The Impact of Educator Empowerment on Learning Outcomes in Africa

9 min read


Ancient Vs Modern Education โ€” The Education Daily

Over the years, education has evolved. From what started in the Egyptian and Greek colonies as a way to enable people to think in their free time to have a formal structure of giving specialized training to people to enable them to become experts in certain fields to having a standard across the world by putting people of the same demography in classes and were taught with slates and chalkboards to the introduction of paper and pen to encourage detailed documentation to what we have today where we see various digital tools being adopted in schools by both teachers and learners.

Indeed, education has come a long way and has also helped more people to learn about fields they ordinarily would not know about. In our world today, we have seen tremendous growth in the use of technology in our daily activities such as communication, documentation, research, games, and so on. This change is happening at such a rapid rate that it would be unwise to ignore the trends and stick to the status quo. Technology has made the lives of people easier and with the advent of artificial intelligence, we will see much more growth in the adoption of technology. What does this mean for education stakeholders who will be interfacing with the new world of technology? How can educators apply the use of technology to ease learning within the classroom?

According to a report by the African Studies Group at the Autonomous University of Madrid, at least 72% of the worldโ€™s illiterates are in Africa and that shows that many learners may not be able to use technology to learn easily as there are low literacy levels in many parts of Africa. Also, giving teachers access to tools and resources to enable them to become knowledgeable about education technologies, their usefulness in enabling learning, and the adoption of digital tools to aid the delivery of learning increases the overall literacy level of learners. In addition to that, innovative pedagogies such as Inquiry-Based Learning should be deployed by teachers to properly integrate these technologies. The education practice of the Co-Creation Hub, via the Teachers Lounge Initiative, offers member teachers training on these pedagogies to further support them in technology integration and delivery of meaningful learning experiences. 

This brings us to the point where we attempt to answer the question that says, โ€œWhy do we need to train teachers in educational technologies in todayโ€™s world?โ€ This article will look at the educational technologies that are available and how teachers are using them, the challenges that inhibit the adoption of educational technologies in the classroom, and what can be done to encourage more teachers to adapt to new tools and technology to deliver learning to their students.

Educational technologies and tools in the 21st Century

Smiling African boy using headphone and tablet.

Education technology often referred to as EdTech has seen tremendous adoption since its introduction in the 1960s. Online education which involves the use of software and hardware to dissipate information began to gain prominence since then. With the introduction of the internet in the 1990s, we have now seen the application of tools across the world. In Africa, due to a low level of internet penetration and access to electricity, we continue to bring up new ways to infuse technology into learning processes. Today, tools such as WhatsApp, Google Classroom, Slides, and so on, are being used by Teachers to explain concepts or send information across. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, we saw a large amount of adaptation as many schools started to use WhatsApp as a learning medium to teach their students such that even those in low-income brackets were able to adjust to the new learning medium. 

Apart from that, there are also various types of tools that have been developed by smart minds to simplify learning processes for students and make the work of teachers less hectic. Such solutions include some products developed by CCHUB portfolio startups such as Elimu, Schoola, Gradely, Edutams, and so on. While some of them are learning management solutions (LMS), some solutions gamify learning and give teachers more resources to communicate with their students.

eLimu for example, gamifies learning processes for children in Africa by creating learning games, interactive stories, and simulations thereby giving them access to quality education irrespective of their locations. eLimu provides learning content for kids aged 5 – 10 which can be used in schools and at home. These contents are infused with fun mechanics through gamification, providing motivation, reward, and learning reinforcement. They build related and contextualized content accessible to every African child.

Schoola is a gamified learning solution that drives engagement for K12 schools’ e-learning and uses AI for analytics and agnostic content generation increasing the performance of teachers and learners. Schoolaโ€™s lesson creation application Curri AI helps teachers to easily create lessons with the help of AI, generate questions from uploaded files, and access diverse K12 curricula. 

Gradely is a platform that personalizes learning for children both at home and in school. With this platform, teachers can now make studentsโ€™ learning unique to them by giving them the resources that will be helpful based on specific recommendations. They provide a learning management solution where learners can access video lessons, hire on-demand tutors, and practice what they have learned. Gradelyโ€™s unique platform provides assessment tools, progress reports, and engaging class experiences to enhance learning outcomes.

Edutams, is also a platform for schools to manage educational processes including personalized tutoring, an optimized digital tool to automate critical procedures while obtaining analytics of these key processes, embedded payment facility to aid fee collection by the schools.

With the rise of these tools and many more in the marketplace today, it is becoming more and more important for teachers to possess the right skills to enable them to navigate these tools as well as use them to educate their learners. Teachers can also serve as feedback points for these solutions to make better products for the learners on the receiving end of these solutions. However, numerous challenges are faced by teachers that serve as a major deterrent to the adoption of these technologies.

Major challenges affecting the adoption of educational technologies

Developing educational technologies is not much of a headache when compared to the adoption of those technologies. It is frustrating to see awesome technologies that were developed to aid learning processes left to rot while maintaining conventional teaching processes. It is easy to think that this is because people are averse to technology when in fact, it is a result of systemic challenges that the teachers and other stakeholders are faced with continuously. It would be unfair to advocate for the adoption of digital tools without first outlining what the challenges are. Some of the major challenges that we have seen are highlighted below:

  • Lack of Awareness and Professional Training

Awareness, we would argue is one of the biggest challenges faced with the adoption of digital tools and resources. This is simply because many teachers are yet to learn about the use of technology and this creates a big barrier to entry in many locations across Africa. This is particularly the case for remote locations where internet penetration is low or not available. According to the Multidisciplinary Journal of Research Development, this is a leading challenge that is hindering the adoption of education technology in Nigeria and by extension, Africa. In the book, Critical Perspectives of Educational Technology in Africa, Bellarmine Ezumah also stated that lack of, or inadequate training for teachers to fully implement the technology in classrooms is a major hindrance to the adoption of education technology.

  • Access to Infrastructure and Power Supply

When the idea of education technology is discussed, different components work together to ensure the smooth delivery of learning processes. Such components include hardware (desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets, mobile devices, internet connectivity, and so on) and software. These are necessary for learners to get value from the tools and resources that are available. The challenge here is that many school teachers and learners do not have access to these tools that can be used for learning. In the Journal for Sociological Research,  Dr. Emmy J. Kipsoi et. al, argues that in Kenya, over 4000 public schools do not have ICT equipment and this poses a challenge to technological adoption in those schools. Also, the issue of power supply in places like Nigeria is a major concern since these technologies are typically powered by electricity.

  • Poor Internet Connectivity

Most digital tools used today are web-based platforms that require a connection to the Internet for them to function properly. Diplo recorded that in Africa, internet penetration grew from 9.6% to 33% between 2010 and 2021. While this growth is impressive and is expected to continue, the penetration is still quite low hence will inhibit digital activities on the continent. This also affects schools and teachers as well since it would be difficult for them to adopt a technology that is not useful to them as a result of poor or no internet connection.

What can be done to encourage more teachers to adapt to new tools and technology?

Ongoing training session at the Teacher’s Lounge.

We have seen the challenges that are preventing the widespread adoption of education technologies across various locations in Africa. The question then to ask is โ€œWhat can be done?โ€. It is important to ask this salient question because digitization has come to stay so we need to find ways to ensure that more teachers understand the usefulness of digital tools as well as its application in their daily activities since they are the first point of contact for schools in general.

One way to support teachers in the adoption of education technologies is to design training programs that will build their capacity and equip them to properly take advantage of these tools. Training programs such as Teachers Lounge by re:learn give the teachers a community where they can learn not just from facilitators but from peers. The teacher’s lounge offers teacher training on innovative pedagogies, digital literacy, digital tools, peer mentoring bootcamp with teachers from other African countries, EdTech product testing, Fireside chats with industry experts, knowledge-sharing sessions amongst peers, and most of all access to free co-working space for teachers in Lagos, Abuja, Nairobi. Members, of the community, are trained on basic tools in Google Education Workspace and are exposed to different Edtech solutions for use in their classroom. Significantly star community members become EdTech product testers, contributing to the refinement of products that are aligned with the curriculum and fit for in-school use.  

Also, the re:learn team designed a service known as Schools EdTech Clinic to drive increased adoption and use of technology-driven educational resources and solutions to accelerate learning experiences and improve educational outcomes within Nigeria’s education system. It follows a diagnostic-prescription-support approach in collaboration with school leaders in primary, secondary, and tertiary schools in Nigeria.

Another area that needs adequate attention is the provision of infrastructure for the teachers. Infrastructure here includes hardware such as tablets, laptops, or mobile devices and software subscriptions since most of the digital tools are subscription-based. The cost of purchasing these tools is typically above the salaries of teachers in emerging markets such as Nigeria, Kenya, and other African countries. Finally, when the tools are provided, there is a need for upskilling as many teachers may not have the knowledge to use these solutions and it is only right that programs are designed by education stakeholders to enable them to implement their knowledge in their classrooms.


Upskilling teachers in the area of educational technologies accelerates the adoption, integration, and use of technology to drive improved student learning outcomes. Co-creation Hub has provided a platform called Teachers Lounge through her education practice re:learn where teachers access training programs at no cost. Visit our website to find out more about our services in teacher training.