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Public school teaching in Sub-Saharan Africa - any advice?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by benji08, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. Hi all,

    I'll finish my secondary biology PGCE in July and am hoping to head overseas for a year or two before I settle down to a job in the UK. I'd like to teach science in a government/public school somewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa, but am having trouble finding any guidance - and most of the entries I can find in this forum relate to private international schools.

    Does anyone have any experience doing something similar to this? If so, could you let me know a little about the school you went to, and how you arranged your placement?


  2. the evil tokoloshe

    the evil tokoloshe New commenter

    Generally it is very difficult to get a work permit anywhere in Africa for teachers in state schools as they tend to be over-subscribed in urban areas by local trained staff. The rural areas are where there may be openings, but DoEs would rather fill them with their own people. As a foreigner, your best option in a state school is to go with VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) who generally need teachers as they are an aid organisation. The pay is the local rate, plus you get a gratuity on return to the UK and your flights are refunded. If you really want to teach in a state school in Africa, it probably is the best way.
  3. Arepa

    Arepa New commenter

    There are three types of state schools in West African that you could investigate. The first are the elite schools established by the imperial governors: Prince of Wales (Sierra Leone), Achimota (Ghana), and Kings College (Nigeria). Nigeria also has a system of elite Federal Government Colleges scattered throughout the nation. In addition, states in Nigeria have also established special elite state colleges. There are lots of elites in Nigeria! To apply, you would have to do considerable research in order to identify the specific schools you are interested in , and write to each independently. Whether these schools would assist with your work visa, your air travel, or housing is an issue that you would have to address individually with each school. The third type are schools run by the national (Sierra Leone) or state ministries of education (Nigeria). Rather than writing them, as I doubt that they have either reliable email or postal services, you should contact the relevant embassy.
    I recommend that you begin your research by searching for Nigeria/Sierra Leon/Ghana and whichever other African country appeals to you, on this website. Then, you can narrow down your focus to just one country. I spent 10 years in West Africa (a long time ago) and enjoyed it immensely, but it is not for everyone. Good luck.

  4. Just incase a year on you're still looking into going out to West Africa to teach - I work with a charity called Street Child of Sierra Leone. We work with communities to help them build school so that their children can get an education.

    If you are still looking for experience in West Africa and Sierra Leone is of interest, please contact me on helen@street-child.co.uk

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