The authors summarise recent ‘Research on Improving Systems of Education’ research, conducted as part of Twaweza’s Sauti za Wananchi survey. They use a ‘discrete choice’ experiment—a series of hypothetical enrollment decisions in which parents were asked to express their preferences between alternative pairs of schools—to understand the extent to which parents value proximity, infrastructure, teacher-pupil ratios, and learning outcomes, in the primary schools to which they have access.
They highlight 3 findings:
Parents’ values for a one-standard-deviation improvement in distance and in learning outcomes dominate other attributes, such as class sizes and infrastructure quality, in shaping choices.
The extent to which parents prefer one of these attributes over the other—which we characterise as parents’ willingness to walk for learning outcomes—varies widely by region.
There is little association between the strength of parents’ preference for learning over proximity and the efficiency with which regions actually deliver learning outcomes, suggesting scope for improved alignment between government and citizen priorities.
These results complement accompanying findings from the Sauti za Wananchi survey that households choosing secondary schools prioritise high Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (CSEE) pass rates, motivated teachers, and good textbooks (Twaweza East Africa, 2018).The findings should be understood alongside a growing literature that seeks to understand the drivers of parental actions in school choice and accountability mechanisms.
This research is part of the ‘Research on Improving Systems of Education’ (RISE) programme
Soloman, S. and Zeitlin, A. (2019). What Do Tanzanian Parents Want from Primary Schools—and What Can Be Done about It? [online] https://www.riseprogramme.org/publications/what-do-tanzanian-parents-want-primary-schools-and-what-can-be-done-about-it-0.