Stephen Codrington

Education in Africa

“As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.”                   - Herman Melville, ‘Moby Dick’

I am a geographer and I love to travel to experience new places, new cultures, new ideas, new environments and new foods.  I really enjoy understanding our world more deeply through first-hand experiences.  On this page, I have recorded a few of my travel diaries to share with you.

Transforming School Leadership, Teacher Training, and Educational Quality in Sub-Saharan Africa

the key to raising students’ educational outcomes

Project Purpose

To stimulate widespread and significant improvements in the quality of education in schools across sub-Saharan Africa.


The main factor holding back social and economic progress in Africa is its poor educational quality. Most schools in Africa are marked by low standards, overcrowding, poor planning, weak expertise, poor governance and lack of vision. Financial viability, leadership and professionalism are significant shortcomings, making school governance and leadership development the essential foundational issue to address before improvements in other areas can be sustainable.

My Current Priorities

Research shows that improving the quality of school board governance and leadership is one of the most powerful ways to raise the educational achievement of students. Unfortunately, this key strategy is far too often neglected. Establishing sound, proficient governance in school board leadership is an essential prerequisite for the quality of education in schools across Africa to improve. Such leadership must be sustainable and professional, and it must explicitly reject the temptations of corruption.

Action and Outcome

A robust program of governance and leadership training for boards of schools and School Principals will establish the sound basis necessary to enhance the quality of education for millions of children, without which the effective transformation of education in Africa will be impossible.


Through my specialist consultancy service, Optimal School Governance, I am using my expertise to improve the quality of schooling in Africa. To this end, I have been working with schools in countries such as Lesotho, South Africa, Uganda, and in partnership with peak educational organisations in Africa such as ACSI (the Association of Christian Schools International) that covers 23,000 schools across 34 countries in Africa, with well over 7 million students in their care. This reach gives me the potential to have prodigious, widespread, lasting impact in schools across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Work to Date

In July 2018, I provided governance training for the board of ACSI Uganda at their request. This training proved to be transformative and enlightening, resulting in substantial and continuing improvements in the leadership of the attendees’ schools.

As a consequence of that experience, multiple schools throughout Uganda asked me to provide governance workshops in July 2019 in an attempt to transform the professionalism and raise the vision of their school boards. Workshops were thus held in Kampala in July 2019, attended by almost 60 school owners, board chairs, heads and key ACSI workers.

Following a break during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been working with school leaders and boards in several countries in Africa to develop strategic plans, build operational strategies, develop sound policy documentation, and provide workshops on themes such as governance and management, implementing effective change, best practice in board governance and school leadership, strategic planning, and lots more.  

On-going Strategy

There remains a deep need for workshops to provide governance training as well as professional development in areas such as leadership development, critical thinking, strategic planning, board and school leaders’ performance reviews and teaching methodology. It is hoped that boards of schools elsewhere in Africa will observe the benefits of these workshops and thus also seek to improve their leadership and governance practices with similar training. My dream is to build momentum for national and international mobilisation of educational improvement across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Your support is appreciated

The schools that can benefit most from professional development and training simply have no present capacity to pay for such training. The need seems infinite, but the resources are almost zero.  For the 2018 and 2019 workshops, I paid for all my own air fares, and where it has been necessary for schools facing significant financial challenges, I have provided my services on a pro bono basis or pitched my fees at a discounted, affordable level.  Of course, I cannot continue to do that as the demand for training grows and expands. I would love to provide ongoing support for the improvement of schools across Africa through professional development, leadership training, board enhancement and teacher formation, but I am severely limited by funding.  If you feel moved to support my work in Africa this year and beyond, and perhaps beyond, please contact me by e-mail at