New report on TVET in Sub-Saharan Africa

Our new report on technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Sub-Saharan is available in German:

Haßler, B., Stock, I., Schaffer, J., Winkler, E., Kagambèga, A., Haseloff, G., Watson, J., Marsden, M., Gordon, R., Damani, K. (2019). Berufsbildung in Subsahara-Afrika: Eine systematische Aufarbeitung des Forschungsstandes. VET Repository, Bundesinstitut für Berufs-bildung, Bonn, Germany. Creative-Commons-Lizenz CC BY 4.0. URN: urn:nbn:de:0035-vetrepository-775510-9 VET Repository:

A Digital Object Identifier is available too

An English-language version will be available in February 2020. Please register here for a PDF copy:

Announcement of the EdTech Hub: UK aid funds world’s biggest educational technology research project

The Overseas Development Institute, the REAL Centre (Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge), Results for Development, Jigsaw, Brink and Open Development & Education, together with the World Bank, will partner with DFID to help improve the use of educational technology in low-income countries.

UK aid is joining forces with British universities, researchers and education experts from around the world to create the largest ever education technology research and innovation project.

More than 380 million children worldwide will finish primary schools without being able to read or do basic maths. One of the major challenges for education technology in parts of Africa and Asia is that while governments and schools focus on buying hardware such as laptops and tablets, opportunities for teachers to improve their practice (drawing on the use the technology) to support children’s learning.

The new UK aid supported Educational Technology Hub (the #EdTechHub) is bringing together universities, research companies and education experts to help children, teachers and governments in developing countries get up to speed with the new technology in their classrooms. The Department for International Development (DFID) is working with the World Bank on the EdTech hub, which aims to create the largest global body of research that looks at how education technology is being used and how this can be improved.

Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin said:

Educational technology can transform how children learn, but in many developing countries it is often only available in the wrong language or schools do not have the right tools to keep their software in working order.

That’s why UK aid is supporting the creation of the EdTech Hub to help millions more children receive the quality education they deserve and reach their full potential.

For the first time there will be a substantial amount of practical research available to help teachers and governments around the world choose the right technology for their classrooms.

Senior Director for Education at the World Bank, Jaime Saavedra, said:

Today over half of children in the world are not learning. How can we separate the hope from the hype in harnessing the disruptive power of new technologies to tackle this global learning crisis?

That is the question that the EdTech hub seeks to answer. The World Bank is pleased to participate in this exciting and potentially game-changing initiative.

The EdTech hub, which will run for eight years, is made up of the University of Cambridge, the Overseas Development Institute, Results for Development, Brink, Jigsaw, Open Development & Education, INJINI, Afrilabs, e-Learning Africa, BRAC and others.

Expertise from the University of Cambridge will oversee a stream of rigorous research, meanwhile, British innovation company Brink will scale promising technology ideas with governments and educators.

Dr Sara Hennessy, from the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge said:

This huge investment and sustained commitment by DFID and partners to improving the educational opportunities for disadvantaged children in key low income regions is extremely welcome.

The University of Cambridge is very pleased to be involved in this pivotally important research programme. Technology use has to be adapted to the cultural context and one-size-fits-all solutions simply don’t work. Rather than hoping for the best, we have to carefully review and iterate, generating insights from rigorous research and applying them in practice.

Dr Björn Haßler, Director of Open Development & Education, added:

The most disadvantaged children are often taught by teachers who themselves are disadvantaged, including the lack of educational opportunities. If we want to improve those children’s lives, we also have to think about how to support those teachers.

This support cannot rely on the often poor and costly internet connections. Instead, we have to find smart ways of utilising what is available including digital and non-digital approaches.

UK aid is already being used to find innovative ways to address the global learning crisis through education technology. The new EdTech hub will look at how interventions using EdTech innovations can be evaluated, scaled-up and used across developing countries.

Programme director Susan Nicolai, a senior research fellow at ODI, said:

Education is a fundamental right of every child and a key driver of global development. Yet shockingly, if current trends continue, by 2030 just one in ten children in the poorest countries will be on track to gain secondary-level skills.

Education technology, if better understood and used, can be a game changer in supporting learning for some of the poorest and excluded children and young people in the world. The EdTech Hub will connect learning, innovation and expertise to make that happen.

The EdTech hub will also:

  • Provide evidence and research to help develop new technologies and digital tools for children to use, such as bespoke learning software that has the relevant language for the student.
  • provide a global platform for sharing ideas and effective practice for technology companies, investors and decision makers
  • Bring innovation to communities, classrooms and ministries with a team that will work directly with users to test and tailor technology.
  • Offer technical assistance to help international governments who are keen to build up their knowledge and expertise on how to integrate digital education tools in their countries.

Source. This text was adapted from the DFID press announcement

Research and Innovation to Fulfil the Potential of EdTech


It will be 70 years before we achieve universal primary education for all children, according to the Global Education Monitoring Report’s business-as-usual scenario. How much longer until those children are learning well and their teachers are well-supported? 

70 years is too long to wait. We know technology has the potential to accelerate progress and increase equity — or, it could distract and exacerbate inequality. That’s why, a new programme — the EdTech Hub — we will galvanise a global community in pursuit of catalytic impact, focusing on evidence so we can collectively abandon what does not work and reallocate funding and effort to what does.

With support from UK Aid and in partnership with the World Bank and others, the EdTech Hub will work to advance knowledge and practice through research, innovation, and engagement. It is committed to using rigorous evidence and innovation to improve the lives of the most marginalised.

The partnership

The EdTech Hub is collaboratively run by a partnership of organisations.

The Directors and Advisors

The Hub is managed by a directors’ group who are responsible for programme management, research, innovation and engagement:

The group of directors is complemented by senior advisors:

@GlobalEdTechHub, #EdTechHub

Adaptive, Open, Transparent, Inclusive, Equitable. The EdTech Hub is deeply committed to adaptive working, open development, transparency, inclusion, and equity. All content on the EdTech Hub site is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Creative Commons Licence. This blog post on is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (except for institutional logos). You — dear readers — are free to share (copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format) and adapt (remix, transform, and build upon the material) for any purpose, even commercially. You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Creative Commons acknowledgement for this blog post. Appropriate credit: The blog post is a minor adaptation of a content page appearing on The EdTech Hub ( website at, and is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0. Non-endorsement. We note that giving credit and building on this content does not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses or‘s use of the content.

TVET Community Report

Dear TVET forum members,

You may recall our earlier message regarding setting up a TVET directory for Sub-Saharan Africa — many thanks to all those who contributed to this (see here). Since then, with the help of those who have responded, we identified relevant literature and have undertaken a comprehensive literature review of the TVET research literature on TVET in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as conducted numerous interviews. Our results are summarised in a 160-page report (in English).

In our work so far, it has become clear that those TVET community members who are interested in research (on TVET in Sub-Saharan Africa) are looking for opportunities to participate in research networks, to further develop their research skills and to publish.

This led us to the view that our final report should not be a product of the current authors only, but — assuming there is interest from the community — become a ‘community product’. We, therefore, propose to initiate a ‘structured community review’, during which the above report is systematically reviewed by a larger number of community members (drawn in part from this forum). Everybody who contributes will be acknowledged. Those who contribute significantly (e.g. by adding case studies or similar) will be acknowledged as chapter (co-)authors or (in case of significant contributions across the report) as report (co-)authors.

In addition to opening up the report in this way, the ‘structured community review’ (SCR) is also an experiment to see whether it is possible for the TVET research community in Sub-Saharan Africa to come together and act together. In this first instance, this ‘acting together’ is to undertake the SCR and produce a shared research output. We hope that this will pave the way for the TVET research community in Sub-Saharan Africa to continue acting together in other ways (e.g., joint research, joint capacity building, etc).

Finally, I’d like to stress that the term ‘TVET research community in Sub-Saharan Africa’ is meant to be inclusive, rather than exclusive. It should include all researchers with an interest in TVET in sub-Saharan Africa, thereby encompassing: TVET practitioners, educationalists, sociologists, economists, members of relevant government departments, members of TVET authorities etc, those located in both sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, and encompass a diversity of language (English, French and Portuguese) – while the report is in English, our team includes both French and Portuguese speakers, and discussion in these languages will also be encouraged.

We are currently finalising the draft report and hope to launch the SCR in early April. We expect the discussion to continue for 3-4 weeks. We will (1) initially pose some general questions for discussion (using a mailing list), then (2) review the report together, chapter by chapter (again, using the same mailing list), and (3) finally undertake some focus-group discussions (this may be by email, or using voice over IP, e.g., Skype or Hangouts, etc).

If you are interested in participating, please use this sign-up form (Google Forms). The form is in English, but you can also respond in French or Portuguese. Please also comment below if you prefer the form itself to be in French or Portuguese.

Please feel free to share this message with others outside the forum. If you had previously responded to our earlier post (see above) then we will also notify you by email.

Many thanks,

Björn, Melissa, Joe, Asseta