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CGD in the News

February 27, 2019

'Teach' tool not for evaluating teachers, says World Bank education boss (Devex)

From the article:

LONDON — The World Bank’s head of education has said its new teacher observation tool is not intended to be used to find and fire bad teachers or to undermine teacher professionalism, after concerns were raised by some experts.

“This is not an evaluation tool,” Jaime Saavedra, who heads up the bank’s global education practice and was previously minister of education in Peru, told Devex. “Policymakers need to know what’s happening inside the classroom and the quality of the interaction between the teachers and students … [and] this tool is designed to see better what’s happening there,” he added.

The bank officially launched Teach, an open-source classroom observation tool for use in primary schools in low- and middle-income countries to help improve the quality of teaching, last month. The tool is part of a broader effort to address what the bank has called a global “learning crisis” by focusing on teachers, which it says are the single most important factor in improving learning outcomes.

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However, other experts speaking at the official Teach launch event in Washington, D.C., last month disagreed. Eric Hanushek, senior fellow at Stanford University, said “this is a clear evaluation tool at the probationary stage … It provides a basis for counseling new teachers on how they should behave … but then again if they don’t change over the first few years you also have information you should use.”

Barbara Bruns from the Center for Global Development, said that even if not intended as an evaluation tool, there is a danger it could be seen by teachers as such and rejected.

For Saavedra, however, improving meritocracy in teaching is a political issue. “The key point on education reform for many middle- and low-income countries … is to take politics out of the classroom and the education system. We see too many cases where teachers and principals … are appointed on a political basis,” he told Devex.