This paper was prepared for the Program on Education Policy and Governance conference: Mobilizing the Private Sector for Public Education. The conference, held on October 5 and 6, 2005 at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, was co-sponsored by the World Bank.
In this paper, we report results from surveys in which enumerators made unannounced visits to primary schools and health clinics in Bangladesh, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Peru, and Uganda and recorded whether they found teachers and health workers in the facilities. Averaging across the countries, about 19 percent of teachers and 35 percent of health workers were absent. The survey focused on whether providers were present in their facilities, but since some providers who were at their facilities were not working, even these figures may present too favorable a picture. For example, in India, one quarter of government primary school teachers were absent from school, but only about half of the teachers were actually teaching when enumerators arrived at the schools.