In-Service Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Synthesis Report

Publisher: Commonwealth Secretariat

Date: October 5, 2015

Authors: Muhammad I. Junaid & Francois Maka

The attainment of the Education for All (EFA) goals is hinged on the availability of adequate and qualified teachers to service the ever-expanding basic education sector, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. In order to complement pre-service teacher education provisions and to improve on the quality of teachers and teaching, ministries of education (MoE) across countries have historically provided in-service training for teachers, but baseline data is lacking on the nature and efficacy of these in-service programmes. As a contribution to improve the situation, the UNESCO-International Institute of Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA) has collaborated with the Commonwealth Secretariat; the International Tax Force on Teachers for EFA; UNESCO Regional Office in Dakar and the section of Teaching, Learning and Content at the UNESCO HQ to carry out an INSET study in 2011/2012. Nine experts in teacher education development from eight countries in Africa conducted the INSET studies to examine the teacher education and training programmes and approaches. The selected countries are: the Central African Republic, Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Zambia. The study of INSET seeks to fill gaps in the current knowledge and understanding about in-service teacher education practices and innovations in these countries as a basis for drawing up lessons that would both improve current practices and inform future initiatives.

The study revealed that the provision of in-service teacher education in the eight countries is often variable and anecdotal, resulting in a growing concern about the efficacy of existing professional development schemes in meeting the training needs of teachers. The in-service training of teachers in the sampled countries mainly take two approaches: the ‘one-shot’ training of a short duration (usually a week) at designated centres using the cascade model; the more extensive school-based professional development involving mentor teachers visiting classrooms to observe and mentor the mentee teachers over a long period of time. Both approaches requires sufficient funding for effective implementation. However, a lack of adequate budgetary provisions and elaborate policies and structures for effective management of in-service training for teachers has been observed. Nevertheless, involvement of the international community in the provision of in-service training for teachers is helping a great deal in promoting and strengthening the development of policies and programmes for the continuing professional development of teachers across the Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. The report has raised policy recommendations emanating from the country reports for a more robust and well-coordinated approach to in-service training of teachers. Suggestions are also given on replication and sustainability issues.

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