Teacher training

Low-Cost, High-Impact Teacher Training

The world needs almost 7 million new trained teachers by 2015. And that’s just to address the needs of children in primary schools. It’s equally important, however, that these teachers be of an adequate standard.

Unfortunately, current solutions for teacher training are unlikely to produce either the quantity or quality that children in the developing world deserve. In many countries, teachers are required to have only slightly more education that their students. In fact, in sub-Saharan countries like Congo, Tanzania and Mozambique, fewer than 60% of primary school teachers have any professional qualification at all.

On a recent trip to Uganda, the Varkey GEMS Foundation specialist team found that facilities for teachers fell far below an acceptable standard. English literacy is poor, there are no personal development plans and no peer-to-peer or interschool support.

What’s more, teaching methods are severely constrained by poor teaching environments: blackboards with chalk are virtually the only learning resources available.

But traditional higher or secondary education is not sufficient by itself. The Varkey GEMS Foundation believes that the biggest factor in the quality of teaching is the quality of specific, vocational teacher training.

Ultimately, such training can raise the overall standard of classroom pedagogy, helping more teachers to have a significant positive impact on the lives of their students.

Our Solution

The Varkey GEMS Foundation has designed a low-cost teacher training programme that will address the issue of teacher quality in developing countries.

The 5-day face-to-face course, aimed at school principals and senior management team members, will focus on the skills required to improve pedagogy within the school and will include an embedded “train-the-trainer” course so that principals can cascade their learning and deliver the content to teachers at their schools.

Once the training is completed, Varkey GEMS Foundation trainers will travel to each school to provide coaching and support to the principal in embedding the programme, thus improving practices within the school and providing quality assurance.

Our progress

The programme commenced in Kampala, Uganda on 22nd May 2013. A number of local teachers attended our five-day residential course, and each will now cascade their learning to a further ten teachers.

We aim to train a further 5,000 teachers by Easter 2014.

How can you help?

Our aim is to train 250,000 teachers over the next 10 years, but we cannot do it alone. We need your help to bring our low cost teacher training programme to more communities in need.

Our low-cost, big impact approach means that for every teacher whose training you fund, we will reach ten teachers through our cascade strategy - so if you invest in training 10,000 teachers, that training will reach 100,000 teachers!

In addition, your employees can get involved and make a difference, through our volunteering programme and fundraising / advocacy campaigns:

  • Employees who wish to volunteer will be matched with tasks that fit their skill set
  • We encourage employees to support our work by getting involved in fundraising events and advocacy campaigns

Our dedicated team would be delighted to work with you on a tailored programme of activity which supports your business objectives, aligns with the core values of your company and helps to change lives through education.


Providing vocational teacher training to improve children’s quality of learning.

Read enough? Get involved

Whether you are an individual with time or knowledge to contribute, or a representative of an organisation that shares our goals, we’d love to hear from you.

Volunteer with us and Partner with us

Get our updates

Design and build S8080