawn from national, system-wide qualitative data collection and school observations, and a quantitative survey of 1,673 teachers working in 234 purposively selected primary schools. While primary data were collected prior to the COVID-19 school closures (in the 2018/2019 school year), the study provides important insights on how the pandemic has exacerbated chronic challenges of education systems that impact teacher attendance and is therefore informative for policy, both in the current COVID-19 era and beyond.


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Microsite

Time to Teach

New #TimeToTeach regional report on teacher attendance & time on task in West and Central Africa provides insights into the drivers of teacher absenteeism, to address the learning crisis around the world.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa
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Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa

There is a learning crisis. Fifty-three per cent of children in low- and middle-income countries are in ‘learning poverty’, i.e. they cannot read and understand a simple text by the end of primary school age. In sub- Saharan Africa, the learning poverty rate is 87 per cent overall, and ranges from 40 per cent to as high as 99 per cent in the 21 countries with available data. Teachers attending lessons and spending quality time on task is a critical prerequisite to learning. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, teacher absenteeism ranges from 15 to 45 per cent. Teacher absenteeism and reduced time on task wastes valuable financial resources, short-changes students and is one of the most cumbersome obstacles on the path toward the education Sustainable Development Goal and to the related vision of the new UNICEF education strategy: Every Child Learns. Whilst the stark numbers are available to study, and despite teacher absenteeism being a foremost challenge for education systems in Africa, the evidence base on how policies and practices can influence teacher attendance remains scant. Time to Teach (TTT) is a research initiative that looks at primary school teacher attendance in eight countries and territories in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region: the Comoros; Kenya; Rwanda, Puntland, State of Somalia; South Sudan; the United Republic of Tanzania, mainland; the United Republic of Tanzania, Zanzibar; and Uganda. Its primary objective is to identify factors affecting the various forms of teacher attendance, which include being at school, being punctual, being in the classroom, and teaching when in the classroom, and use this evidence to inform the design and implementation of teacher policies.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Ghana
Publication

Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Ghana

Education has been a priority for Ghana since its independence, with current expenditures representing double the average for Africa and other developing nations. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government aimed to enhance the quality of education and teacher attendance, including improving school infrastructure and providing textbooks and incentive packages to attract more teachers to rural and remote areas. However, the disruption of the pandemic forced school closures and economic consequences, threatening to push millions of vulnerable children out of the education system, widen inequalities and impede progress on the country’s development goals. The Ghana Time to Teach research project set out to capture teachers’ voices and provide a comprehensive understanding of teacher attendance in pre-tertiary schools in the country. Although data collection for this study was completed before the onset of COVID-19, it provides valuable insights into how the national education system can be strengthened to improve teacher motivation, attendance, and time on task. Detailed findings, analysis and policy implications can be found in the report.
Time to Teach: Understanding teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Liberia
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Time to Teach: Understanding teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Liberia

In Liberia, recurring school absenteeism and post abandonment are considered critical obstacles to quality education. Although national political actors recognize absenteeism as a major impediment to quality education, studies on the factors influencing teacher attendance in the country, including national policies and practices at the community and school levels, remain scarce. Also, there is a lack of knowledge on the direct and indirect ways the coronavirus pandemic and the measures adopted to contain it impact primary school teachers. This Time to Teach study seeks to fill these knowledge gaps. The report provides valuable insights into how the COVID-19 crisis may exacerbate existing education system challenges that affect teacher attendance and time on task. It also collects and strengthens the evidence base on the factors affecting the various dimensions of primary school teacher attendance to inform the design and implementation of teacher policies.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in secondary schools in Rwanda
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Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in secondary schools in Rwanda

In Rwanda, over 3.5 million children were estimated to be out of school in 2020 when the country closed all schools as a safety measure against the spread of COVID-19. The government quickly developed a national response plan and started the process of hiring teachers, constructing classrooms and training in-service teachers in remote-learning pedagogies. Prior to the lockdown, schools were already experiencing challenges, including low attendance rates. In the post-COVID-19 environment, learning losses are expected to be significant, especially on the acquisition of foundational skills, and will hinder the ministry's efforts to achieve the learning outcomes of its new competence-based curriculum. A Time to Teach study in 2020 in Rwanda found that low teacher attendance was a common problem in primary schools. This study seeks to support the Ministry of Education by providing a comprehensive understanding of secondary school teacher attendance in the country. It builds on findings from the primary schools' study, to understand how attendance challenges may be similar or different across education levels, and more importantly, how these can help inform teacher policy design and implementation.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in in primary schools in Kenya
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Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in in primary schools in Kenya

Teacher absenteeism constitutes a significant barrier to achieving quality education in many low- and middle-income countries globally, where teachers’ school absence rates range from 3 per cent to 27 per cent. In Kenya, where primary education has made remarkable improvements in recent years, teacher absenteeism remains a foremost challenge for the education system. In 2102, the World Bank estimated the average rate of teacher absenteeism from schools across the country at 15 per cent and the average rate of teacher absenteeism from the classroom at 42 per cent. A 2016 study conducted in 4,529 Kenyan primary schools found that on average, one in ten teachers was absent from school and that half of all schools had a teacher absenteeism rate in excess of 10 per cent. While the stark numbers are available, the evidence base on what factors, policies and practices affect teacher attendance in Kenya remains scant. Time to Teach (TTT) targets this knowledge gap. Its primary objective is to identify factors affecting the various forms of primary school teacher attendance and to use this evidence to inform the design and implementation of teacher-related policies. Specifically, the study looks at four distinct forms of teacher attendance: being in school; being punctual; being in the classroom; and spending sufficient time on task while in the classroom.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in in primary schools in Uganda
Publication

Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in in primary schools in Uganda

Teacher absenteeism constitutes a significant barrier to achieving learning outcomes in many low- and middle-income countries, where teacher school absence rates range from 3 to 27 per cent. In Uganda, primary education has achieved several milestones resulting in significant gains, including over 90 per cent literacy rate throughout the different districts, 94 per cent of the teaching force trained, and ongoing commitment from the Ministry of Education and Sports towards enhancing the provision of education. Uganda has also achieved gender parity in primary school enrolments, which in 2016 was at 84.1 per cent for girls and 83.3 per cent for boys. There are, however, ongoing challenges that put pressures on current gains and future goals. UNICEF Uganda estimates at least 60 per cent of Uganda's teachers are not present in the classroom at half of all public schools. Regional observations indicate teacher absence is a much larger issue in Uganda than other neighbouring countries, and that their subject knowledge is lower, comparatively. The Time to Teach (TTT) study seeks to support the ministry in its efforts to strengthen teachers’ role in the school in order to increase their time on task. 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: being in school; being punctual; being in the classroom; and spending sufficient time on task while in the classroom.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in in primary schools in Puntland, State of Somalia
Publication

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

Teacher absenteeism constitutes a significant barrier to achieving national educational goals in many low- and 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 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. 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: being in school; being punctual; being in the classroom; and spending sufficient time on task while in the classroom.