Logistic constraints in paying teachers

While there has been a lot of emphasis on the importance of increasing the financial remuneration of teachers, less attention and resources have been directed towards ensuring the proper functioning of the teacher salary system itself, which is responsible for calculating, managing and dispersing teacher salaries. When teacher salary systems are not operating properly, teachers may be paid late, paid only partially or not paid at all. These issues result in poor teacher motivation and teacher attrition, and prevents recruitment of new qualified candidates, further constraining what may already be a short supply of available teachers.

The main components of teacher salary systems include information management systems including the payroll and EMIS/TMIS, as well as financial management systems including the banking system, the public financial management system, and the auditing system (see Annex 1).

It is important to consider the specific country context, to determine which elements of the system are not functioning properly, and the appropriate and feasible solutions to address the identified issues.

The policy strategies presented here are organized following the thematic areas presented in the Brookings report Building effective teacher salary systems in fragile and conflict-affected areas (Dolan et al., 2012) to emphasize this connection between the particular challenges in the “gears” of the system and relevant policy options.

References
Dolan, J.; Golden, A.; Ndaruhutse, S.; Withrop, R. 2012.  Building effective teacher salary systems in fragile and conflict-affected states. Washington D.C.: The Center for Universal Education at Brookings. Retrieved from: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/09_CfBT_BrookingsReport.pdf

Promising policy options

Addressing issues in the payroll

A teacher payroll system usually consists of the one-time processes of teacher selection and appointment, and the recurring steps of preparing pay-lists, approving lists, paying out salaries, checking payments, and checking outputs (see Annex 1). Issues can occur in any one of these steps, which will affect the proper functioning of the entire system.

Information on the payroll needs to be accurate and up-to-date, there needs to be sufficient capacity to carry out the different steps of the process and an effective monitoring and accountability system in place to prevent leakage and corruption. Governments may face challenges of limited technical resources to ensure that the payroll processes occur on time and that payments are delivered to the correct recipients. Many countries have issues of “ghost teachers” or teachers who are not actually occupying the posts for which they are receiving remuneration. A number of proposed policy options exist:

  • capacity building and technical assistance to departments in charge of payroll management;
  • regular review and management of payroll records, with established procedures to keep records up-to-date (e.g. in Liberia, payroll systems were restructured so that every month school principals receive the payroll lists and confirm its accuracy before salary payments are distributed (Mulkeen, 2010));
  • involve high-level education stakeholders in overseeing payroll reform;
  • improve connections between the payroll and EMIS;
  • create automated payroll systems (see Developing basic computerized payroll systems below);
  • ensure visibility of the entire payroll by the Ministry of Education, and improve communication networks between the Ministry of Education and Finance Ministries and/or departments involved in the salary system;
  • submit payroll requests directly to the Ministry of Education rather than the Ministry of Education;
  • conduct field verification/headcount exercise to verify the number of existing teachers. This is more effective if based on already existing data set, requires support from central management, and is not a replacement for continuous monitoring;
  • decentralize payments to local government or schools, which means technical support and oversight still provided by the Ministry of Education, ensuring that sufficient capacity exists at local levels, and that clearly defined roles and responsibilities exist on each level;
  • use teacher identity cards to reduce the number of ghost teachers on the payroll; and
  • use teacher’s mobile money networks for salary payments (see mobile banking in the section below).

Annex 1

Source: Goldsmith, C. 2010. ‘Teachers’ pay – making the pipe work’. In: The role of improving teachers’ payroll systems for education service delivery and state legitimacy in selected conflict-affected countries in Africa. Paper commissioned for the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2011, The hidden crisis: Armed conflict and education. Retrieved from:    http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0019/001913/191353e.pdf

Developing basic computerized payroll systems

When the development of more advanced information management systems is unrealistic due to circumstances, simple computerized payroll systems can be created as was done in South Sudan. They used MS Excel with built-in macros that automated calculation of salary, and created records of pay sheets. Hard copies of the pay sheets are distributed to the different levels at school, country state, and federal levels. This allowed schools to print out pay sheets and pay salaries themselves, preventing teachers from having to travel to collect their pay (Goldsmith, 2010). Expertise on payroll maintenance should be developed within the administration, to allow the computerized payroll system to be sufficiently updated and modified according to the administration’s needs.

References
Dolan, J.; Golden, A.; Ndaruhutse, S.; Withrop, R. 2012.  Building effective teacher salary systems in fragile and conflict-affected states. Washington D.C.: The Center for Universal Education at Brookings. Retrieved from: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/09_CfBT_BrookingsReport.pdf

Goldsmith, C. 2010. ‘Teachers’ pay – making the pipe work’. In: The role of improving teachers’ payroll systems for education service delivery and state legitimacy in selected conflict-affected countries in Africa. Paper commissioned for the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2011, The hidden crisis: Armed conflict and education. Retrieved from:    http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0019/001913/191353e.pdf

Mulkeen, A. 2010d. Teachers in Anglophone Africa: Issues in teacher supply, training, and management. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/278200-1099079877269/Teachers_Anglophone_Africa.pdf

The World Bank. 2010a. Overview of the workshop on improving teacher management systems in challenging situations. Nairobi: World Bank. Retrieved from: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/Report_on_Teacher_Management_Workshop_FinalMar2010.pdf

Turrent, V. 2012. The teacher salary system in Sierra Leone. Washington D.C.: The Center for Universal Education at Brookings. Retrieved from: https://www.educationdevelopmenttrust.com/~/media/EDT/Reports/Research/2012/r-building-effective-teacher-salary-systems-sierra-2012.pdf

Improving EMIS/TMIS to support salary systems

Education Management and Information Systems (EMIS) and Teacher Management Systems (TMIS) are used to collect vital data on teachers and are important tools for monitoring the teacher supply and providing information for teacher payroll systems. EMIS/TMIS systems may either not exist, or the systems are not efficient and are not linked with payrolls. Some countries have difficulties when their educational systems are decentralized, and EMIS software is not fully developed or available for district levels who now have teacher payroll responsibilities. A number of proposed policy options exist:

  • use computerised system to link and triangulate information between the payroll, EMIS/TMIS, and headcount exercises;
  • use new technologies, such as mobile phones and tablets, to increase EMIS/TMIS access;
  • improve connections and integration between centralized and decentralized EMIS/TMIS systems;
  • integrate community-based teachers into the system; and
  • support from donors to improve EMIS/TMIS systems and data collection.
References
Dolan, J.; Golden, A.; Ndaruhutse, S.; Withrop, R. 2012. Building effective teacher salary systems in fragile and conflict-affected states. Washington D.C.: The Center for Universal Education at Brookings. Retrieved from: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/09_CfBT_BrookingsReport.pdf

The World Bank. 2010a. Overview of the workshop on improving teacher management systems in challenging situations. Nairobi: World Bank. Retrieved from: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/Report_on_Teacher_Management_Workshop_FinalMar2010.pdf
Additional resources on developing and improving EMIS/TMIS systems
Abdul-Hamid, H. 2014. SABER: What matters most for education management information systems: A framework paper. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://wbgfiles.worldbank.org/documents/hdn/ed/saber/supporting_doc/Background/EMIS/Frmework_SABER-EMIS.pdf

Bernbaum, M.; Moses, K. 2011. Education management information systems: A guide to education project design, and implementation based on experiences from EQUIP2 projects in Malawi, Uganda and Zambia. Washington D.C.: USAID (The United States Agency for International Development). Retrieved from: https://www.fhi360.org/sites/default/files/media/documents/EQUIP2%20LL%20EMIS%20AAR.pdf

Moses, K.; Toro, V. 2001. Education management information systems (EMIS): Available software and guidelines for selection. TechKnowLogia. Retrieved from: https://slidex.tips/queue/management-information-systems-education-available-software-and-guidelines-for-s?&queue_id=-1&v=1539008860&u=MTk0LjIxNC4xOTkuMTMw

Villanueva, C. 2003. Education management information system (EMIS) and the formulation of Education for All (EFA) plan of action, 2002-2015. UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0015/001568/156818eo.pdf

Wako Nureso, T. 2003. Education Management Information Systems (EMIS): An overview. Harare: NESIS/UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002206/220620e.pdf

Addressing delivery issues and challenges in the banking system

Challenges within the banking system itself can are particularly relevant in fragile and conflict states, where the banking system may not be functioning properly, with limited electronic availability such as the lack of direct bank transfers or limited ATM access, or where the banking system does exist outside of the capital city. There may also just be a general lack of confidence in the banking system.

Related to the banking system are issues with the delivery of payments. Teachers are widely geographically dispersed, and receiving payments can be particularly challenging for teachers in rural areas who may have to travel long distances to the capital or nearest city. This can be the case regardless of whether the payment is made in cash, check or electronic transfer (Mulkeen, 2010). Teachers may have to devote a large portion of their salary to this travel, and it increases their absenteeism from the classroom. 

When salaries have to be paid in cash there are often logistical issues and the payments are prone to corruption. However, while electronic transfers are more efficient and less prone to theft, if banks are not widely available then teachers have difficulties collecting payments, as described above. Additionally, with electronic transfers, the system is more vulnerable to incorrect and un-updated data, which can result in paying teachers who are no longer teaching. A number of proposed policy options exist:

  • mobile banking (see below);
  • local delivery of pay to schools or to local points, such as larger schools or teacher centres. This can be time-consuming and expensive for Ministries, and issues of disruption of weather, transport issues need to be taken into account. However, it can be effective in reducing teacher absenteeism and can be used as an opportunity to verify data on the payroll;
  • use intermediaries to pay funds to teachers, such as officials from the Ministry of Education, or teachers. For instance, in Liberia, this system was established so teachers could collect salaries from district education officers, rather than traveling to the capital (Dolan et al., 2012).
  • cash agents that represent the banks can be used for salary disbursement;
  • contracting salary disbursement to a third party, such as a private accounting firm, who can pay salaries directly to headteachers of schools. This system was effectively used in Sierra Leone, in which the private accounting firm transported the money from the capital and took on the associated risks (Dolan et al., 2012); and
  • allowances for transportation costs to collect salaries.

Mobile banking

Some countries have had success in pilots using mobile money platforms, like M-Paisa in Afghanistan or M-Pesa in the DRC, to pay civil servants, and it offers promising opportunities for the education sector. Mobile banking prevents the need for travel to collect salaries, reduces corruption by eliminating intermediaries, cuts down on lengthy bureaucracy and can prevent the issue of ghost teachers as there is an involved registration process. While there are concerns over security, cash management, and institutional capacity, the expansion of mobile money providers could alleviate some of these issues.

References
Boakye, K.; Scott, N.; Smyth, C. 2010. Mobiles for development. UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/cbsc/files/Mobiles4DeReport.pdf

Brannelly, L. 2012. The teacher salary system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Washington D.C.: The Center for Universal Education at Brookings. Retrieved from: https://www.educationdevelopmenttrust.com/~/media/EDT/Reports/Research/2012/r-building-effective-teacher-salary-systems-drc-2012.pdf

Dolan, J.; Golden, A.; Ndaruhutse, S.; Withrop, R. 2012. Building effective teacher salary systems in fragile and conflict-affected states. Washington D.C.: The Center for Universal Education at Brookings. Retrieved from: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/09_CfBT_BrookingsReport.pdf

Golden, A. 2012. The teacher salary system in Afghanistan. Washington D.C.: The Center for Universal Education at Brookings and CfBT Education Trust. Retrieved from: https://www.educationdevelopmenttrust.com/~/media/EDT/Reports/Research/2012/r-building-effective-teacher-salary-systems-afghan-2012.pdf

Mulkeen, A. 2010d. Teachers in Anglophone Africa: Issues in teacher supply, training, and management. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/278200-1099079877269/Teachers_Anglophone_Africa.pdf

Addressing challenges in public financial management (PFM) and auditing systems

A strong public financial management system is needed to efficiently and effectively provide public services, such as the provision of teacher salaries. Common issues within the PFM related to teacher salaries include capacity constraints such as lack of human resources, lack of electronic databases, and the logistical difficulties and corruption issues of cash-based payments (Dolan et al., 2012). A number of proposed policy options exist:

  • financial and technical support from donors to improve PFM systems. This means the capacity building of key institutions within PFM in order to improve budget capacity in line Ministries;
  • using school management committees to pay teacher salaries;
  • contracting salary disbursement to a third party such as an accounting firm;
  • improve accountability mechanisms when using cash-based payments. For instance, in the Katanga province in the DRC, the Provincial Office for Teacher Salaries and Monitoring was given more responsibilities in salary dissemination which aided in reducing corruption (Dolan et al., 2012).
  • develop a digital Public Financial Monitoring system to monitor salary expenditure; and
  • reduce bureaucracy and streamline processes.

A well-functioning audit system helps to prevent corruption and mismanagement of education funds. Audit systems are often limited by capacity constraints, such as lack of personnel or systems for judicial processes, as well as lack of access to the financial information.

Involve civil society groups (and/or parents and teacher unions) in auditing and tracking budgets. Set up an internal audit office within the Ministry of Education, automate audit processes, and use a digital Public Financial Monitoring system to track expenditures.

References
Baudienville, G. 2012. Public financial management reforms in fragile states: The case of Democratic Republic of the Congo. London: Overseas Development Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/7853.pdf

Dolan, J.; Golden, A.; Ndaruhutse, S.; Withrop, R. 2012. Building effective teacher salary systems in fragile and conflict-affected states. Washington D.C.: The Center for Universal Education at Brookings. Retrieved from: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/09_CfBT_BrookingsReport.pdf

Fritz, V.; Hedger, E.; Lopes Fialho, A.P. 2011. Strengthening public financial management in postconflict countries. Retrieved from: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/715661468162861843/pdf/608170BRI0EP540BOX358330B001PUBLIC1.pdf

Office of the Prime Minister and Ministry of Finance (Kenya). 2012. Public finance notes: Reforms in public finance management. Nairobi. Retrieved from: http://www.treasury.go.ke/economy1/regulations/category/3-public-financial-management-reforms-programme-s-dissemination-notes.html?download=3:teachers-service-commission-dissemination-notes

Policy options for improving Equity and Inclusion

Gender-responsive policies

*Note: much more research is needed on this subject in order to have more precise evidence on gender issues related to the teacher salary system itself as well as effective policies to tackle them down, especially when it comes to analysing the pertinent delivery methods. 

Due to the lack of research, apply the policies and strategies recommended in the general section of the present Policy page. Yet, it is indispensable to mainstream gender throughout all of them so that underlying context-based gender issues are tackled down. For instance, in certain cultures, women cannot travel alone (UNESCO Bangkok, 2006). In these cases, it would be very difficult for female teachers –especially for those working in rural areas– to travel to collect their salary. Security concerns should also be considered, in particular, attention should be given to gender-based violence cases which may arise in the process of the salary collection process.

References
UNESCO Bangkok. 2006. The Impact of women teachers on girls’ education: Advocacy Brief. Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000145990?posInSet=1&queryId=f01d0286-e671-41ec-958b-c4eff8692137

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

Policies for teachers with disabilities

*Note: No specific research was found on this subject. Further explorations are needed to gain evidence on how existent teacher’s salary system and its related logistic constraints affect teachers with disabilities precisely and thus find pertinent policy measures to address them.

Due to the lack of research, apply the policy options recommended in the general section of the present Policy page. Yet, while implementing them, ensure they are inclusive and accessible and if not, perform pertinent modifications. For instance, the context-based analysis may lead to identifying specific needs of teachers with disabilities –particularly regarding the delivery methods chosen– and addressing them.

Policies for displaced populations and host communities

Since all the policy options presented in the general section are organized following the thematic areas presented in the Brookings report “Building effective teacher salary systems in fragile and conflict-affected areas” (Dolan et al., 2012), these recommendations apply to this category.

Yet, while implementing them, ensure they are inclusive and accessible and if not, perform pertinent modifications. For instance, the context-based analysis may lead to identifying specific needs of teachers from displaced populations–particularly regarding the delivery methods chosen– and addressing them.

Policies for minority populations

*All policies recommended in the general category apply for this section.

However, there is also a need to perform further research on how to better manage state resources for a more inclusive teacher workforce.

Updated on 2021-06-16

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