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Improving classroom practice through Open Education Resources

Status: Current

Launched in 2005, in direct response to requests from teacher education institutions across the region, TESSA (Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa) is transforming the education of primary and secondary school teachers across sub-Saharan Africa.  

TESSA’s bank of Open Educational Resources (OER) is designed to enhance the quality and demand of local, school-based teacher education. Produced in partnership with African education experts, the modular resources are free to use and adapt.

TESSA materials support national curricula and 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 learning approaches.

The resources feature activities 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 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

Mother and son

They provide:

  • Subject resources which include case study examples and practical activities and resources for teachers to use in the classroom.
  • 75 structured primary and 15 secondary units of 3 sections linked to the national curriculum.
  • 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 and controversial issues.
  • A space for teacher educators and teachers to share their adaptations of the TESSA OER.

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

Millicent Acquah

Computer chips

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

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

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 and a WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education) Award in 2011.

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, and to access the TESSA materials themselves, please click here.

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