Absenteeism, transfers and patronage: The political economy of teacher labor markets in India. Tara Beteille

ISBN: 9781109443585

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193 pages


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Absenteeism, transfers and patronage: The political economy of teacher labor markets in India.  by  Tara Beteille

Absenteeism, transfers and patronage: The political economy of teacher labor markets in India. by Tara Beteille
| NOOKstudy eTextbook | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, RTF | 193 pages | ISBN: 9781109443585 | 4.20 Mb

Rapid school expansion in India and much of the developing world has had to contend with limited financial resources and poor accountability measures. Allocating limited resources across competing uses is itself difficult, but when these resourcesMoreRapid school expansion in India and much of the developing world has had to contend with limited financial resources and poor accountability measures. Allocating limited resources across competing uses is itself difficult, but when these resources are misused and political pressures undermine educational accountability mechanisms, universal schooling programs are severely compromised.

Without exception, the poor suffer the most.-In this dissertation, I examine two accountability problems---widespread teacher absenteeism and the manipulation of teacher transfers---in government schools in India, and how these are influenced by political factors. I use representative primary data from 2350 government schoolteachers in seven district-level teacher labor markets in India to describe the mechanism of the power play between teachers and politicians, its frequency and importance.

My data suggest that strategic linkages between teachers and politicians potentially complicate policy attempts at influencing teacher accountability. I supplement the analysis using secondary data from a large nationally representative dataset on teacher absence. I find evidence that teachers who are politically active are also more likely to be absent. This lends support to the theory that at least some teachers believe they can get away with absences because they are protected by powerful connections. The manipulation of transfers suggests another type of accountability breach because it involves the circumvention of formal rules.

I find evidence to suggest that transfers are typically characterized by informal transactions between teachers on the one hand, and politicians, bureaucrats, or politically-connected people on the other. This undermines the ability of the system to function along professional lines and official criteria. The problems of teacher absenteeism and the manipulation of teacher transfers suggest that teacher accountability in India needs to be understood as a structural problem.-The problems of teacher absenteeism and manipulation of transfers might appear intractable, but this is partly because there is very little large-scale data documenting and examining the situation.

This dissertation addresses this gap by analyzing the mutual interdependence between teachers, government officials, and bureaucrats in seven teacher labor markets using recently collected data. It develops new insights on the relation of politics and power to teacher accountability, thereby providing a more complete and nuanced understanding of political economy factors that need to be addressed if we seek to reform public schools in India.



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