Where are the teachers? The distribution of teachers across public primary schools in Mozambique

Policy brief State

  • Following the suspension of general budget support by the main bilateral donors in 2016, consequent fiscal tightening has seen the efficient use of resources in the education sector becoming a priority of the Mozambican government.
  • Teachers are the largest cost component in the public education sector in Mozambique, with their compensation accounting for more than 70% of government education expenditure. Therefore, effective management of the teacher workforce is crucial.
  • This project focuses on the allocation of teachers across public primary schools. Results show a large variation in school-level pupil-teacher ratios (PTRs) across schools. Surprisingly, PTRs are only tenuously correlated with school rurality and the variation is largely local: PTRs vary substantially between schools within districts.
  • Public primary school pupils in districts with smaller differences in PTRs between schools tend to perform better – even if aggregate district PTRs are similar.
  • While the large variation in PTRs is worrisome from an equity point of view, the negative correlation with educational outcomes raises additional efficiency concerns. The findings highlight the need for a deeper understanding of the underlying causes and the mechanisms through which the distribution of teachers is linked to educational outcomes.