Why isn’t TEFL popular in Africa?

Diary submitted by Marianna O.

Now that I have reached the halfway point of my one month placement in Madrid, I find myself thinking about the options that will be open to me upon receipt of my new TEFL certification. As someone of Nigerian descent, my mind immediately went to teaching in Africa. I quickly discovered that although there are numerous opportunities for people that want to teach English in Asia, Europe and South America, it seems that this is not the case in Africa. When I initially began looking for a TEFL course in Spain, I was so spoiled for choice that I almost could not make a decision, whereas in Africa, teaching roles are scarce and those that do exist do not offer a salary anywhere near the salary a teacher could earn in another part of the world, if any. I was shocked to learn this because only 24 out of the 54 countries in Africa are English speaking, and many of the people in these countries speak English at a very low level, with South Africa being an exception. With over half of the population in the second most populous continent in the world not speaking English, I failed to understand why TEFL is not as popular, or even more popular, in Africa as it is in other parts of the world.

As a developing continent, I would expect that improving English literacy throughout Africa would be a huge priority; there is a direct correlation between English proficiency and economic performance. The British Council has found that a “good command of English can not only enhance an individual’s economic prospects but also contribute to national growth and competitiveness”. However, according to EF, “Africa has faced difficulties with the schooling of the rural population and poorer urban class”, and “there are many children that have never been to school”. It seems the most common reason for this is that many families cannot afford to send their children to school because of the associated costs, for example: school fees, uniform and school equipment and sometimes, relocation and living expenses.

I am sure that the majority of Africa’s population would love to learn English, but the reality is that they cannot afford to pay for TEFL tuition. With little incentive for English teachers to pursue a career in Africa, it does not come as a surprise that TEFL is not common in African countries.


Africa, A. f., n.d. Aid For Africa. [Online]
Available at: https://www.aidforafrica.org/girls/how-much-does-school-cost/
[Accessed 20 June 2018].

Council, B., 2013. British Council. [Online]
Available at: https://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/english-effect-report-v2.pdf
[Accessed 20 June 2018].

EF, n.d. EF. [Online]
Available at: https://www.ef.com.es/epi/regions/africa/
[Accessed 20 June 2018].

Facts, A., 2009. Africa Facts. [Online]
Available at: https://africa-facts.org/english-speaking-countries-in-africa/
[Accessed 20 June 2018].

Why isn’t TEFL popular in Africa? TEFL Trainer

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