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OER4Schools programme

Three students on the computer in primary school in Tamil Nadu, India

The OER4Schools programme

Project summary

The 'OER4Schools' programme has developed and trialed an open, multimedia professional learning resource for pre-service and in-service teachers. The resource supports interactive teaching and inquiry-based, collaborative learning of primary school mathematics and science – generally, and through using mobile technologies, digital open educational resources (OER) and Open Source software. The programme uniquely combines stakeholders from various sectors (including higher education and educational research, ICT for development [NGOs], government, and the technology service sector) as a basis for developing methodologies that promise lasting transformation in primary education in sub-Saharan Africa.

OER4Schools was funded by the Commonwealth Education Trust between 2009-14 and was originally based in the Centre for Commonwealth Education at the University of Cambridge. Ongoing activities are conducted within the REAL Centre. The project is carried out in a North-South partnership between University of Cambridge and institutions in sub-Saharan Africa.

Research team

Researchers: Dr Sara Hennessy, Faculty of Education; Dr Björn Hassler, Open Development and Education Ltd.

Partners: Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMESTEA), Kenya; iSchool Zambia; OER Africa; One-Laptop-Per-Child; Rwanda Education Board; University of Johannesburg; University of Sierra Leone; University of South Africa (Unisa); University of Zambia, Chalimbana University; VVOB Zambia; and Zambia Ministry of Education.




Commonwealth Education Trust 


Trialling open educational resources for technology-supported teacher professional development in rural Zimbabwe
Walker, H., Hennessy, S. and Pimmer, C. 2022. Research Papers in Education 38 (4), 568-592 (open access).

OER4Schools: Outcomes of a sustained professional development intervention in sub-Saharan Africa
Haßler, B., Hennessy, S. and Hofmann, R., with Makonga, A. 2020. Frontiers in Education 5, Article 146 (open access).

Sustaining and scaling pedagogic innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Grounded insights for teacher professional development
Haßler, B., Hennessy, S. and Hofmann, R. 2018. Journal of Learning for Development - JL4D, 5(1), 58-78 (open access).

Tablet use in schools: A critical review of the evidence for learning outcomes
Haßler, B., Major, L. and Hennessy, S. 2015. Journal of Computer-Assisted Learning 32 (2), 139-156.

Challenges and opportunities for teacher professional development in interactive use of technology in African schools
Hennessy, S., Haßler, B. and Hofmann, R. 2015. Technology, Pedagogy and Education 24(5), 1-28. Invited paper for Special Section on “Capacity Building for 21st Century Learning in Africa: A Focus on ICT Integration in Education” edited by J. Tondeur & J. Voogt.

Pedagogic change by Zambian primary school teachers participating in the OERS4Schools professional development programme for one year
Hennessy, S., Haßler, B. and Hofmann, R. 2015. Research Papers in Education 31 (4), 399-427.

School-based professional development in a developing context: Lessons learnt from a case study in Zambia
Haßler, B., Hennessy, S., Cross, A., with Chileshe, E. and Machiko, B. 2015. Professional Development in Education 41 (5), 806-825.

Further information

Click here to access the OER4schools professional learning resource.

A collection of video clips can be accessed here. These depict classroom practice in Zambia and form the basis of a professional learning resource for teachers and teacher educators across sub-Saharan Africa.

The collection also includes conference presentations of project work. A clip of one primary teacher, Agness, co-presenting with the project team at the e-Learning Africa conference in Lusaka in May 2010 is accessible here.

A collection of Phase 2 lesson clips and sequences is also viewable here.