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Community Empowerment and Teacher Performance Pay: Education in Indonesia

The project implements randomized controlled trials in Indonesia's education sector. The objectives are to find suitable policy interventions that can contribute to raising student learning outcomes among the poor and disadvantaged communities in the country.
The project is supported by multiple partners such as Indonesia's Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance, the vice-president office (TNP2K), the World Bank, DFAT, and USAID; 2018-2021


German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA)
University of Amsterdam
University of Arkansas
Vassar College
University of Göttingen
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

Research Questions

The project examines how to best set-up community empowerment and social accountability interventions in order to boost student learning outcomes of students in rural areas over the short to long-term.

Contribution to International Research

The quality in the delivery of public services such as health care provision by doctors, nurses and medical staff and the provision of education by teachers and principals varies substantially across and within countries. Due to a multitude of reasons public services do often not function as expected due to a lack of accountability and inventice structures. As a result health workers and teachers in developing countries are frequently missing from school despite receiving salaries.
To address the lack of incentives, bottom-up accountability structures can be a powerful tool in order to make health workers and teachers responsible to delivering better services. While bottom-up/social accountability structures are in place and have been introduced around the world, the evidence on whether these structures can lead to improvements in public service delivery are very mixed.
Our contribution to the international research agenda comes from rigiorously evaluating various innovative alternative community empowerment interventions that can have a long-lasting impact on improving children's education outcomes.

Research Design and Methods

The main results are based on clustered RCTs (randomized controlled trials) from large samples of respondents. The research is further supported by a mixed method approach leveraging qualitative methods such as focus group discussions and in-deptht interviews.

Preliminary Findings

Evidence from a pre-pilot provided the proof of concept for a pilot in 270 remote schools in 5 districts in Indonesia.
The results indicate that a social accountability mechanism (SAM) which set indicators and targets for teacher performance with monthly monitoring by a village committee activated teachers and parents and increased learning by about 0.09 std.
In two other treatment groups, the SAM was augmented with an incentive for teachers who received a remote area allowance. Their allowance could be cut based on teacher presence as recorded by a camera in one group or in the other group, on the basis of the monthly community evaluation. While the latter yielded similar learning results to the SAM only treatment, the learning improvements in the group with the camera based incentive doubled.