No teacher is an Island

Design-Based Implementation Research on school-based TPD in primary schools in Sierra Leone
Reading Time: 7 minutes


When we step into the head-teacher’s office in one of our project schools, Foday, the facilitator comes in and greets us. He asks us to be patient while they sort out lunch for the children and get the teachers together. We sit back and relax, and watch the hundreds of learners receive their rice and plasas under the supervision of their teachers. We are there to observe a TGM: a Teacher Group Meeting. Teacher Group Meetings are meetings where teachers come together to share challenges and advice. Their aim is to facilitate an environment wherein teachers share knowledge and skills, and improve their practice through peer-learning. The facilitators are teachers who were chosen by their school leader to run these meetings and attended a one-day workshop in preparation for that. During the workshop, they learned about facilitation: how to create a safe environment during the TGMs and to encourage interaction between teachers. Facilitators were also offered materials and a structure for facilitating a TGM, which they altered to fit their own unique school contexts and their colleagues’ needs.

Continue reading “No teacher is an Island”

Can digital personalized learning end the world’s education crisis?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The blogpost was written by   Andaleeb Alam, UNICEF, and Dr. Nathan M. Castillo , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and published on the Education for All blog on June 20, 2022. The blogpost is available at It is published here without any modifications and with permission from the authors.

Learning at your own pace, catching up on missed classes, filling learning gaps… EdTech products can offer many solutions in lower-income countries. A new analysis by UNICEF shows good practices and areas for improvement to make these products more equitable and effective.

Learning is in crisis. Even before COVID-19, 53 percent of children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) were unable to read and understand a simple text by the age of 10. The pandemic is expected to push that figure up to 70 percent.

The past decade has generated major advances in technology and experimentation with digital learning solutions that enable a new kind of experience – by tailoring learning to the needs of the individual; what we are calling digital personalized learning.

Digital personalized learning has shown promise in LMICs in closing education gaps for lower-attaining students by allowing them to learn at their own pace and to their own proficiency, positioning it as a potential tool to address learning gaps as the worst of the pandemic recedes.

Continue reading “Can digital personalized learning end the world’s education crisis?”

Decolonizing EdTech in Africa: picking local EdTech solutions over foreign solutions

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Abdul Mohamed . Originally posted on LinkedIn

I recently attended the eLearning Africa conference in Kigali: the largest and longest Africa focused digital learning gathering.

However, within an hour of entering the venue, I was surprised to find that most of the EdTech solutions on display were foreign. This observation was unsettling, a disappointment that many other attendees also commented on. I ran the numbers, nearly 80% of the 51 EdTech solutions on display were foreign.

What stung most, and sparked this piece, was that many of foreign EdTech solutions seemed to show little care for adapting their solutions to the needs of African learners.

  • A digital classroom solution provider demoed their product, which was completely in German
  • Another eLearning product boasted about their 3,000+ courses, of which 60%+ are taught in German

If curious, yes, there are German speaking Africans. 0.001% of Africa’s 1.3B citizens speak German.

Continue reading “Decolonizing EdTech in Africa: picking local EdTech solutions over foreign solutions”

Tich Mi Ar Tich Dem

Designing a low-cost and scalable teacher professional development in Sierra Leone
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Over the past two decades, Sierra Leone has faced a series of shocks: a civil war, landslides, Ebola, and the COVID-19 pandemic. These shocks have aggravated the learning crisis that the country’s education system faces—and dramatically increased the pressure on teachers to deliver high-quality support to children.

In this context, the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and the Teaching Service Commission have come together to design a low-cost and scalable initiative to support the professional development of the education workforce. The initiative is school-based, technology-supported, and focused on early grade literacy and numeracy.

With funding from Dubai Cares, we have started to support the Government of Sierra Leone to build evidence to inform the development of the model under the Tich Mi Ar Tich Dem—’teach me to teach them’— programme.

Continue reading “Tich Mi Ar Tich Dem”

Better Purpose on the Science of Learning

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Colleagues over at Better Purpose are offering insights into the Science of Learning through their Science of Learning report.

They have this to say:

  • Our Science of Learning report summarises how children learn (in general, when learning maths and how to read, in adolescence and remotely using technology).
  • While access to education has significantly increased worldwide, hundreds of millions of children are still not achieving the level of learning that they should.  A major contributor to the lack of progress in learning is an implementation gap between what the theory tells us about how children learn most effectively and the practices deployed by teachers in classrooms; this gap is particularly acute in low-income contexts. 
  • In recent years, advances in the sciences of the brain have built a compelling body of knowledge about how children learn.  This report presents a summary of key evidence about how children learn, drawing on research from neuroscience, behavioural sciences, and cognitive sciences.  It provides an overview of useful frameworks which translate the science of learning into implications for teaching.  It also highlights some leading organisations who are shaping this field and provides references for further learning.  
  • In compiling this report we have drawn upon the work of leading researchers from all over the world, whose publications cover both high and low-income contexts. Our assumption is that while the core principles of how children learn apply universally, more research is needed to examine how the application of these principles differs across contexts.  We hope that this report provides a useful reference point for learning and practice.

For more information, visit the Science of Learning.

Policymakers and Girls’ Education in Emergencies in Kenya

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In a recent report, we explore the extent to which policymakers in Kenya have produced or used quality data to drive equitable and coordinated provisions of education for girls and women. We conducted 25 semi-structured interviews with a wide range of key stakeholders, both at the national and county levels. We also consulted non-state actors such as United Nations organisations, civil society organisations, research organisations, non-governmental organisations and religious authorities. 

Continue reading “Policymakers and Girls’ Education in Emergencies in Kenya”

5 Considerations When Using Technology for Teacher Professional Development in Low Resource Areas

Reading Time: 5 minutes


The right type of teacher professional development (TPD) is one of the most effective interventions to improve student learning and wellbeing. It’s second only to Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL), though to effectively teach at the right level, TPD is needed. Even before COVID-19 brought about disruptions to schools and in-person teaching, there has been increasing interest in the potential for technology to enhance effective, sustainable, and scalable teacher professional development.

Continue reading “5 Considerations When Using Technology for Teacher Professional Development in Low Resource Areas”


Reading Time: < 1 minute

Four times Olympian for Team GB announced this week on LinkedIn that she is now an official Ambassador for the UK-SVG Friendship Trust.

As a British Vincentian, Donna will continue to use her platform to support our La Soufriere Volcanic Eruption – Recovery Assistance Programme (SVG-RAP) which aims to assist families and friends directly impacted and displaced due to the ongoing eruption.

Our team is ecstatic to work alongside this great champion!

Your donations will help to reach those in need and with Donna’s support, we will ensure that our women, young girls and those living with disabilities are given greater attention.

Remember to share our GoFundMe campaign link and find us on your favourite social media platform by searching for @uksvgfriends.

#StrongerTogether #UKSVGFriends#IdonatedtoSVG#DonatetoSVG

More donations on the ground, 40ft container shipped AND Amazon Wishlist donations. Let’s keep going!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This week we have helped even more people on the ground including a donation of 1,500 Sanitary pad packs to the Ministry of National Mobilisation, Social Development, the Family, Gender Affairs, Youth Housing and Informal Settlement to buffer their various welfare interventions. This is on top of the 3,000 Sanitary packs and 300 food care packages distributed – you can see images in the gallery above.

Continue reading “More donations on the ground, 40ft container shipped AND Amazon Wishlist donations. Let’s keep going!”