Can New Modes of Digital Learning Help Resolve the Teacher Crisis in 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.