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TESSA - Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa

Principal Investigator:  Dr Kris Stutchbury 
Co-investigator: Olivier Biard
Consortium Partners: OU Alumni (consult the complete list of previous funders)
Partners: A network of 20 Universities  (consult the complete list of partners)
Focus Country: Sub-Saharan Africa 
Dates: 2005 - ongoing

Launched in 2005, in direct response to requests from teacher education institutions across the region, TESSA (Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa) is an education research and development project working with partners to help primary and secondary school teachers across sub-Saharan Africa to achieve quality education for all.

TESSA’s bank of Open Educational Resources (OER) was developed by a consortium of 9 universities, including the OU. Available in multiple language and country versions, they are linked to national curricula and are designed to enhance the quality and demand of local, school-based teacher education.  The OER are relevant to teachers and those supporting teachers in colleges, universities and local education offices. 

Published under an open Creative Commons licence, the modular resources are free to use and adapt. TESSA materials can be integrated into pre-service and in-service teacher training programmes or used independently by practising teachers to develop their skills in using active teaching and learning approaches.

The resources feature principles, activities and classroom examples that teachers can use in their class to help their pupils engage actively in their learning. 

Handbooks and toolkits help teacher-educators to use the OER effectively and to model the learner centred approaches in their programmes.

Key features of the TESSA OER

The TESSA OER are locally appropriate resources to educate and train teachers at scale. They support teachers at all stages of their professional development, from initial teacher education and training to continuous professional learning and development.

They provide:

  • 90 subject-based modules, comprising 75 structured primary level and 15 secondary level units, each containing practical activities, case study examples and resources for teachers to use directly in the classroom.
  • Practical guidance on pedagogical strategies to engage learners in their learning.
  • Handbooks and toolkits for teachers and teacher educators to help make the most of the subject resources. 
  • Support to reflect on pupil learning and one’s own performance in the classroom.
  • Support to teach sensitive, difficult or controversial issues.
  • A space for teacher educators and teachers to share their adaptations of the TESSA OER.


Picture of Millicent Acquah

There are some things that I have never tried out myself before. It does make a big difference... TESSA is always ready to deliver.

Millicent Acquah

Milicent, a teacher in Ghana, had few resources and limited training before her school began using the TESSA programme.

We are incredibly proud of our achievements. Since launch, TESSA materials have been used to reach hundreds of thousands of teachers, the programme has received over £4m in funding and we have won numerous awards including a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in 2009, a WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education) Award in 2011, and the PIEoneer award for digital innovation in 2018.

At its core, TESSA is a resource bank of teacher education materials, authored by African authors and drawing on the OU's teaching expertise, used by teacher education institutions to enhance the training of teachers both pre-service and those already in the classroom. The TESSA materials are available online and offline, in digital and printed formats and in multiple languages, are sensitive to the cultural diversity of the region and freely available for teachers to use, adapt and share.

TESSA would not exist without the growing network of sub-Saharan academic institutions, global consultative and strategic partners, and governments (both African and UK) driving the programme. For full details, access the TESSA materials. You can also access the all-Africa OER in English.

To see how the TESSA model has been adapted for India, find out more about TESSA’s sister programme, TESS-India.

Visit the old TESSA website

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