Students and staff chatting and walking to classes outside their university

TESCEA will help young people in Tanzania and Uganda to use their skills and ideas to tackle social and economic problems. The partnership supports universities, industries, communities and government to work together to create an improved learning experience for students. This improved learning experience will foster the development of critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, and allow for practical learning beyond the classroom to improve graduate employability.

Find out more about TESCEA.

The challenge

Many graduates in East Africa can be ill-prepared to address the challenges they encounter in the workplace or leverage their skills and ideas to meet social needs. One of the key factors contributing to this is the lack of focus on critical thinking and problem solving within university teaching and learning. Students need to learn “how to think”, instead of “what to think”. While universities recognise the need to improve the quality and relevance of curricula, to rethink pedagogies, and to build stronger connections with communities and industries, the challenge is to move beyond islands of good teaching and to bring about change at scale.

The solution

TESCEA is developing a scalable pedagogical model to help universities across East Africa produce graduates with the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills they need to solve real-world problems. It supports universities to create learning environments that encourage questioning and to offer placements and other practical projects to connect classroom learning to the challenges facing businesses, communities and governments.

Working with four partner universities, TESCEA has the potential to improve learning experiences for as many as 3,000 graduates by 2022, by:

  • Facilitating new approaches to learning, strengthening the ability and motivation of academics to deliver student-focused teaching that fosters critical thinking, problem solving, negotiation and relationship development.
  • Strengthening connections between universities, employers and communities to enable the design of relevant curricula and practical internships.
  • Developing approaches and tools to enable scale up, including a toolkit for lecturers featuring an open, online course to allow academics across the region to access training, advice and mentorship on curricula and pedagogical change.

Through its activities, TESCEA is actively addressing the inclusion of women and other disadvantaged groups by seeking diverse industry and community role models, and identifying and addressing barriers to learning.


  • A desk study has been conducted to gauge academic and employer perspectives on critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which is being used to guide upcoming course redesign sessions.
  • Transformative learning workshops has been held to prepare teachers for course redesign and to ground them in the educational philosophy of transformative learning.
  • Stakeholders in Uganda and Tanzania are being actively engaged in the course re-design process.
  • A gender working group has been established to look at how to integrate gender responsive pedagogy strategies in course redesign.
'My belief and values regarding students have changed. I have realized that in order to make learning effective they need to be treated as partners.'  Lecturer, Tanzania

The partners

The TESCEA partnership is led by INASP (UK), working with Mzumbe University (Tanzania), University of Dodoma (Tanzania), Gulu University (Uganda), Uganda Martyrs University (Uganda), Association for Faculty Enrichment in Learning and Teaching (Kenya), LIWA Programme Trust (Kenya) and Ashoka East Africa (Kenya).