Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Research Seminar Series (RSS)

Lost Human Capital: Teacher Knowledge and Student Achievement in Africa

Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm


Tessa Bold, Assistant Professor at the Institute for International Economic Studies


Jishnu Das, Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank


Justin Sandefur, Senior Fellow at Center for Global Development

Can teacher quality explain the low learning levels observed in many African countries? Survey data spanning seven countries in sub-Saharan African shows that after four years of schooling, the majority of students fail to master tasks covered in the second year curriculum. In their new paper, Tessa Bold and her co-authors show these low learning levels can be partly explained by teachers’ limited knowledge of curriculum content. Many teachers struggle with tasks that their students should master in lower primary. If all students had been taught by teachers who had mastered the lower secondary curriculum, students would have acquired the equivalent of an additional three quarters of a year of schooling after four years, and the observed gap in effective education after four years would have been reduced by one third. 

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Photo of Justin Sandefur
Co-Director of Education Policy and Senior Fellow
Tess Bold's headshot
Non-Resident Fellow

Thursday, September 28

12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

Please bring your lunch; beverages will be provided.