Equipping teachers to improve foundational learning across Africa

By: Albert Nsengiyumva, ADEA Executive Secretary, and Education Finance Network

Low rates of primary school enrolment and completion, and low levels of learning among those who are in school, mean that only one in five primary school-age children in Sub-Saharan Africa achieves the minimum proficiency level in reading. Children who cannot read and understand a simple text will struggle to learn anything else in school. They are more likely to repeat a grade and more likely to drop out of school, and they are less likely to benefit from further training and skills programs. At a national level, this will lead to worse health outcomes, greater youth unemployment, and deeper levels of poverty.

Capable and qualified teachers are critical for improving learning outcomes in Africa. However, assessments in recent years suggest that the majority of teachers in Africa lack sufficient competencies to teach basic literacy and numeracy skills effectively. Too few teachers are trained to impart foundational skills, and the duration and quality of the practicum (teaching experience within a classroom setting) in teacher training is often insufficient. As a result, inefficient teaching methods are still used in many classrooms.