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

Bob Moon, Charmaine Villet


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.


Teacher Education, Digital learning, Sub-Saharan Africa

Full Text:



Anamuah-Mensah, J., Banks, F., Moon, B., & Wolfenden, F. (2013). New Modes of Teacher Pre-service Training and Professional Development. In Bob Moon (Ed.), Teacher education and the challenge of development: A global analysis. London: Routledge.

Bold, T. (2016). What do Teachers Know and Do? A Report Card on Primary Teachers in Sub-Saharan Africa: Paper presented at the 2016 RISE Conference.

Escher, G., Noukakis, D., & Aebischer, P. (2014). Boosting Higher Education in Africa through Shared Massive Online Courses (MOOCs). International Development Policy, 5(1). Retrieved from

Hartley, K., & Barasa, F. (2012). TESSA: Teacher education in Sub-Saharan Africa formative evaluation report. Retrieved from

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., & Freeman, A. (2015). NMC horizon report: 2015 higher education edition. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from

Kanwar, A. (2011). Can OER transform education? A developing world perspective. Retrieved from

Moon, B. (2000). The Open Learning Environment: A New Paradigm for Internal Developments in Teacher Education. In Bob Moon, Mariam Ben Peretz, & Sally Brown (Eds.), The Routledge international companion to education. London: Routledge.

Moon, B., Leach, J., & Stevens, M. (2007). Designing Open and Distance Learning for Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Toolkit for Educators and Planners. African Region Human Development Working Paper Series NO 104. Washington DC: The World Bank.

Nanfito, M. (2013). MOOCs: Opportunities, impacts and challenges. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

UNESCO (2015a). EFA global monitoring report. Education For All 2000-2015: Achievements and challenge. Paris: UNESCO.

UNESCO (2015b). Sustainable Development Goal for Education Cannot Advance Without More Teachers. UIS Fact Sheet No 33. Retrieved from

Willcox, K., Sarma, S., & Lippel, P. (2016). Online education: A catalyst for higher education reform. Retrieved from


  • There are currently no refbacks.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0 International License.