Are teachers teaching? And do they understand their subjects?

Are teachers in East Africa's primary schools actually teaching? And do they understand their subject matter? Revealing new charts compiled by Twaweza's Open Development Consultant, Ben Taylor (@mtega), using data from the World Bank Service Delivery Indicator Survey, examine these questions.

The first set of charts explores teachers' so-called "mgomo baridi", or "cold strike": not officially on strike, but seriously demotivated and not putting in the effort that the government expects of them. Some may be absent from their schools, others at school but not in the classroom. 

The second set asks whether teachers really understand what they are teaching. This is based on tests taken by Grade 4 / Standard 4 teachers, set according to the primary school curriculum.

The charts provide pause and food for thought, on aspects that have not received sufficient attention to date. Tanzania, which is considering a new Education Act, comes at the bottom of both indicators. Will the proposed new law and efforts underway now address these crucial challenges?

The charts are based on data collected under a World Bank project to monitor health and education service delivery in selected countries - the Service Deliver Indicators (SDI) initiative. Researchers visited schools and health facilities unannounced, to check how many teachers / health facility staff are actually there, and how much work is being done. They also observe whether health workers are performing to the expected standard in terms of adherence to clinical guidelines and diagnostic abilities, and asked grade 4 (standard 4 in Tanzania) teachers to take tests based on the Primary School curriculum. So far they have covered four countries, including Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.

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