In April 2020, we made an equity investment into the South African company Instill Education, offering a unique model to improve educational outcomes by training teachers and school leaders in Africa.
Across Sub-Saharan Africa the quality of teaching remains poor, contributing to weak educational outcomes. The World Bank estimates that less than 7% of late primary school children in Africa show proficiency in reading, and less than 14% show proficiency in mathematics. Whilst teacher absenteeism, low teacher/learner ratio and poor curriculum are part of the problem, underqualified teachers remain a key challenge. The UN Sustainable Development Goals on education call for a “substantial increase in the supply of qualified teachers, through international cooperation for teacher training”. Current teacher training programs tend to be overly theoretical with little focus on practice. As a result, teachers are underprepared for the classroom, and unable to deliver the high quality learning experiences required to improve outcomes. Once in the job, teachers receive little support or coaching to grow in their roles to meet the needs of learners.
Instill Education is launching training programs to aspiring teachers and school leaders accredited by the South African Government. The program will incorporate innovative models of blended learning – including online, peer-to-peer, workshop and simulation exercises both at Instill’s campus, and through distance learning programmes. The goal is to graduate 800 new teachers per year through each campus and many thousands more online. In addition, Instill works with schools to upskill their current pool of teachers to improve their instructional practice, and as a result students’ learning outcomes. So far, Instill has worked with 75 school partners, training over 2,500 teachers.
We are looking forward to working closely with Instill’s team and expand their critical work to East Africa and across the continent.