Advancing Africa’s Knowledge-Economy by Investing in Teachers

A teacher in class in Rwanda as part of Mastercard Foundation’s Leaders in Teaching program.

Teachers are at the frontlines of education and are the single most important ingredient in young people’s learning.  Investing in one teacher’s training and development can impact thousands of young people, particularly in disadvantaged communities. Resource-strapped institutions struggle to offer teachers opportunities for structured professional development and leadership. Building a cadre of highly trained teaching professionals can unlock a virtuous cycle in education development – one that can help African nations achieve their vision of becoming advanced, knowledge-based economies.

This virtuous cycle starts with high performing students entering teacher training colleges and other pre-service programs.  When top students receive excellent training and become teachers, the quality of learning increases and efficiencies are gained as fewer children drop out or repeat grades. The best teachers are promoted to positions of leadership within schools so they can motivate and nurture their peers. This elevates the status of teachers, and inspires more talented students to enter the profession, continuing the virtuous cycle.

The African Union’s Agenda 2063 sets out a bold vision to fully develop the continent’s human capital as its “most precious resource” through sustained investments in education from early childhood through university.  These investments are aimed at building advanced, knowledge-based economies driving prosperity across the continent.

As the key ingredient in education with the greatest impact on a child’s learning, teachers are at the core for achieving Africa’s vision. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of education – and teachers — in helping young people acquire the skills they need to prepare for a fast-changing world of work. Further, teachers deliver not only skills and knowledge, but compassion, and have been a crucial element in supporting young people’s socio-emotional development through challenging times. Read more…

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