|On January 10, 2014, a team of local researchers in Nairobi, Kenya, held a national policy dissemination workshop to present their PEP-supported research findings regarding the impact of "teachers contracts", and related implications for education policies.
This particular impact evaluation project had been led in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC), as well as "Vision 2030" Strategic Planning Group.
Find out more about this particular project's policy findings and recommendations through the following PEP policy brief 106: "Scaling up education interventions in Kenya: the importance of institutions"
The objective of this workshop was to bring together key stakeholders to discuss the research project’s findings/outcomes and their implications for education policy in Kenya, and especially in relation to (and to inform) the implementation of contract teacher schemes.
The workshop's program featured presentations of panelists from the KNEC (CEO), the MOEST, Brookings Institution, World Vision, Uwezo Kenya, Kenya Institute of Special Education, Teachers Service Commission and Bridge International.
The event was organized in collaboration with the School of Economics, University of Nairobi, and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MOEST) - in order to share these findings directly with the main agencies involved in education policies.
The attendance included several more representatives from the same organizations mentioned above, as well as other agencies and organizations - such as Evidence Action, Innovations for Poverty Action and KIPPRA. And the event also benefited from national media coverage.
The PEP researchers involved produced a brief summary of the panel discussion's outcomes (see below):
Contract teachers have a potential to ease teacher shortage. Parents associations often employ teachers. The project eased the parents’ burden of employing and paying teachers in some schools.
There are often many qualified teachers who remain unemployed and this pool made it possible for the project to get the right quality of teachers. Local community involvement addressed ownership. Monitoring was key in all areas and it was easier with the World Vision staffs that are located in most areas of the country, though some areas are not easily accessible.
It was harder to get teachers in urban areas as the salaries were low given the high cost of living in urban areas.
Focus should be shifted to learning other than teaching. For learning to be achieved in schools, management of schools is key. The management should inform best practice on teacher preparedness. There need for peer reviews and assessment amongst teachers to improve accountability.
Emphasis should also be made on:
• Teacher participation on active presence, active research and preparedness
• Induct teachers on the lesson plans –demystify the subject matter so there is effective delivery
• Pressure to deliver
• Use of the resources available
• Reflective teaching
• What is being done to ensure that all players are accountable- This is an important factor and it also echoes the contract teachers research concerns as to whether competitiveness and accountability at the county level would mean that a contract teacher is effective.
Application of performance contract is a measure that is taken in many sectors both public and private but it seems to be a difficult thing to do in the education sector. There are questions that remain unanswered as to what can be done to improve the quality of education as well as what can be done to improve the performance of those who should be held accountable such as the teachers so that they can deliver good results.
The teachers Union is known to be vocal in advocating for higher pay for their members. Pressure must be put for the members, that is, the teachers to deliver value. That is, improve learning outcomes.
Demand for teachers is so high and its increasing year by year yet the government cannot afford to pay for this expenditure: There is a deficit of 80,000. The government tried to implement the contract teachers program but it was faced with opposition especially from the teachers union.
Way forward: Focus should be on learning and not just teaching.
Further experiments on the effectiveness of a contract teacher at the county levels of government need to be done.