This page seeks to answer the question:

How can teacher training (certification) take place in the absence of additional resources and what are the consequences of not having the resources to prepare teachers?


Schwille, John and Dembele, Martial. (2007). Global Perspectives on Teacher Learning: Improving Policy and Practice. UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning.



Some models used in developing countries (taken from Schwille and Dembele):
  1. Apprenticeship of Observation (Sink or Swim)
  2. Community Schools
  3. Contract Teachers
  4. Distance Learning


" 'The problem, according to her, is the lack of "connective tissue holding things together within or across the different phases of learning to teach.'This means that 'the typical pre-service program [in the USA] is a collection of unrelated courses and field experiences. Most induction programs have no curriculum and mentoring is a highly individualistic process. Professional development consists of discrete and disconnected events. Nor do we have anything that resembles a coordinated system' (Feiman-Nemser, 2001: 1049) ... She claims that this pedagogy 'mirrors the pedagogy of higher education where lectures, discussions, and seat-based learning are coins of the realm. Too often teacher educators do not practice what they preach. Classes are either too abstract to challenge deeply held beliefs or too superficial to foster deep understanding. All of this reinforces the belief that the classroom is the place to learn to teach.' (Feiman-Nemser, 2001: 1020)." (p 31-32).


"Sink or Swim often occurs as an unintended by-product of systems trying to get by with field-experience training on minimum resources ... In more industrialized countries, sink or swim can be a characteristic of so-called alternative routes." (p. 44).

"In rapidly expanding education systems, particularly in developing countries, emergency programmes designed to meet an urgent shortage of teachers at an acceptable cost are often organized in the sink or swim mode. Such programmes are not largely viewed as desirable new forms of teacher preparation, but rather as a stopgap measures that are expected to be replaced when they are no longer needed to meet a temporary peak in the demand for teachers." (p. 45)


"By comparison with what we know from the literature about the desirable characteristics of teacher preparation, teacher education institutions in many countries around the world, both industrialized and developing, are dysfunctional in various respects. For the immediate future there are no solutions to the issue of teacher preparation in developing countries that are both optimal and feasible (the same is true, but to a lesser extent, for countries fortunate enough to have more resources)." (p. 87)

Heyneman, Stephen and Loxley, William. (1983). The Effect of Primary School Quality on Academic Achievement Across Twenty-Nine High and Low Income Countries. The American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 88, No. 6, pp.1162-1194.



"The proportion of the explained achievement variance due to schools and teachers (table 2, col. 10) is 90% in India, 88% in Colombia, and 81% in both Thailand and Brazil. This compares with 22% in Australia, 26% in Scotland, and 27% in Sweden (see fig. 2) ... Thus the available data suggest that the poorer the country, the greater the impact of school and teacher quality on science achievement." (p. 1180)
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Fuller, Bruce. (1987). What School Factors Raise Achievement in the Third World? Review of Educational Research, Vol. 57, No. 3, pp. 255-292.



"For instance, many studies have asked about teachers' qualifications in terms of their total length of schooling or their amount of postsecondary teacher training. Whether and how these proxies are related to the teacher's proficiency in organizing instruction and in motivating children remains quite cloudy. Yet even rough measures of teacher quality are related to higher levels of student achievement (Table 4). Findings are mixed on the effect of the teacher's length of schooling (Indicator 1)." (p. 280)

In contrast, achievement effects are more consistent for teachers' length of postsecondary schooling or the number of teacher training courses completed. The first IEA survey included items on both of these areas; identical measures were used in the subsequent Latin American survey. As seen in Table 4, either the original IEA research group or Heyneman and Loxley (1983) found significant effects from at least one of these factors in 11 countries. Independent work in 10 other countries has revealed significant effects. In total, 22 of 31 studies have found a significant achievement effect from teachers' general university or specific teacher training. ... Very little evidence exists on the effectiveness of in-service teacher training programs (Indicator 2). This scarcity of knowledge is in stark contrast to the increasing level of resources being invested in upgrading the skills of incumbent
teachers. For instance, in the last decade, two thirds of the World Bank's education projects have included in-service teacher training components. (p. 281)


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Hanushek, Eric (1995). Interpreting Recent Research on Schooling in Developing Countries. The World Bank Research Observer. Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 227-246.

"Recent research into schooling has begun to point consistently toward education policies that differ sharply from much of what we have seen
in the past. In particular it points more toward performance incentives and less toward regulatory and input-based policies, and it underscores the importance of developing high-quality schools, even if this goal appears to impinge on access to schools. Three fundamental findings flow from the new research. First, education around the globe is a very inefficient exercise; strong evidence indicates that too much is being paid for the performance obtained from schools. Second, education has proved to be a very complicated subject, and available research has yielded little specific guidance on how to boost quality through standard regulatory and spending policies. This calls for fundamental changes in the way we conceptualize educational policy. In particular, various forms of performance incentives appear to offer more hope for improving schools and raising student achievement, even if we currently have little experience in developing such policies. Third, the importance of high-quality schools keeps reappearing in the research. Developing countries, in the interest of expanding the availability of schools, have tended to sacrifice quality. This approach, however, appears misguided, because students react to low-quality schools in ways that damage the very policy of expanded access." (p. 227-228)

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Akiba, Motoko, LeTendre, Gerald, and Scribner, Jay. (2007). Teacher Quality, Opportunity Gap, and National Achievement in 46 Countries. Educational Researcher. Vol. 36, No. 369.


"According to a study of 25 countries conducted during 2002–2004 (OCED, 2005), policy makers in the majority of those countries were struggling with the problems resulting from a lack of highly qualified teachers, especially in science- and math-related subjects; the low social status and salary of teachers and their poor working conditions; a lack of systemic induction programs; and inequitable distribution of qualified teachers between high-poverty and low-poverty schools." (p. 371)

"In the United States, the focus on certification has been informed by research on out-of-field teaching (Ingersoll, 1999, 2001) 3 and by comparative and international studies that identified the weaknesses in instructional practices and environments surrounding U.S. teachers in comparison with those of teachers in high-achieving countries (Ginsburg, Cooke, Leinwand, Noell, & Pollock, 2005; Hiebert et al., 2005; LeTendre, Baker, Akiba, Goesling, & Wiseman, 2001; Stigler & Hiebert, 1999; Stigler & Stevenson, 1991). ... All of the compared countries had screening criteria at multiple time points entry to teacher education program, evaluation of field experience, exit from teacher education program, or certification—whereas in the United States, teacher licensure testing was the only major high-stakes criterion for determining who could become a teacher. Furthermore, teacher induction for new teachers was required in England, Singapore, Japan, and Australia; in the United States, induction programs were fragmented because of variations in policies and resources available." (p. 371-372)

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