Understanding Teacher Distribution Cross-Nationally: Recent Empirical Evidence
by Amita Chudgar & Thomas F. Luschei - November 02, 2016
Background/Context: There are several important limitations of the existing international literature on the distribution of teachers across students, schools, and regions. Most importantly, the coverage of low-income countries is somewhat uneven, particularly in Africa.
Research Questions: We examine the question of who teaches marginalized children across more than 20 countries in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa.
Research Design: We employed descriptive analysis of four cross-national datasets to describe the distribution of teachers across students and schools. We first identified students in the top and bottom levels of key marginalization measures, including achievement scores, belongings in the home, parental education, and language. We then calculated separate means of the key teacher characteristics for students at the top and bottom levels of marginalization to identify gaps in teacher attributes across more and less advantaged students. We also examined gaps in teacher attributes across schools at the top and bottom levels of school infrastructure, average test score performance, size, climate, and location.
Findings/Results: Our results provide systematic and persuasive cross-national evidence of an inequitable distribution of teachers across schools and students.
Conclusions/Recommendations: Our analysis highlights the inequities in education systems that governments may be perpetuating either advertently or inadvertently through teacher recruitment and deployment practices. This underscores the need for governments to continue evaluating their teacher placement policies that may exacerbate such inequities. This work also highlights the importance of simple descriptive data analyses that government agencies may undertake to assess and evaluate the patterns of teacher distribution within their own systems.
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