Investing in teachers' training to transform Africa's education

Op-Ed on African Union Education Summit

Education remains a basic human right and the key to unlocking Africa’s development. Teacher training holds the potential for effectively aiding Africa in transforming education. Members of Humana People to People have 30 years’ experience working closely with national governments in training professional primary school teachers who are serving rural communities of sub-Saharan Africa.

Members of Humana People to People seek to inspire and complement public education, so that teachers, students, parents, education institutions, education officials, and Ministries of Education can draw from direct and indirect collaboration with the Humana People to People education institutions and projects. Many decades of accumulating experience through cooperating with sub-Saharan governments has made it possible for members of Humana People to People to make education more purposeful for learners, while stressing the importance that education remains a common good.

Members of Humana People to People are contributing towards a more inclusive and equitable education access for all in Angola, Mozambique, Malawi, Congo, D.R., Guinea Bissau and Zambia. Collectively all six members have a combined 33 Teacher Training Colleges that have trained over 45 000 primary school teachers since 1993, in close cooperation with the Ministries of Education in the respective countries. The committed teachers are helping the disadvantaged communities to have a qualified and professional teacher in the classroom, who is ready to embrace each and every child despite conditions they present themselves in the school environment.

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Although many countries in Africa are taking significant steps to ensure quality education for all, many children are still denied access to education. According to the joint UNESCO and African Union 2023 report, it shows that 1-in-5 primary school age children are not in the classroom and almost six in ten adolescents are out of school. This is due to several interlinking factors such as geographical location, gender, extreme poverty, disability, crises, conflict, and displacement.

In 2024, the African Union is paying special attention to education and training with the theme of the year focusing on “educating an Africa fit for the 21st century: building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, qualitative, lifelong and relevant learning for Africa.” Success in the education sector will have significant knock-on effects on unlocking the diverse potential of Africa’s young generation and contribute to achievement of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016-25, Sustainable Development Goal 4 and the African Union Agenda 2063 development strategy.

On February 17- 18, 2024, at the occasion of 37th Ordinary Session of the Heads of State and Governments, the African Union leaders will use the opportunity to unveil their comprehensive strategy for education in Africa for 2024 and to connect with relevant stakeholders to prioritise the development and implementation of effective system-wide transformational strategies for inclusive, quality and equitable education across Africa.

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Education transforms lives and is at the heart of Humana People to People drive of building peace, fighting poverty, and sustainable development. The ushering of the UNESCO Transform Education Summit in 2022 has been a turning-point in drawing the global attention to the need to invest in reforming education for it to better relate to existing new realities shaping the 21st century development landscape. Humana People to People’s human-centered approach to education closely aligns with the transform education paradigm shift which the African Union is embracing to bring a new dimension to the current education path.

Humana People to People is of the firm view that education pedagogies must promote cooperation and solidarity. Thus, education pedagogies must educate to protect the planet, build communities and support people by connecting them with others, to unleash their potential for positive change and action. The transformation is a matter of urgency now more than ever as the future of people depends on the future of the planet, and both are at greater risk of collapse from climate change. A conscious 21st century generation has to be taught the fundamental importance of working together for the greater good of protecting the planet through climate resilient approaches that ensure the future of humanity is safe for generations to come.

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A function of ensuring that education delivers must ensure pedagogy in use is rooted in cooperation and solidarity, building the capacities of students and teachers to work together in earnest to transform the world. The transformative role of a well-trained, qualified and professional teacher plays a facilitative role in nurturing quality outcomes of a reformed education that works for all.

Humana People to People recognizes that pedagogy is capable of transforming both students and teachers as they learn from and with each other. The pedagogical approach can either prohibit, limit or promote transformations, thus care must be taken to ensure the pedagogy is settled for promoting solidarity and is for peace building. For many years, focus has been on individual success and responding to the needs of the labour market, a perspective that has spread throughout the world. The shift in focus has come at a right time for the continent and will be instrumental to help with developing education reform that works best for Africa.


Humana People to People has invested in training primary school teachers for sub-Saharan Africa. Teacher training influences the process of children’s learning. A qualified and professionally trained teacher plays an important role in knowledge production, challenging learners to engage in the practical adventure of demonstrating the extent of grasping concepts. When new knowledge is applied to actions of change, be it in the primary school or in the community, the students deepen their understanding of reality, which leads them to search for more knowledge.

Teachers play a crucial role when they build collaboration among each other, with students, parents and the entire community in general. Working as a collective facilitates pooling together, helps to achieve quality discussions and promotes social cohesion. Teachers' contribution to production of knowledge makes them key figures in transforming both education and the society at large.


At the Humana People to People Teacher Training College there is in place a structure for the graduated teachers who receive continuous learning and teaching support. The mechanism is called the Graduated Teachers’ Network. It engages trained teachers in the development of primary schools, provides opportunities to exchange experiences at the school, district and provincial level and equip the teachers with the tools to deliver more effectively. Through the Graduated Teachers’ Network, the teachers and their peers have a forum to discuss teaching methods and how to engage parents in the schooling processes, which has resulted in many new initiatives such as clubs for girls, reading clubs, school gardens, school feeding schemes, construction of classrooms, community actions among others.

It remains imperative that space has to be created in order to let teachers take new initiatives. When an enabling environment and trust is established, then we can count on teachers to influence education positively for lasting impact.

Our commitment to investing in education will continue for the long-term and we stand ready as key collaborators and implementing partners in the transformational education journey in Africa.