Can new modes of digital learning help resolve the teacher crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa?


  • Bob Moon Open University UK
  • Charmaine Villet



Teacher Education, Digital learning, Sub-Saharan Africa


Sub-Saharan Africa, more than any other part of the world, is experiencing a crisis in finding sufficiently qualified teachers to meet the needs of expanding school systems. The professional development support provided to serving teachers is also inadequate in most countries. The most recent data on learner outcomes has revealed a worrying picture of significant under-achievement across the region. This paper argues that the teacher education and training structures of the last century will never be able to meet urgent contemporary needs. Given population growth, especially among the young, large-scale expansion of the teaching force and the associated teacher education systems will be the norm through to the middle years of the century and beyond. In this context the paper argues for a significant policy shift to expand quality teacher education and professional support at scale through a more school-based and digitally supported network model of provision. Examples of current digital programmes within the region are considered as well as the new technologies that are emerging with relevance to teacher education. The paper suggests a three-phase process through which national governments might move in making the necessary changes in policy and practice.

Author Biography

Charmaine Villet

Charmaine Villet is the Dean in the Faculty of Education at the University of Namibia. She is the recipient of the University of Namibia’s Sabbatical Award for the Best Academic in 2011. She has led prominent studies in educational reform, and has overseen the transformation of teacher education, continuous professional development for teachers and national capacity development projects for pre- and lower primary teachers in Namibia.

Charmaine Villet and a team of teacher educators are currently working on a custom-fit upskilling programme for un- and under-qualified Junior Primary teachers in Namibia. A unique feature of this programme is the efficient use of digital technologies and new modes of programme delivery to meet the demand for quality teachers. In her role as co-chair of the International Teachers Taskforce, she wishes to bring renewed energy and focus to the plight of teachers and the improvement of schooling in low- and middle-income countries.


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How to Cite

Moon, B., & Villet, C. (2017). Can new modes of digital learning help resolve the teacher crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa?. Journal of Learning for Development, 4(1).



Invited Articles
Received 2017-02-22
Accepted 2017-02-22
Published 2017-03-24