Improving higher education through innovative student-centred pedagogy – Pedagogical Leadership in Africa

Many academics in African universities face challenges shared by higher education institutions around the world: large class sizes, poor infrastructure, heavy teaching and administrative workloads and weak reward systems for teaching excellence. Teaching staff are highly qualified in their disciplines but there is often limited investment in pedagogical skills. This has a negative impact on the learning environment and on graduates’ abilities to use their knowledge to address local needs and find innovative solutions to developmental challenges. 

The Pedagogical Leadership in Africa (PedaL) partnership established a network of academics in African universities to help transform graduate education and its outcomes, by embedding innovative pedagogy within graduate social science programmes.

The approach

PedaL embraced a unique and holistic approach to teaching and learning: 

  • Capacity development in student-centred pedagogical skills for university teaching staff. This includes “flipped classroom”, contextual case studies, simulations, role plays, and threshold concept tools aimed at maximising learning outcomes among students. 
  • Course delivery through blended learning. PedaL’s training was delivered using blended learning approaches and participating academics were also equipped with the digital toolsets to excel in delivering the courses they teach.
  • Cascade trainings at university level, made possible through cost-sharing with host universities who invite PedaL to train their staff.
  • Integration of PedaL at institutional level through its adoption as the preferred approach to teaching and learning in social sciences programmes.


  • More than 2,700 teaching staff trained on innovative pedagogies
  • Transformed teaching and learning across 1,056 university departments, 97 universities, 11 African countries
  • PedaL influenced the redesign of 1,752 university courses delivered to students

The partners

The PEDAL partnership was led by the Partnership for African Social & Governance Research (Kenya), working with the University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Egerton University (Kenya), University of Ibadan (Nigeria), University of Ghana (Ghana), Uganda Martyrs University (Uganda), Alliance for Research Universities in Africa (ARUA), and Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex (UK).

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