Thursday, March 25, 2010

Incentives Not to Cut Class

A major source of lacking education in developing countries is the poor attendance rate of teachers. Independent studies show that in India, only 60% of the time children have someone standing in front of their classrooms. When child truancy rates are of most importance in countries like America, it is shocking to see that others must worry about the instructors actually showing up.

An incentive program was put in place in 120 villages of India to see if absenteeism could be reduced. Furthermore, the study was to see if reduced absenteeism correlated with better education for the kids.

Teacher salaries were directly linked to attendance and unalterable cameras were setup to monitor attendance. As a result, absenteeism fell from 43% to 24% and children's test scores one year later were 0.17 standard deviations higher than before. This is an experiment that could see widespread positive results with low-cost incentives. It really pays off when teachers teach!

-Nick Mohazzabfar