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08 April 2015

Cambridge Education-led consortium evaluates teacher absenteeism rates, Indonesia

A consortium led by Cambridge Education, Mott MacDonald’s international education consultancy, has completed a survey of schools in Indonesia to create nationally representative estimates of teacher absenteeism. It was part of an initiative led by the government of Indonesia and commissioned by the Education Sector Analytical and Capacity Development Partnership (ACDP).

The study comprised two unannounced visits to 900 schools, with researchers observing classes, conducting interviews with principals and teachers and administering short tests to a selection of students. Data on teacher absence was collected from a total of 8,300 teachers and 8,200 students across the six regions of Sumatra, Java, Bali and Nusa Tenggara, Papua and Maluku, Sulawesi, and Kalimantan.

It was found that one in 10 teachers were absent from school, a reduction of 10 percentage points in teacher absence over the last ten years. However, rates of teachers who were present at school but absent from class were also observed at 10%, meaning a net absenteeism rate of closer to 20%.

Teacher absence rates between regions were also investigated to find out which schools had higher rates, what the most common reasons were for absence and what effect it had on the students and their learning environment. The findings are now being used to inform government consultations on education.

Nicholas Santcross, Cambridge Education’s project director, said: “This is one of the most comprehensive studies of teacher absenteeism undertaken in the world and the findings have great international significance in education. The government of Indonesia identified teacher absenteeism as a high priority and the country’s progress in reducing its rate over the past decade needs to be sustained if they are to lift student achievement rates and reduce disparities among schools. This means co-ordinated action is required at different levels of the education system.”

The project was funded by the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade and the European Commission through the Asian Development Bank. The consortium also included the Australian Council for Educational Research and SMERU Research Institute. 

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