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Teacher professional development in Africa. A critical synthesis of research evidence

This study is an original synthesis of African research evidence on teacher professional development (TPD) provision in the sub-Saharan region. It provides a critical appraisal of the evidence base and identifies patterns in the actors and agendas involved in TPD initiatives; the modes and modalities of provision; and teachers’ experiences and outcomes. The study takes the form of a critical interpretive synthesis and is informed by theoretical work on decolonising education and promoting Gender Equality and Social Inclusion. It draws primarily on publications by African-based researchers.

The findings point to the prevalence of one-size-fits-all provision which can often undermine, rather than strengthen, the situated professional knowledge and agency of teachers. Additionally, despite the emphasis given to inclusive education and gender-responsive pedagogy as a substantive focus of TPD initiatives, the authors  find that dominant modalities of TPD provision continue to exclude historically marginalised groups, and largely reproduce existing social inequalities along the lines of gender, rurality, dis/ability and other dimensions. Alongside these negative findings, the study also finds fertile ground for more inclusive, generative and empowering TPD in the region.