The phenomenon of “Ghost Teachers” is not confined to Africa but the impact of paying for teachers who do not exist, do not turn up or who have fictitious qualifications is especially significant given already large class sizes, teachers shortages and that salaries typically represent 80% of education budgets in the region.
In recent years there have been reports of large scale ‘Ghost teacher’ frauds in many countries and crude estimates put the cost at over $20bn p.a. Imagine if that money was able to be spent on productive resources instead.
In ESSA’s workshops with learners and teachers across Africa there is a loud and clear message from participants “Please help us find ways to reduce this fraud and stop these people from stealing our futures!”
In Liberia, an active programme consisting of a range of measures managed to save enough money to recruit 2,000 new teachers. Changes to payroll systems, recruitment processes as well as school management and inspection processes can all help.
In 2017 ESSA started a project to understand this problem in more detail and to gather together knowledge from those who have been actively and successfully working to minimise the level of this type of fraud in their countries. In 2018 we will be taking this project to the next phase. Watch this space!