About us

Welcome to TESSA

Kris Stutchbury

Hello, I’m Dr Kris Stutchbury, Academic Director of TESSA based at The Open University, UK.

In my role as Director, I combine over 20 years of classroom teaching experience with an active interest in supporting learning at scale.

Between 2010-2013, I co-ordinated the co-design and production of the 15 TESSA secondary science units in collaboration with colleagues from 5 TESSA partner institutions, and in 2015 I was proudly appointed as Director of the growing TESSA network, continuing my enthusiasm to learn from, and share with, African colleagues to build teachers and teacher educators’ skills and confidence in learner-focused teaching practices across the African continent. 

In 2017-2019, I led the design and facilitation of our award-winning TESSA MOOC – Making Teacher Education Relevant for 21st Century Africa and the writing of a free online course TESSA: Teaching Early Reading - with African StoryBook. Through these initiatives, at least 4,000 educators who had never studied online – and in some cases never accessed the internet – have gained access to high quality professional development. In 2017 we were thrilled to be awarded a grant of £1.3. by The Scottish Government. We are working with World Vision Zambia and the Ministry of General Education in Zambia to bring TESSA into Primary schools through Zambia Education School-based Training or ZEST. ZEST is strengthening the existing system for School-based CPD by providing resources and training to help teachers develop more active approaches to learning so they can successfully deliver the revised school curriculum. 

During this time, the TESSA team have also done work for UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning. We are currently working on a school-based CPD programme to support Inclusive Education in Kenya.

What is TESSA?

TESSA is a network of teachers and teacher educators stretching across Sub-Saharan Africa. At the heart of the network is a bank of open educational resources (OER), linked to the school curriculum, and designed to support teachers and teacher educators in developing active approaches to learning. The network is co-ordinated by The Open University, UK.

TESSA's large bank of materials is available to enhance and improve the quality of and access to local school based education and training for teachers. Our mission at The Open University is to ensure that teachers and teacher educators use these resources. If they do, their teaching will be more interactive; children will enjoy school more; children will learn more; and pre-service teachers will experience the sort of approaches they are being encouraged to adopt. These materials are Open Educational Resources (OERs), have been produced in partnership with local African educational experts. They are free to everyone to use and adapt, under a creative commons license. They are being used by communities located in individual schools and by institutions with a national reach.

The TESSA units have been adapted to ten country contexts and are available in four different languages on the TESSA website: Arabic, English, French and Kiswahili.  In addition, these materials are also available in generic versions in English and French, so are applicable for you wherever you are in sub-Saharan Africa.

All TESSA units contain a series of activities that teachers can carry out in their classrooms. They are not an intervention; they are designed to be used flexibly according to local needs. Handbooks for teachers and teacher educators help them to integrate and make effective use of the resources in their classrooms and in their courses.

TESSA materials can be used by any teacher or teacher educator. They are often integrated into pre-service teacher training programmes or to enhance and strengthen them, or into Government training programmes. They are also used independently by practising teachers to help develop an individual teacher’s professional skills and enliven their lessons.

At The Open University we work with partners to facilitate the use of TESSA resources in contextually appropriate ways. 

What do people say about TESSA?

‘The TESSA website … one of Africa’s most extensive multilingual websites for open education resources’

Professor Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, Executive Chair, TESSA and former Vice Chancellor, University of Education, Winneba, Ghana

‘Perhaps the most successful of all OER projects we have heard about.’

Sir John Daniel, President and Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth of Learning

‘The TESSA materials are easily located in the environment around us without having to travel long distances at high cost.’

Teacher, Tanzania