Enhancing Teacher Education for Bridging the Education Quality Gap in Africa

UNESCO and China join hands for Teacher Education in Africa


The UNESCO-China Funds-in-Trust (CFIT) project on “Enhancing Teacher Education for Bridging the Education Quality Gap in Africa” was launched on 22 November 2012 at the close of the 2012 Global Education for All Meeting (GEM). Through the project, UNESCO and the Government of the People’s Republic of China are joining hands to enhance teacher education and professional development in Africa.

The initiative marks the beginning of a new partnership: it is the first time UNESCO has received this level of financial support (US$ 8 million) from China in favor of teacher education. 8 African countries - selected among UNESCO's programme priority countries and according to China's development cooperation policy - will be participating in the project: Ethiopia, Namibia, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Liberia, Uganda, and Tanzania.

Through the use of ICTs, mobile learning, and knowledge production and sharing, the 4-year (2012 – 2016) initiative aims at boosting the capacities of Ministries and key teacher training institutes’ (TTIs) in the area of pre- and continuous teacher training and development.

The project's overall goal of enhancing quality education is in line with UNESCO’s work on Education for All (EFA), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI). The project is implemented within the context of UNESCO’s new teacher strategy and commitment to South-South cooperation.


  1. Institutional capacity building

The project seeks to enhance the capacity of existing key TTIs in:

  • providing quality pre-service programmes, so as to increase the supply of qualified teachers particularly through ICT-supported distance training programmes;
  • supporting in-service teachers’ continuous professional development, particularly through blended learning modalities and programmes scaling up successful ICT-support innovations;
  • equipping teacher trainers and teachers with the competency of using ICT to improve the quality of teaching and learning.

The project also supports networks of TTIs that are exchanging information on effective strategies and practices in teacher training with policy makers, institutional leaders and other stakeholders.

  1. Country ownership

The project is driven, led, implemented, and thus owned, by the 8 countries. The 8 country project teams consist of members from each of the Ministries of Education and leading TTIs that participate fully, from the onset and throughout the lifecycle of the project. The country project teams are responsible for:

  • Needs assessment – to collect data from the field and identify the needs of the TTIs, needs assessment reports are produced.
  • Project design – design intervention strategies which align with their needs. Country project documents are produced, reviewed by experts, and validated.
  • Implementation – carry out the activities as designed in the country project documents.

UNESCO supports the countries in exercising effective leadership over the implementation of the project. UNESCO also assists in the monitoring and evaluation of the project, as well as in coordinating related programmes within the countries.


  • 17-18 December 2012, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris
    The main objective of the meeting was to familiarize participants with the project and to consult with the appropriate government officials of Ethiopia, Namibia and Côte d’Ivoire and UNESCO field colleagues in order to prepare for the needs assessment that will serve as a base for the implementation plan. 
    Meeting report
  • 11-12 April 2013, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris
    The objective of the meeting was to consult and discuss with the national project focal points and UNESCO's education specialists based in the 3 target countries on the achievements, challenges and lessons learned from the needs assessment period as well as finalize the implementation plan.
    Follow-up meeting report
  • 9-11 October 2013, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris
    All 8 countries will participate in this meeting. Its objective is to allow the first 3 countries to share their experiences with the 5 new participating countries, as well as to provide the representatives of the new countries with the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the project and start planning the needs assessment and implementation plan. The 3 countries that are starting to implement the project will finalize their implementation plan and monitoring and evaluation mechanism during the meeting.
    - 9-10 October 2013: Meeting on Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Namibia. Minutes
    - 10-11 October 2013: Meeting on Congo, DR Congo, Liberia, Tanzania, Uganda. Minutes


Achievements so far

  • Year 1 (2012-2013): the first 3 target countries - Ethiopia, Namibia and Côte d’Ivoire - have finished their needs assessment and project design stage, and are starting implementation.
    - Needs Assessment Reports for Côte d’IvoireEthiopia and Namibia 
    - CFIT Needs Assessment synthesis report
  • Year 2 (2013-2014): the second group of target countries - Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Liberia, Uganda, and Tanzania - will commence their needs assessment and then start the project design.
  • Progress Report July 2013. View
  • Côte d'Ivoire progress
    • CFIT Formal Launch, 12-13 September 2013, Abidjan. View
    • Open and Distance Learning (ODL) workshop, 16-20 December 2013, Abidjan. View
  • Ethiopia progress
    • Open and Distance Learning (ODL) workshop, 16-20 December 2013, Addis Ababa. View



To have more information on the CFIT project, please contact Mr Francesc Pedró (f.pedro@unesco.org), Chief of the Section for Teacher Development and Education Policies, Education Sector, UNESCO.