Monday, May 07, 2007

Confronting the Contradictions

A new report by ActionAid’s multi-country International Education Team and based on in-depth country case studies from Malawi, Mozambique and Sierra Leone, shows that a major factor behind the chronic and severe shortage of teachers is that International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies have required many poor countries to freeze or curtail teacher recruitment. The IMF may have varying degrees of influence in directly setting the wage bill ceilings. However, by insisting on overly restrictive macroeconomic policies that constrain government spending on wages, it is in part responsible for the persisting teacher shortage. In all three countries examined, the wage bill ceiling is too low to allow the government to hire the teachers they need to achieve the pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) of 40:1 recommended by the Education for All – Fast-track Initiative (EFA-FTI). There is considerable evidence that the current ceilings compromise the quality of education in each of these countries. There is a growing contradiction between donors who are trying to “scale-up” aid and spending to train and hire enough teachers meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the IMF macroeconomic policies that are discouraging recipients from spending the new aid. This contradiction must by confronted by education advocates.

Link to IFIwatchnet: documents