Teacher Shocks and Student Learning: Evidence from Zambia

38 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2005

See all articles by Jishnu Das

Jishnu Das

Georgetown University; Georgetown University

Stefan Dercon

University of Oxford - Department of Economics

James P. Habyarimana

Georgetown University; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Pramila Krishnan

University of Oxford - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 2005

Abstract

A large literature examines the link between shocks to households and the educational attainment of children. We use new data to estimate the impact of shocks to teachers on student learning in Mathematics and English. Using absenteeism in the 30 days preceding the survey as a measure of these shocks we find large impacts: A 5-percent increase in the teacher's absence rate reduces learning by 4 to 8 percent of average gains over the year. This reduction in learning achievement likely reflects both the direct effect of increased absenteeism and the indirect effects of less lesson preparation and lower teaching quality when in class. We document that health problems - primarily teachers' own illness and the illnesses of their family members - account for more than 60 percent of teacher absences; not surprising in a country struggling with an HIV/AIDS epidemic. The relationship between shocks to teachers and student learning suggests that households are unable to substitute adequately for teaching inputs. Excess teaching capacity that allows for the greater use of substitute teachers could lead to larger gains in student learning.

Suggested Citation

Das, Jishnu and Dercon, Stefan and Habyarimana, James P. and Krishnan, Pramila, Teacher Shocks and Student Learning: Evidence from Zambia (May 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=753497

Jishnu Das (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

O Street
Washington, DC 20057
United States

Georgetown University ( email )

Old North, Suite 100
37th & O Streets NW
Washington, DC 20057
United States

Stefan Dercon

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

Manor Road Building
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Oxford, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom
44 1865 271084 (Phone)
44 1865 271094 (Fax)

James P. Habyarimana

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Pramila Krishnan

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom

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