Author: Goldsmith, Charlie
Year: 2010
Full Citation: Goldsmith, C. (2010). Teachers' pay - making the pipe work: The role of improving teachers' payroll systems for education service delivery and state legitimacy in selected conflict-affected countries in Africa. UNESCO. Retrieved from
Resource Type:
Target Population(s):
Overview: Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2011 - The hidden crisis: Armed conflict and education.
Findings: The following provisional generalisations are put forward, based on experiences in a number of countries at different stages of recovery from conflict:
  • “Whatever you do, do it in the sunshine”: it is important to be able to see and analyse what is being paid to whom: that requires basic computerised records to be shared with the central Ministry of Education
  • Getting teachers paid on time, accurately and decently is the core business of a Ministry of Education, and should not be wholly left to other government agencies
  • Bank payment offers major benefits in terms of verification of ID, but its corollary is greater output monitoring effort
  • Payroll is the key pass that can be defended with relatively limited resources
  • If there have been pay problems, a large-scale field verification exercise (often called a “headcount”) can be helpful; but lessons learned from recent such exercises in health and education sectors are that:
    • headcounts are typically more useful when based on an existing set of data
    • the accuracy of a verification exercise will be increased if there is a credible balance of opportunities for: recruitment of any “volunteer” teachers (that is, those who are currently working without government funding, but often with some income from fees); removal of any delinquents (that is, those who at one point taught but now do not); removal of ghosts (staff who do not exist at all);
    • one-off verifications are not a substitute for a continuous process of monitoring attendance and output, resulting in payroll consequences
  • key factors in successful activities in this field appear to include senior management will and regular follow-up, a high pace of operations, that can carry the wider education sector (and sometimes government) along with it, and the development and empowerment of a cadre of bright, typically young, analysts

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