Contract teachers

Contract teachers are hired on a temporary basis, instead of having a permanent contract. Even though they are not civil servants, they are usually employed by the government as well.

In various contexts, there is a wide range of arrangements under the term contract teachers, ‘including volunteers, parents, community members, student teachers, recent trainees fulfilling national services obligations, expatriate teachers, retired teachers. In some countries, contract teachers [are] paid precariously through the communities, through the parents, leading to uncertain salary conditions. In other countries, there [are] much more formally-instituted government approaches to contract teacher hiring and payment’ (Chudgar, Muralidharan and Honeyman, 2017).

Usually contract teachers cannot apply for professional advancement, although in certain countries processes have been developed to ‘recruit contract teachers as permanent staff, who can then benefit from the career schemes in place.’ (Tournier et al., 2019: 25).

In many contexts, contract teachers represent a significant percentage of the teaching workforce. Indeed, as a response to the substantial expansion in access to education over the last decades, many countries increased their teaching workforce ‘often by lowering entry qualifications and recruiting non-professional and contract teachers, loosening the standards for entry into the profession, and reducing the length of teacher training. This, in turn, contributed to a certain de-professionalization of the occupation, ultimately reducing its status and appeal’ (Tournier et al., 2019: 19).

Tournier, B.; Chimier, C.; Childress, D.; Raudonyte, I. 2019. Teacher career reforms: Learning from experience. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from:

To explore further
Chudgar, A.; Muralidharan, K.; Honeyman, C. 2017. Contract teachers: effective policy solution or inadequate response to deeper problems? IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. Accessed 21 April 2020: 

Duthilleul, Y. 2005. Lessons learnt in the use of ‘contract’ teachers. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from:

Kingdon, G.; Aslam, M.; Rawal, S.; Das, S. 2013. Are contract teachers and para-teachers a cost-effective intervention to address teacher shortage and improve learning outcomes? London: DFID. Retrieved from:

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