Distribution of teachers

Teachers’ deployment systems must be based on the principles of equity, effectiveness, and efficiency (IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2017; IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2016c). This is of vital importance to allow all children, regardless of their geographical location or socio-economic status, to receive a quality education. Special attention should be placed on marginalized children, since allocating quality teachers is crucial to close their learning gaps (Luschei, and Chudgar, 2015). 

References
IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. 2016c. Teacher allocation and utilization in Africa. Working Paper. Dakar: IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000259340

IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. 2017. ‘Teacher deployment in basic education in Africa’. In: Blog IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. Retrieved from: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/blog/teacher-deployment-in-basic-education-in-africa

Luschei, T.F; Chudgar, A. 2015. Evolution of policies on teacher deployment to disadvantaged areas. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2015. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000232454?posInSet=5&queryId=68c7ad44-8000-4ed9-a08d-5d06872f3d58

Promising policy options

Carefully plan deployment systems to distribute teachers equitably

Careful planning is fundamental when trying to have an equitable, balanced distribution of teachers across a country or a region. Designing these systems requires policymakers to reflect on the criteria used for teacher distribution and to analyse which indicator is used to determine teacher allocation in schools.  Two main indicators are particularly important to take into consideration:

  • The pupil-to-teacher ratio (PTR) is the result of the division of the number of pupils in the cycle –for instance, primary education– by the number of teachers working in that cycle (IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2016c).
  • Pedagogical groups are defined as ‘all the pupils taught by the same teacher in a classroom at the same time, regardless of whether these pupils are in the same grade or not’. In the primary cycle, one teacher is commonly assigned to one pedagogical group, thus multiple countries base their teacher allocation on this criterion, rather than on the number of students. Yet, since the number of pupils per pedagogical groups varies greatly, attention should be paid to ensure an equitable allocation of teachers.

In comparison, in the secondary cycle, multiple teachers teach a pedagogical group. The analysis relies on the comparison between the number of hours delivered by teachers in a specific subject and the number of hours pedagogical groups are entitled to in each subject. For more information consult IIEP-UNESCO, 2016c.

Analyse existent allocations (this can be done through the Education Sector Analysis ESA) at the national level to allow decision-makers to determine if ‘governments have a sufficient number of teachers relative to national standards’ (IIEP-Pôle de Dakar, 2016c: 4), making sure the standards are realistic (e.g. the Global Partnership for Education GPE recommends that countries with teacher shortage should attempt to reach a PTR of 40:1 (Nkengne and Marin, 2018).) If the PTR is higher than the standard, recruitment processes should be enhanced.

Perform analysis at the local level (province, district, community or school) to evaluate if teachers are being equitably allocated throughout the country. Having this information in the form of maps will be particularly useful, as it is easier to recognise spatial disparities. Recognise and address existing disparities (IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2016b).

Analyse the degree of randomness in teacher allocation by assessing whether the allocation process is equitable or rational –if teachers’ allocation is based on the set criteria– or if it due to other factors (for more information consult IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2016b), and address the issues found through the ESA concerning teacher deployment throughout the Education Sector Plan (ESP). Ensure an equitable teacher deployment, which takes into account the quality of the teachers being deployed and guarantee that marginalised children are getting access to quality teachers (for more information on teacher quality consult Policy pages Teacher training and Teaching skills) (IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2016a).

Develop a clear and transparent regulatory framework. Some of the criteria to keep in mind are:

  • the allocation system should be rational, having coherent rules and procedures. Ensure the criteria is equitable, transparent, non-discriminatory, gender-responsive and inclusive, and reinforce the accountability and responsibility of those involved in the process (UNESCO-BREDA, 2009);
  • adapt deployment systems to the institutional context (UNESCO-BREDA and IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2010), seeking broad concertation by involving multiple stakeholders in the process, ensure so the ownership of the framework;
  • share and communicate information about the regulatory framework as well as inform on sanctions for transgressions (IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2016a);
  • address pressing issues affecting an efficient and equitable teacher deployment: for instance, “ghost” teacher phenomenon, where teachers are theoretically allocated in a school but do not work there in reality (IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2016c); and
  • control allocation procedures by ensuring they are free from political motivation. Use integrated information systems for that purpose (see below), and develop professional clear, context-based codes of conduct that involve stakeholders in their development (teachers and teacher unions). Make sure to disseminate these codes, and train staff managers, teachers, and other relevant stakeholders to use them (Göttelmann-Duret and Tournier, 2008). 

Carry out an in-depth analysis of the underlying reasons impeding the correct implementation of the regulatory framework. Acknowledge the difficulties agents face when implementing it (IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2016c).

Include provisions for the transfer of teachers when circumstances change. Note however that the relocation or redeployment to enhance an equitable teacher allocation is a challenging task, which means getting support from stakeholders, such as teachers and their unions, is fundamental (UNESCO-BREDA, 2009).

To ensure teachers’ commitment and motivation, their preferences and needs should be balanced with the schools’ needs (UNESCO, 2015). Make sure to acknowledge:

  • teacher’s family responsibilities;
  • gender-related socio-cultural constraints (specially for rural deployment, consult Gender section in Policy page Teachers deployment and retention)
  • teacher’s disabilities;
  • teachers living with HIV/AIDs and their required health needs; and
  • teachers from ethnic minorities.

(For more information consult Policy page Teachers deployment and retention).

Ensure an equitable, inclusive, gender-responsive recruitment process. The equity within teachers’ deployment is also affected by the composition of the teaching staff. Hire enough female teachers, teachers with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, teachers living with HIV/AIDs.

References
Göttelmann-Duret, G.; Tournier, B. 2008. Crucial Management Aspects of Equitable Teacher Provision. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2009. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000178721

IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. 2016a. Experience Sharing Workshop for More Effective Management of Teacher Allocation. Workshop Report, Dakar, 11-13 July 2016. Dakar: IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000259340

IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. 2016b. Pôle Mag #24 Feature: Teacher Allocation. Dakar: IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. Retrieved from : https://poledakar.iiep.unesco.org/sites/default/files/ckeditor_files/pol-_polemag_n24_en_lowdef.pdf

IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. 2016c. Teacher allocation and utilization in Africa. Working Paper. Dakar: IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000259340

Nkengne, P.; Marin, L. 2018. ‘How to allocate teachers equitably?’. In: The IIEP Letter, 34 (2). Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000366327

UNESCO-BREDA (UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Education in Africa); IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. 2010. Methodological Guide for the Analysis of Teacher Issues. Teacher Training Initiative for Sub-Sharan Africa (TTISSA) Teacher Policy Development Guide. Dakar: UNESCO-BREDA and IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000190129?posInSet=27&queryId=662e76e3-d47f-4242-aadb-1864e41c99d6

UNESCO-BREDA (UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Education in Africa). 2009. Universal primary education in Africa: The teacher challenge. Dakar: UNESCO-BREDA. Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/universal-primary-education-in-africa-the-teacher-challenge-en.pdf

UNESCO. 2015. Teacher Policy Development Guide. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000235272

Conceive an integrated teacher information system

Having an integrated teacher information system, commonly known as Teacher Education Monitoring Information System (T-EMIS) is a fundamental tool in the determination of the appropriate distribution of teachers in a school system.

The following are some of the benefits of developing an integrated information system which regroups all of teachers’ data (IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2017; IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2016c; Nkengne and Marin, 2018; Göttelmann-Duret and Tournier, 2008):

  • removes political and social factors that may affect the teacher deployment system;
  • makes the deployment process more efficient;
  • allows equity within the deployment to be improved by automatizing the process based on previously set criteria (e.g. seniority, merit). Make sure to involve teachers, teacher unions, and other relevant stakeholders while setting the criteria as qualitative data is essential;
  • tackles down data multiplicity and incoherence;
  • eases the communications among the multiple stakeholders involved in the process at various levels;
  • reduces infrastructure and maintenance costs related to the existence of various information systems; and
  • provides clear, concise, solid evidence essential for policy-making processes (although it relies on the validity and reliability of the data collected and its use, for more information consult Policy pages Quality data and Use of existing data).

Some examples of integrated management tools that have been developed are the Integrated human resources management tool (MIRADOR) in Senegal, the Tool for the automation of transfers (GESTMUT) in Côte d’Ivoire, and the Teacher Management Information System (TMIS) in Rwanda. For more information consult (IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2016a; IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2017.

An integrated information system supports a deployment strategy based on current needs, with posts linked to the school, not to the teacher. Research reveals that linking posts to teachers leads to hiring temporary teachers and thus creates significant imbalances in the provision of teachers (Göttelmann-Duret and Tournier, 2008).

Ensure the collection process yields valid and reliable data. Decentralize the collection process (recommended when technical capability exits) and provide capacity-building opportunities to officers involved in the process.

Cover all categories of personnel within the T-EMIS. Although keeping non-tenured teachers’ databases up-to-date can be challenging, it is crucial to get a comprehensive picture of teachers’ deployment (e.g. in the year 2000, Benin created a special database and unit for the management of contract teachers within the Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Education and in 2003 one for community teachers).

Define the frequency of the data collection process (IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2016a). It is recommended to evaluate the PTR or the number of pupils per pedagogical group, once or twice per year, while teacher administrative acts should be updated in real-time in the system (transfers, leave, sick leave). Data collection process is of utmost importance.

Maintain the data updated. The following information should be collected to identify teacher needs and ensure efficient deployment:

  • Information on infrastructure (number of schools, plans to build or extend facilities, their location, the workload to be provided on the basis of the number of classes or pedagogical groups);
  • Information on pupils (enrolment by school and area, a projection of the school-aged population, class organization – multi-grade, multi-shifting, etc.); and
  • Information on teachers (number by level, levels of qualification, experience and training, PTR standards and goals, temporary and permanent departures, transfer requests, absenteeism).’ (IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2016a: 20).  

Ensure the inter-connection of information sources to provide coherent data to all relevant stakeholders. The following aspects should be taken into account (IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2016a):

  • promote data digitization: ICT infrastructure should have a national, regional and local coverage;
  • register teachers through a unique coding system;
  • integrate the systems. Ensure the different information systems and databases are harmonized and integrated in a coherent way;
  • take into consideration the delays of synchronization of data; and
  • perform institutional data mapping. Specify the paths of information and processes and promote a steering committee to control data quality.
References
Göttelmann-Duret, G.; Tournier, B. 2008. Crucial Management Aspects of Equitable Teacher Provision. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2009. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000178721

IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. 2016a. Experience Sharing Workshop for More Effective Management of Teacher Allocation. Workshop Report, Dakar, 11-13 July 2016. Dakar: IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000259340

IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. 2017. ‘Teacher deployment in basic education in Africa’. In: Blog IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. Retrieved from: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/blog/teacher-deployment-in-basic-education-in-africa

UNESCO. 2015. Teacher Policy Development Guide. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000235272

Decentralization of the teacher allocation processes

In a number of places, the decentralisation of the teacher allocation processes and data collection has been implemented as a strategy to: ‘1) enhance the reliability and updating process of the information as it is closer to the source; 2) alleviate the burden on central offices; and 3) increase accessibility and ownership of information to better inform decision-making at local levels’ (Göttelmann-Duret and Tournier, 2008: 7).

Yet, in order for this process to be effective, the following aspects must be taken into consideration:

  • processes must be standardised and regulated (see above);
  • local institutional capacity must be enhanced. Local authorities must be trained in teacher management and in the use of the integrated information systems (see above);
  • implement control allocation procedures at a regional level, ensure they are free from political motivation (see above); and
  • enhance the visibility of teacher deployment among states or regions. Share information about teachers in all of the regions to ‘draw on surplus teachers from others states’ (UNESCO, 2005: 12).
References
Göttelmann-Duret, G.; Tournier, B. 2008. Crucial Management Aspects of Equitable Teacher Provision. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2009. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000178721

IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. 2016a. Experience Sharing Workshop for More Effective Management of Teacher Allocation. Workshop Report, Dakar, 11-13 July 2016. Dakar: IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000259340

IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. 2017. ‘Teacher deployment in basic education in Africa’. In: Blog IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. Retrieved from: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/blog/teacher-deployment-in-basic-education-in-africa

UNESCO. 2005. ‘Implementing Education for All: Teacher and Resource Management in the Context of Decentralization’. In: Education Policies and Strategies 8. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000143851

Provide targeted incentives for hard to staff locations

While deployment systems should take teacher’s preferences into account, there is a definite need to place teachers in less desirable locations, as these areas are often where teacher shortages occur. Deployment policies have a particular effect on equity issues since the less desirable locations with disadvantaged students often end up with the fewest teachers or the least qualified teachers who are newest to the profession (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). Offering targeted incentives for hard to staff locations, to the most qualified teacher candidates, can help overcome this imbalance, placing more effective teachers where they are most needed and where they are willing to serve. Another strategy is to place teachers in remote locations for limited durations, such as a few years, and then allow them location preference in their next deployment. Frequently used incentives include:

  • increased salary;
  • teacher housing (free or subsidized);
  • transport allowances;
  • hardship allowance. For example, Zambia distinguishes rural areas from remote areas in hardship allowances (UNESCO-BREDA, 2009);
  • bonuses, as is the case in The Gambia, where the government implemented progressive bonuses, based on distance from the main road. This has spurred the demand from qualified teachers to work in remote areas (UNESCO-BREDA, 2009);
  • award scheme;
  • choice of next job posting location;
  • smaller class size;
  • scholarships;
  • forgivable loans;
  • specialized and/or faster promotion opportunities. For example, in Mexico, teachers who work in marginalized areas advance more rapidly through the promotion system (Santibañez et al., 2007 cited by Luschei, and Chudgar, 2015).); and
  • priority access to training and career development programmes.

Incentives need to be significant to attract teachers to hard-to-staff locations. They must also be carefully targeted and tied to the specific post. In addition, in order for financial incentives to work in remote rural areas, logistic constraints related to salary payments must be solved (for more information consult Policy page Logistic constraints in paying teachers).

References
IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. 2016a. Experience Sharing Workshop for More Effective Management of Teacher Allocation. Workshop Report, Dakar, 11-13 July 2016. Dakar: IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000259340

IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. 2016b. Pôle Mag #24 Feature: Teacher Allocation. Dakar: IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. Retrieved from : https://poledakar.iiep.unesco.org/sites/default/files/ckeditor_files/pol-_polemag_n24_en_lowdef.pdf

IIEP-UNESCO. 2018. Learning at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Science, Measurement, and Policy in Low-Income Countries. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000265581

Lewin, K.M. 2015. Educational access, equity, and development: Planning to make rights realities. Fundamentals of Educational Planning. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000235003/PDF/235003eng.pdf.multi

Luschei, T.F; Chudgar, A. 2015. Evolution of policies on teacher deployment to disadvantaged areas. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2015. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000232454?posInSet=5&queryId=68c7ad44-8000-4ed9-a08d-5d06872f3d58

UNESCO-BREDA (UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Education in Africa). 2009. Universal primary education in Africa: The teacher challenge. Dakar: UNESCO-BREDA. Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/universal-primary-education-in-africa-the-teacher-challenge-en.pdf

Other policy options

School-based deployment systems and local hiring: the “market” system

Rather than a centralised deployment system, some countries have systems in which the schools are in charge of recruiting and hiring teachers, and candidates apply directly to their school of choice. This can help increase teacher’s commitments to particular schools and ensure a better match between the needs of schools and expectations of teachers, preventing teacher attrition in the future.

Such a system can be particularly effective in rural areas that have needs for candidates with specific relevant backgrounds. Schools can focus their hiring efforts on local candidates who have the background, language and cultural understanding required for the positions and wish to serve in those areas.

However, measures need to be in place to still ensure the equitable distribution of qualified teachers among all schools, nationwide.

  • systems need to be in place to ensure transparency, accountability, and equity;
  • central and regional authorities still need to regulate the equitable distribution of teachers;
  • strong school leadership and management is required;
  • set-up provincial training centres to facilitate the local recruitment process. For example, training centres have been established at the provincial level in the Central African Republic, thus individuals who join the training know that they will serve that particular province (UNESCO-BREDA, 2009);
  • attract individuals from ethnic or indigenous minorities to teach in their own communities, reservations or quotas can be set. This type of policy has been implemented in Mexico and India (Luschei, and Chudgar, 2015);
  • provide in-service training to local teachers when needed;
  • provide sufficient support to teachers in rural schools, including equitable access to professional development opportunities, and efficient salary payments; and
  • offer incentives for hard to staff locations to attract quality teachers (see above).
References
Nkengne, P.; Marin, L. 2018. ‘How to allocate teachers equitably?’. In: The IIEP Letter, 34 (2). Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000366327

Luschei, T.F; Chudgar, A. 2015. Evolution of policies on teacher deployment to disadvantaged areas. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2015. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000232454?posInSet=5&queryId=68c7ad44-8000-4ed9-a08d-5d06872f3d58

UNESCO-BREDA (UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Education in Africa). 2009. Universal primary education in Africa: The teacher challenge. Dakar: UNESCO-BREDA. Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/universal-primary-education-in-africa-the-teacher-challenge-en.pdf

Contract and community teachers

The hybridization of the teacher workforce is a result, in many countries, of ‘the need to expand the teaching force quickly and with limited resources’ (Luschei, and Chudgar, 2015:6). However, despite the flexibility that contract and community teachers allow, there are certain elements that need to be taken into account when considering this option for an education system:

  • contract and community are not civil servants. They are contracted for a specific post by the communities, schools and sometimes the Ministry of Education.
  • Ministries of Education must acknowledge the equity implications of this policy. For this temporary measure to work and therefore provide quality education to all students, contract and community teachers must be provided with high-quality training opportunities and must require minimum qualifications. For example, in Madagascar, community teachers must have the required qualifications known as BEPC (UNESCO-BREDA, 2009).
  • Community and contract teachers are usually paid precarious salaries.

This measure should always remain temporary. Local, regional and national educational authorities must make an effort to integrate them into the regular teacher workforce (Luschei, and Chudgar, 2015; IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar, 2016b.).

References
Göttelmann-Duret, G.; Tournier, B. 2008. Crucial Management Aspects of Equitable Teacher Provision. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2009. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000178721

IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. 2016b. Pôle Mag #24 Feature: Teacher Allocation. Dakar: IIEP-UNESCO Pôle de Dakar. Retrieved from : https://poledakar.iiep.unesco.org/sites/default/files/ckeditor_files/pol-_polemag_n24_en_lowdef.pdf

Luschei, T.F; Chudgar, A. 2015. Evolution of policies on teacher deployment to disadvantaged areas. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2015. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000232454?posInSet=5&queryId=68c7ad44-8000-4ed9-a08d-5d06872f3d58

UNESCO-BREDA (UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Education in Africa). 2009. Universal primary education in Africa: The teacher challenge. Dakar: UNESCO-BREDA. Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/universal-primary-education-in-africa-the-teacher-challenge-en.pdf

Updated on 2021-06-16

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