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Managing teacher performance

To strengthen teacher performance in the long-term, interventions must go beyond training and address the more complex issues of career structure, motivation and morale.

Teacher performance goes beyond development or training. It is also affected by the motivation and morale of teachers, by the incentives they receive for performing well and by the performance management systems to which they are accountable.

Career structures for teachers in many countries tend to be based on years of service rather than actual performance. Promotion in such systems is not linked to performance or levels of responsibility and pay differentials within pay scales tend to be gradual so there is little incentive to take on more responsibility. Working and living conditions (particularly in remote rural areas) are far from ideal and are not always efficiently managed. Confirmation of appointment or promotion can take many months and salaries are not always paid on time. In addition, there are gender considerations – the aspirations, promotion prospects and experiences of male and female teachers are different.

Our experience in countries such as Nigeria, Tanzania and Ghana has shown that improving teacher management is crucial when tackling teacher development issues. Training interventions must also consider motivational issues around career structures and teacher management. These are complex problems that are influenced by political and cross-government considerations.

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