Selected publications (.pdf)

"Education Change, Leadership and the Knowledge Society" 
Global e-Schools Initiative (GeSCI)  

Survey of ICT in education in the Caribbean
Volume 1: Regional trends & analysis
Volume 2: Country reports
infoDev 

Using technology to train teachers:
Appropriate uses of ICT for
teacher professional developmen
t
 
infoDev (Mary Burns, co-author)

Project evaluation:
Uganda rural school-based telecenters

World Bank Institute
(Sara Nadel, co-author)

The Educational Object Economy:
Alternatives in authoring &
aggregation of educational software 

Interactive Learning Environments
(Purchase or subscription req'd) 

Development of multimedia resources 
UNESCO (Cesar Nunes, co-author)

Real Access/Real Impact
Teresa Peters & bridges.org
(hosted for reference; RIP TMP) 

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Thursday
Feb102011

Perils of messing with the supply of teachers in Indonesia

Two great teachers in the highlands of Papua (a remote place)

A quick note in response to Rob Van Son's rich post on the edutech debates (I'm traveling, I'm using my phone for this post, it could be casual). Mr Van Son generally suggests that it's impossible to increase the number of effective teachers worldwide because: 1) millions of them would be needed; 2) paying their salaries year in and year out would require a massive shift in funding priorities; 3) how could they be trained in a timely manner.

The following post might provide another way of looking at the information in Mr Van Son's otherwise hyper-Informed post. In many countries, rural schools have few students [ok there are a lot of factors in play in these situations]. Small numbers of students is one reason that multi-grade classrooms are so strongly supported by donors, and by some ministries of edu.

Analysis of this situation in Indonesia suggested that many classes in rural areas were unsustainably small. And that teachers in those schools were poorly educated and trained. These observations led to the 2005
"teacher law," requiring that all teachers have a 4-year degree and promising that those teachers would receive double the current pay (with an additional 50 percent increase if they agreed to a posting in a REMOTE [not rural, most of Indonesia is rural] area). 

These teacher-focused measures demonstrate how unintended consequences can mar even the cleverest efforts. 

Enrollment in schools of education is rocketing because the potential pay for teachers (especially if you sign up to work in a remote area [another story, which I hope someone else addresses]). One professor explained to me that his school would graduate about 200 Teachers in 2009, but none of them would be placed in government schools.

Part of the problem is that management of the schools themselves is split between the central government and the provinces (as a result of radical decentralization following the end of the Suharto dictatorship).nas in many systems, the central govt simply can't trim its teacher corps as it would like.

But the simpler problem is also the grander problem: by increasing teachers' pay, MONE increased the supply of new teachers, while its efforts to increase class size (and decrease the number if teachers overall) has effectively reduced demand for teachers. If these new graduates were commodities, we'd call the phenomenon an inventory surplus; as it is, we can call it policy-generated structural unemployment.

For a great and far-more-detailed analysis of this problem--and a good example of impact analysis of policy in general, see "the economics of teacher supply in Indonesia" by Dandan Chen of the world bank.

Reader Comments (3)

This now an opportunity for e-learning solutions. With the development of the internet in third world countries, organizations and companies are now trying to overcome hurdles just to be able to provide e-learning and even training like security guard training. This technology can definitely help address Indonesia's problem.

Florence, it's helpful to have your perspective. I agree that e-learning could be important in meeting Indonesia's needs. Do you think that people would access e-learning courses using smart phones or using computers? Or....?

November 14, 2011 | Registered CommenterEdmond Gaible

For a third world country, it's best to offer e-learning courses using computers. This is where organizations and government come in. They should work hand in hand to be able to make it work.

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