Doubling up to Support Online and On-Site In-Service Teacher Training in Secondary Education
It is common knowledge that in-service teacher training (INSET) from pre-primary to upper secondary education is a major challenge in Africa (Junaid and Maka, 2015). More often than not, comprehensive and integrated INSET policies are lacking. When they do exist, their implementation is problematic. The documented practices show serious levels of ineffectiveness and are costly. They range from the one-off training of trainers at a particular site for a more or less short duration and with a view to cascading the knowledge thus acquired to other teachers, to a school-based training provided by experienced and better qualified teachers, principals or inspectors visiting classrooms to observe and mentor teachers, and to a full or part-time university-based training of 2 to 3 years.
The ineffectiveness of INSET in most African countries has serious implications for quality as most teachers are being hired with minimal pre-service training. In secondary education where mastery of specific subject matters such as mathematics, physics and languages (English, French, Portuguese, etc.) is required, INSET to upgrade teachers’ knowledge and competencies becomes a very serious quality and relevance issue.
A few African countries are now experimenting with Open, Distance and eLearning (ODeL) and other modalities to address the inability of ministries of education (MoE) to reach a critical number of teachers with quality INSET. Therefore, it is important to study closely the current practices of ODeL-based INSET as they too have some weaknesses that need to be identified and corrected.