Time to teach. Rwanda
Teacher absenteeism constitutes a significant barrier to achieving quality universal education. There is mounting evidence that teacher absenteeism is a challenge in low- and middle-income countries around the globe. The rates of teacher absence in these countries vary between 3 to 27 percent. Within these average national prevalence rates, it is suspected that absenteeism may be higher in poorer, rural areas. Due to a dearth of research on teacher absenteeism, the consequences of this phenomenon are not fully evident. However, it is clear that countries are losing valuable resources they channeled into their education systems.
While this study does not focus on student performance per se, it departs from the assumption that teachers must be present in all possible ways for learning to transpire. In order to investigate such a large phenomenon, this study takes a systematic approach to teacher absenteeism. It looks at variables at the national-, subnational-, community-, school-, and teacher-levels that may increase or decrease the prevalence of teacher absenteeism. The study’s goal is not to stigmatize teachers. On the contrary, it looks primarily at the work that teachers do and the challenges they face which may prevent them from being fully present at school.