Report: Building effective teacher salary systems in fragile and conflict-affected states

Excerpt from the report entitled Building effective teacher salary systems in fragile and conflict-affected states: 

'Why are good teacher salary systems important? 
As mentioned in Chapter 1, teacher pay is directly linked with expanding access to schooling and if teachers are paid late, paid an insufficient amount or not paid at all, this will directly impact on their motivation, morale and presence in the classroom. This will make teaching an unattractive profession, reduce the time teachers spend in the classroom and thus impact negatively on children’s learning. This chapter briefly outlines two key issues common to teacher salary systems in developing countries.
2.1 The large size of the teaching force in the civil service 
A nation’s teaching force typically makes up the largest portion of its civil servant cohort, and is
often even larger than its military (UNESCO, 2011). Teacher salaries in Africa make up a significant portion of a nation’s education budget and invariably represent the largest percentage of recurrent expenditure under education. A UNESCO Institute of Statistics (2011) survey of 34 countries in SubSaharan Africa showed that spending on teaching personnel alone – which included teacher and administrative salaries as well as investment in professional development – accounted for more than 50 per cent of total public spending on education. When only recurrent expenditure is considered, teacher salaries comprise an even larger portion of the budget: 69, 56 and 55 per cent of recurrent expenditure devoted to salaries at the primary, lower secondary and upper secondary levels respectively (UIS, 2011). 
2.2 The link between teacher salaries, pupil-teacher ratios and quality 
Lack of support for teacher salaries can lead to great difficulties in the retention of quality teachers resulting in a direct negative impact on educational quality (Sommers, 2005). Education systems that do not have the financial resources to recruit additional teachers typically accommodate expanding student enrolment rates by increasing the number of students in the classroom (UIS, 2011). After school fees were abolished in Uganda in 1996, for example, the average primary pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) grew from 35:1 in 1995 to 59:1 in 1998, although it has since fallen to 49:1 in 2009 (De Kemp, 2008 and UIS Data Centre, 2011). Smaller PTRs generally have a positive effect on the classroom environment and on the quality of learning, particularly in the early grades, as smaller PTRs lead to increased levels of time-on-task as well as individualised attention paid to students (Boissière, 2004).  
Likewise, larger PTRs can have a negative impact on education quality. An education system’s inability to provide support for teacher salaries and recruit additional teachers to meet the needs of increasing student enrolments can thus have a negative impact on the overall quality of the learning environment and in many cases on the quality of student learning.' 

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