This chapter addresses some key issues related to pedagogical approaches and scenarios marginalised groups face in the pursuit of basic and higher education in African countries. Based on a case study carried out in Tanzania and South Africa, this chapter explores debates within the theory and practice of education and teaching environment, and elaborates what the notion pedagogy encompasses in the act of teaching and learning, inequality systems linked to opportunities offered by the new Information Technology, lack of quality teachers and infrastructure all focused to poor people entering the labour market. This chapter considers how pedagogical challenges can be diminished and overcome the growing knowledge and skills shortages. Finally, it offers recommendations towards turning both pedagogy and pedagogical challenges into a success story focused on investing in human capital for the poor in Africa.
- unequal systems
- Information Technology
- human capital
Pedagogy is an increasingly important component of education now regarded as part and parcel of an academic discipline. Hence, the notion in this book chapter refers to a study of how knowledge and skills are exchanged in an educational environment. The action puts into consideration the ‘interactions between teachers, students, and the learning environment and learning tasks’ . It also incorporates how teachers and students relate together and how the instructional approaches are employed in differentiated learning tasks and environment . Due to recent developments in the educational context, education experts have heightened interest in examining pedagogy as an academic discipline and how the entire process influences the interactions and growth of learners during learning and thereafter. However, I argue that a major challenge with all such initiatives remains to be the scenario poor people face in the pursuit of their basic and higher education, respectively. In African countries, many poor populations due to pedagogical challenges are left behind simply because of their countries education policies do lack systematic planning and training or passionate and committed teachers thinking beyond existing pedagogical approaches, with focus to ensuring effective pedagogy that occurs in the teaching environment aimed at preparing learners to the real-world learning relevance . As Abrams  contends, policy makers, schools and teachers have largely assumed that schools were the key to ensuring young people got the best possible start, yet for many children, the path to failure began well before their first day to school [4, 5].
Now, what does the notion pedagogy encompass in the teaching and learning environment? This is a complex issue and hard to account for due to the fact that pedagogies vary to a great extent due to social, political, historical, duration or time and international perspectives from which they do emerge [3, 6]. Notwithstanding, far too little attention has been paid to the complex nature of pedagogy challenges facing teachers on the African continent. In fact, the case goes far beyond the pedagogical approaches employed during the teaching and learning exercise to an extent of experiencing some teachers’ incompetence in their academic and teaching profession, and this result to perform their tasks below standard as it is going to be clarified in the next section. Therefore, many school children or students are badly taught , and the action draws a weak foundation for a child’s learning . Put another way, pedagogy is extended to the teachers’ understanding of their role, the teaching profession and knowing how children most effectively learn, and most importantly, how teachers have to productively engage in the teaching exercise. Shulman  argues that in order to advance teacher reform, it is essential to develop ‘codified representations of the practical pedagogical wisdom of able teachers’ .
Numerous studies have attempted to explain about approaches to pedagogy and basic strategies to eliminate pedagogical challenges in the teaching and learning environment. For example, in [8, 9, 10, 11], it argue that the best approach to teaching is the one based on the assumption that students learn best when they actively engage in the curriculum and when their interests forms the foundation for the curriculum’s construction. Furthermore, the incorporation of innovation as a new way of applying ideas and the flow of technology and information in pedagogy has to be employed as a way of describing or employing
In that context, the current book chapter has been organised in the following ways: firstly, it gives a brief overview on approach to pedagogy, and what the notion pedagogy encompasses in the teaching and learning context; secondly, it reviews scenarios poor people face in observing their right to attainment of basic and higher education on the African continent (reference is made to a case study carried out in Tanzania and South Africa); thirdly, this book chapter discusses on infrastructure, learning resources and a pedagogy of teacher education in Africa; fourthly, it discusses pedagogy and inequality systems linked to new Information Technology (IT) opportunities in Africa; fifthly, the chapter identifies the marginalised population, their learning experiences and labour market challenges; and sixthly, it informs on the growing need of knowledge and skills and puts forth a need to invest in human capital. This chapter draws a conclusion by analysing some basic answers related to key research questions on a case study carried out in Tanzania and South Africa and puts forward some recommendations. In brief, this book chapter assesses how effective pedagogy as a broad method and practice within the teaching and learning environment can be characterised to real-world learning, and how pedagogical challenges can be eliminated so as to overcome the growing knowledge and skills shortages in Africa. Finally, the chapter gives recommendations towards turning both pedagogy and pedagogical challenges into a success story focused on investing in human capital with a vision to meet poor people’s needs academically, socially, economically, culturally and emotionally.
2. Poor people in the pursuit of basic and higher education
Despite a fact that the right to education is a global issue and does not allow any room for exclusion or discrimination, many marginalised populations in African countries face diverse challenges. Scenarios poor people face in the pursuit of basic and higher education in African countries can never be isolated from challenges to effective interactions between teachers, students and the learning environment.
Prior studies have noted some key stumbling blocks poor people face towards modern education attainment in Tanzania and South Africa like in many African countries. These include low school enrolment and high dropout rates due to poverty, distance from school, and cultural and geographical barriers which in totality contribute to low academic achievement . Unwanted pregnancies of teenage students delineate as one of the prevailing issues, which has left many primary and secondary school going students without relevant skills to thrive in society [5, 20, 21]. The case of HIV/AIDs and sexual abuse in young people is high due to poverty. Nevertheless, it can be argued that pedagogy in both basic and higher educational context (in African countries) has rarely been given room to prepare learners for a more connected, more technological future with a focus of helping them to gain critical life skills, thus making education improves learner’s transition from birth, the world they live in, and from school to work in a short term [13, 22]. Other challenges as outlined before, it include the lack of adequate resources, infrastructure and active pedagogical approaches that can be used as tools to enable learners to realise their potentials and develop their capacities [5, 23].
Building on the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’ , the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 adopted the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development that includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Envision 2030 (SDGs), goal number 4 on ‘Quality Education’ argues for ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education that promotes life-long learning opportunities for all . However, research reports show that making young people in poor countries to learn new information and skills that can sustain their needs in work and life remains to be a big challenge , and what happens is simply recruiting learners on passing examinations ‘exam treadmill’ until the day they exist from the education system . Incidentally, many marginalised learners on their way towards attaining basic and higher education remain to be victims of external anti-social behaviour. These include: teenage pregnancies for female students; use of marijuana; homelessness; HIV/AIDs victims; orphans; high dropout rates; and those who lag behind others in terms of academic achievement . All these outside forces in the learning environment paint the real lives of many poor young people on the African continent and, unfortunately, lead many of them to failure in education, work and life. As His Excellency, the late First President of Tanzania Mwalimu Nyerere said:
In interpreting the above statement, study reports show that the proportion of illiterate women is increasing in Sub-Saharan Africa and in countries such as India and China. Hence, this is a stumbling block towards sustainable development . Based on the situation, Baregu  and Twaweza  both argue for the worrying trends of education and pedagogy challenges in Tanzania by revealing that there is now a rising number of not only women but also young people completing both primary and secondary school education without the ability to read, write and have at least basic arithmetic skills. Commenting on education in South Africa, Carroll  argues that illiteracy rates to women are on the decline. However, the situation does not mean to have a satisfactory education system, an equitable employment environment and an adequate primary and secondary education in place. As a matter of fact, the scenario of education system in many African countries has been influenced by systems established in foreign and rich countries. Thus, in adopting such systems, difficulties and confusions have erupted in the use and applications, with specific in pedagogy and its forms . The extracts from the respondents’ comments and unit of analysis illustrate the above stipulated findings clearly:
The above extracts identify a strong relationship between poor people and the pursuit of their attainment of basic and higher education. However, a change in the basic and higher education system, including a thorough elimination of outside forces or obstacles in the teaching and learning environment, was a feature of many respondents’ views.
2.1 Infrastructure, learning resources and pedagogy of teacher education
Lack of adequate and conducive teaching and learning environment (infrastructure) includes buildings or enough classrooms, desks, libraries, relevant and enough books and laboratories for science subjects which are just a few examples of challenges observed in many African education system. As a result, Africa has in place a vast number of children being badly taught or utterly untaught . The implication is that there are too few schools and too many bad schools . To illustrate, this study produced results that corroborate the findings of a great deal of previous work in the field  as follows:
The statements above are in sympathy with those of [15, 16, 17] focused on the interactions between a teacher, as a guide who must enable learner’s academic growth, and a learner, as a person who possesses some level of qualities and potentials which can be realised. Finally, there is a need of a conducive learning environment and appropriate learning tasks. Based on the interpretation above, this section relatively refers to a case study of Gauteng’s province (in South Africa) education system. The case study of Gauteng’s education system provides valuable lessons based on two students in the same schooling system, in the same country and with the same curriculum but from schools with different learning resources. The end results were that one student from a well-resourced school passed with flying colours, while the other one from a poorly resourced school failed. Hence, this is what we termed as ‘unequal education system’ or ‘levels of inequality’ . However, since 1994, Gauteng education department has been launched several interventions, so as to eliminate these levels of inequality, including an equal distribution of teaching and learning resources. The levels of inequality in pedagogy and its forms well identified above depict the real situation in many African countries education systems. The two distinctive outcomes as stipulated are compared to a four-legged table made up of unequal-sized legs. Admittedly, the table will not stand in its up-right position instead it will topple . The implication provides another valuable lesson related to the effects that a learner can experience in his future job prospects.
In the same manner, pedagogical challenges and implications of having too few schools and too many bad schools have been provided by a case study carried out in Tanzania. The study identifies short-falls and provides meaningful lessons related to the Tanzania’s education system. These include, but are not restricted to, the lack of enough teachers in schools and inability to recruit quality or competent teachers and its effects to learners and the entire education outcomes. To illustrate, the incompetence of some teachers is now widely seen as a general gap in teacher education. The previous study reports that there is a weak foundation for children’s learning and mastering of both English and Kiswahili languages in Tanzania. Hence, the main feature of the Tanzania’s education system is that it is bilingual (English and Kiswahili). In examining children’s competence in reading Kiswahili and English languages, the research found that by standard seven, five in 10 students leaving school have not acquired a basic English reading skill, which is equivalent to 53% of standard seven students. One out of 10 standard seven pupils was unable to read a Kiswahili language paragraph .
Tanzania like many African countries is experiencing many of its young people lacking literacy skills. UNESCO  reports that across the world, there are approximately 250 million children who cannot read, write and count well, and 200 million young people leave schools without adequate skills they need to thrive. Literacy includes the learner’s capacity to read, write and count, and this is a vital aspect to the broader achievement of his academic, social and economic impact. Learners who fail to gain literacy skills at their earlier stages of learning are likely to fail in catching-up studies at latter stages and are significantly more likely to fail in their future lives. Unfortunately, in Tanzania, some teachers’ incompetence has resulted in some defects to learners in phonological awareness (in both English and Kiswahili languages), how letters combinations correspond to speech sounds. I argue that the lack of having in place a good number of quality and qualified Kiswahili and English language teachers is due to the missing foundation in teacher education. Therefore, to eliminate the spoken and written Kiswahili language structure challenges to children, there is a need of improving teacher education, pedagogical approaches and teacher’s knowledge, skills and ability to understand, use and appreciate various forms of communication so as to remove the failure to communicate fluently.
I argue that teachers cannot naturally acquire the outlined kind of expertise in Kiswahili language structure that is required of them for remediating and preventing literacy problems, unless we provide them with necessary training. The case study conducted in Tanzania  emphasises that having in place teachers who have adequate knowledge in sound-symbol correspondences in spoken and written Kiswahili language and appropriate methods will help to eliminate defects to learners in, for example, Kiswahili words such as ‘Habari’ (news) which most utter and write it as ‘abari’ (omitting H), and ‘Hakuna’ (nothing) many say ‘akuna’. The word ‘Rafiki’ (friend) utter and write it as ‘Lafiki’ use ‘L’ instead of ‘R’ and in ‘Karibu’ (welcome), they say ‘Kalibu’. Likewise, in a word ‘dharau’ (disrespect), some omit ‘dh’ and say ‘Zarau’. As said previously, a vast number of children are badly taught . Therefore, enhancing teacher’s phonological awareness and making them be well versed on how letter combinations correspond to speech sounds, and building their capacity in Kiswahili language structure will at last help children to enhance their capability in creative thinking and understanding challenging concepts more easily.
2.2 Pedagogy and inequality systems linked to new Information Technology opportunities
In giving answers related to Question number 4, ‘
Based on the statements above, an implication of this is the possibility that many African countries are more likely not to attain ‘Envision 2030’ or SDGs numbers 4 and 10. As well stipulated, Goal 4 on quality education seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all, while Goal 10 insists on ensuring of reduced in-equality within and among countries .
Digital literacy or new Information Technology (IT) offers opportunities and enhances pedagogy, literacy and skills in the modern education system. The use of new solution to existing challenges so as to benefit a good number of people including the poor and marginalised population is what can be characterised as innovation. The world is changing quickly, and the uses of new Information Technology do prepare students for a more connected interaction within the learning environment and teaching profession. However, I argue that an added value to effective pedagogy in the new learning environment can be observed by, for example, appropriate use of computers, Web 2.0 and use of cyber space, virtual exhibits, study tours, digital networking, video games and digital story telling that captures the elements of real-world learning. Such instructional interventions can make students to learn and understand challenging concepts easily, have the ability to enhance learner’s awareness and can support students to reach their full potential, academically, socially and emotionally as well.
Indeed, technology and digital revolution have opened a new window for teachers as educators to go digital. However, the current study conducted in Tanzania and South Africa rationalises that using new Information Technology opportunities in pedagogy has brought about some education excellence inequalities between well-resourced schools mainly in urban areas as opposed to under-resourced schools , usually found in rural settings in Africa. In clarification, passionate and committed teachers can enhance the capacity and status of the teaching profession by giving room to children to construct their own knowledge, needs and thinking skills . Likewise, Pohl  contends that literacy, learning and employment need to get people to think creatively in the arts, think hypothetically in mathematics and think literally in social science. In that context, teachers stand as facilitators who guide learners throughout the entire process while providing them with real-world experiences beyond the classroom or training environment. The inequality systems linked to new Information Technology opportunities corroborate the findings of a case study based on three different learners from Gauteng Province in South Africa, namely ‘Thandi, Sipho and Hennie’. The scenario was as follows:
The extract above paints out the inequalities in the teaching and learning environment which were brought about by poverty and the lack of exposure to new Information Technology (IT) opportunities specifically in African countries context. It highlights technological advancement and challenges faced by both teachers and learners in a process of transformation towards experiencing a generation of innovators in a drastic changing world. This chapter argues that the new Information Technology opportunity challenges teachers face in the context of pedagogy have neglected both teachers and learners in basic and higher education to explore and navigate on their own, meet their needs, and reach their full potential professionally, academically, socially and emotionally.
2.3 Marginalised populations, learning experiences and labour market challenges
One major challenge that has dominated the primary educational paradigm in Tanzania and it has effects to marginalised population’s learning experiences is a focus on what students know, rather than how they use the information in the real-world settings . Hence, the most valuable feature in the learners’ expertise is how learners can apply what they have learnt in a new and creative way. As Sweeney  contends:
Giving an overview on the labour market challenges to marginalised populations, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) report indicates that young people in many of the developing countries within the Sub-Saharan Africa region face labour market challenges . Findings from the Integrated Labour Force Survey (ILFS) show that new entrants within the labour market in Tanzania range from 800,000 to 1 million annually and compete for only 40,000 existing job opportunities in the formal sector . As Brown  suggests young people must concentrate on freelancing and self-employment or ‘boundary-less careers’ . Undoubtedly, these are the most frequent types of employment or businesses in the arts, cultural and creative industries sector. A large and growing body of literature reports many disadvantaged young people in African rural and urban areas (both out of school or drop-outs at basic and higher level of education) leave schools without relevant knowledge and skills needed for them to thrive in their societies. The main challenges learners encounter include but are not restricted to poverty, quality of education, political will linked to policy, decision and law makers priorities and lack of guidance from birth (parents, guardians and families) to school, up to their time of entering the labour market .
Strong evidence of how real-wold learning connects students to career pathways was found when participants were giving answers related to research question 1: ‘
Without ignoring debates hidden in the statements above, this book chapter has provided results that do suggest pedagogy and pedagogical challenges in the teaching and learning environment. The chapter has identified key challenges faced by marginalised students in the pursuit of attainment of basic and higher education in Tanzania and South Africa (as a case study) and corroborates the findings of a great deal of other previous works in the field [11, 14, 34, 35].
This chapter has devoted itself to assessing and discussing various themes related to pedagogy and pedagogical challenges poor people face in the pursuit of basic and higher education. For the outlined purpose, this book chapter has discussed themes related to the term and notion ‘pedagogy’ encompasses in a range of factors including intelligence, gender and culture. It has reviewed different scenarios marginalised people face on their way of attaining basic and higher education on the African continent with vivid examples from a case study carried out in Tanzania and South Africa. Challenges related to infrastructure in the teaching and learning environment, lack of adequate learning resources and the essence of recruiting quality teachers within the teaching profession have been outlined. Again, this chapter has discussed pedagogy and inequality systems linked to new Information Technology opportunities within African countries. Hence, the thematic area insisted on teachers or schools to prepare learners for a more connected and technological future  so as to succeed in their future lives. Finally, it has identified the marginalised population and their learning experiences as opposed to the labour market challenges. The section has informed on the growing need of knowledge and skills and referred to a need of investing in human capital and social relation. As a matter of fact, human capital and social relation can be regarded as carriers of knowledge that facilitate young people to learn new things, reinforce old ideas, solve problems progressively, make decisions, be creative and, finally, establish a next generation of innovators with a vast new range of opportunities [14, 43, 44].
In a summary form, the study findings mainly based on the case study carried out in Tanzania and South Africa suggest, firstly, African governments must invest heavily in their country’s education systems. Education at its wide scope is an investment sector due to the fact that it deals with human capital  and, in every aspect, is ‘as hard as building bridges and roads
The current study suggests that teaching and learning must connect students to real-world learning. In clarification, education and pedagogy must connect learners to their future career pathways. Finally, this book chapter suggests that African governments must revisit and re-work on the problem of having too few good schools and too many bad schools. This has resulted to a vast number of children being badly taught or utterly untaught  due to government’s inability to recruit competent or quality and enough teachers to cater the need. Other related challenges to be put into consideration and practice for the success of pedagogy and the education system in the African settings include infrastructure challenges, lack of adequate teaching and learning resources and inequality systems linked to new Information Technology opportunities in schools.