Travel & Teach - Sub-Saharan Africa


Rather than information on a particular country, this page covers a larger area. This is because many of the countries in the region we call Sub-Saharan Africa are quite similar in terms of prospects and working conditions.

Yet, if you are Africa bound then you will find many contrasting cultures and ideas in this vast region, which is generally poorly served by the EFL industry. Some countries are actively looking to distance themselves from what is perceived as their colonial past (Zimbabwe being a case in point) while other countries actually have English as the medium of instruction in state schools (such as Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria).

While there is demand for English in many countries in this region, there is little in terms of a developed EFL industry in any country. Much of the work in this area is likely to be voluntary, and therefore paid opportunities are few and far between. If you are looking at paid work in Africa, then the Mediterranean countries of North Africa (Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia) are your best bet, and South Africa has a developing industry as well.

However there are several voluntary organisations that are very active in many areas and if you are prepared to commit time and sometimes money to pay your way, you will be made very welcome. Voluntary work will often pay some wages or gifts in kind at a local level. Free housing may be included. The good news for the new EFL teacher is that experience is often not a prerequisite for being taken on. But prospects of finding paid EFL work on the spot are slim and even the most adventurous native speakers will find paid positions difficult to find. Perhaps the best opportunities are found in Ghana and Kenya.

Ghana is seen as being one of the more stable countries in Africa and supports several organised schemes for volunteer teachers. BUNAC provides 9 month positions for British nationals who are recent graduates. 

In Kenya, English is the language of instruction, although the conditions of entry are now somewhat less relaxed than they used to be. However the laws are not always strictly enforced and the private language schools in Nairobi are not subject to secondary school restrictions. There is a British Council and it has its own teaching operation in, Nairobi.

When travelling overseas, please refer to your government’s own advice on conditions in each country. The British Foreign Office website is a good resource for travel advice. Please follow the link here to the FCO.

Tips for teaching English in Sub-Saharan Africa:

* the Premier 120-hr TESOL for Asia as a basic qualification
* the 30-hour Teaching English to Young Learners course 

 will both be useful courses for you if you wish to teach English in Bangladesh.

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