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close this bookCounting the Cost of Teacher Education: Cost and Quality Issues (CIE, 1999, 37 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentMulti-Site Teacher Education Research Project (MUSTER)
View the documentAbstract
View the document1. Introduction
View the document2. Some Common Approaches to Initial Teacher Education
View the document3. Some Methodological Issues
View the document4. Analysing Costs
Open this folder and view contents5. A Framework for Exploring Costs Before, During and After Training
View the document6. A Note on Organisational Patterns and Costs
View the document7. Concluding Remark
View the documentReferences
View the documentAppendix 1: Researchable Questions Related to Entry, Training Process, Outcomes and Deployment of New Teachers


The costs of teacher education in many developing countries1 arise from historically established patterns of organisation and budgeting, which have their origins in colonial history. Costs per qualified and employed teacher can be high, the quality of teacher training is widely contested, and many of the assumptions that underpin common models of delivery are open to question. Uncertain proportions of those trained obtain teaching jobs; in some cases the match between training and job placement is weak with teachers teaching at different levels or in different subject areas to those for which they were trained; in other situations the average length of teachers' careers may be shortening with implications for the nature of appropriate investment in training.

1 This paper uses the developing countries as a general term for countries which have a cluster of largely economic indicators which suggest relatively low levels of income per capita, a preponderance of non-industrialised economic activity, and which have lower ranks on the UNDP HDI indicator. It does not imply homogeneity in other attributes.

Providing basic schooling universally in the wake of the commitments made at the World Conference on Education for All (WCEFA) has resulted in rapidly expanding enrolments of primary age children throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. This conference resulted in most governments developing national plans to ensure at least six years, and often nine or more years of schooling (Colclough with Lewin 1993). Unlike previous attempts by the UN agencies to promote targets related to primary education, WCEFA included explicit concerns for quality and achievement alongside enrolment targets. Increased enrolment was to be accompanied by investment to improve learning outcomes (WCEFA 1990:30).

These developments have created unprecedented demands for the training of teachers. Many of the poorest countries with low enrolment rates have high proportions of untrained teachers (UNESCO 1997:26). This is particularly a problem in Sub-Saharan Africa. In much of Asia demographic transition and other changes associated with development have reduced the demand for new teachers, though it remains the case that many teachers are untrained, especially in South Asia (Lewin 1998). If quality is to be improved the needs of untrained teachers for professional development must be met. In addition in many African countries new teachers are needed to meet the demands of enrolment growth to universal levels. Thus the capacity of existing systems of teacher education is challenged to meet high levels of demand in the short term and new needs arising from an emphasis on effective learning which links the competencies of teachers with the capabilities of pupils. This has placed pressures on the financing of teacher education, which invite reflection on cost-effectiveness, internal efficiency and the value for money provided by different methods of delivery.

The purpose of this paper is to share some preliminary thoughts on cost and resource issues2 related to the training of teachers. It anticipates a programme of empirically based research which is being developed at Sussex as part of the Multi-Site Teacher Education Project3. It is therefore exploratory rather than designed to report findings which may emerge from the data that will be collected.

2 Costs are used in a general sense in this paper to include all the physical and human resources that need to be mobilised.

3 The Multi-Site Teacher Education Research (MUSTER) project is support by the Department for International Development of the British Government through a three year grant. It is based at the Centre for International Education, University of Sussex, and is directed by Keith Lewin, David Stephens and Janet Stuart.

The paper has a focus on patterns of education and training which lead to initial qualification4 since this is where most investment is concentrated in most systems. The first section outlines some core issues and discusses a number of concerns which contextualise the subsequent arguments. The second section provides an overview of common features of conventional patterns of teacher education and draws attention to a range of consequences relevant to resource utilisation. The third section raises some methodological issues. The fourth section explores the analysis of costs and identifies major categories. Section five develops a framework of questions before, during and after core training experiences. These are summarised in Appendix 1. Section six summarises some alternative organisational patterns and draws attention to the range of options available and is followed by some concluding remarks.

4 For convenience and to make the arguments manageable this paper is focused on the point of initial qualification; many of the issues raised extend to other types of training for teachers.