Teaching English in Africa

Teaching english in africa

The English language teaching situation in Africa is at best rather confusing. Many ex-colonies of Britain use English as the medium of instruction in state schools and so most teachers are locals. Some advanced level positions may be available in universities in such locations. In other African countries English is much in demand but few schools are able to afford a native speaker teacher and so positions are largely filled by voluntary workers (though sometimes paying a ‘local’ salary). There are many placement organizations that can arrange voluntary work in Africa should that be your aim.

There is some work available in South Africa but as many of their citizens speak English as a native language, opportunities for non-South Africans are somewhat limited. Zimbabwe used to offer a number of possibilities but recent political events have curtailed most EFL activity.

Some opportunities exist in almost all countries but the only African nations where there is any significant scope for working in private language schools, or institutes, are detailed below:


Area: 1,001,450 sq km
Pop: 74,718,787
Capital city Cairo
Languages Arabic, French, English
Currency Egyptian pound
Climate Desert; hot, dry summers, mod winters
Typical teacher salary 2,000 Egyptian pounds per month
Major teaching locations Cairo, Alexandria

Job Prospects:

The current demand for teachers in Egypt is quite high. In locations such as Cairo, Alexandria, Heliopolis, Maadi and Zamalek there are opportunities for qualified ESL teachers, while in other parts of the country the prospects are still good. There is work in the business and tourism sectors, as well as in private language schools which are numerous in the major cities. Qualified teachers should also have little trouble in arranging private tutoring work.


Area: 582,650 sq km
Pop: 31,639,091
Capital city Nairobi
Languages Swahili, Kikuyu, English
Currency Kenyan schilling
Climate Coast: tropical, Interior: arid
Typical teacher salary 430 KS per hour
Major teaching locations Nairobi

Job Prospects:

Some work is available in Kenya at government sponsored schools and institutes and also at a few private language and full-curriculum schools. Salaries are not high by international standards but are sufficient to lead a relatively comfortable life. Many more opportunities exist through voluntary placement schemes that may provide a basic ‘local’ salary.


Area: 446,550 sq km
Pop: 31,689,265
Capital city Rabat
Languages Arabic, French, Berber
Currency Dirham
Climate Mediterranean, more extreme in Interior
Typical teacher salary 9,000 dirham per month
Major teaching locations Rabat, Tangier, Agadir, Casablanca, Fez

Job Prospects:

Despite being a Francophone country, English is increasingly a requirement for entrance to universities and high ranking jobs. As a result there is a steady demand for English language teachers. Almost all state sector positions are filled by Moroccans but there is a continuing demand for native speakers in private language schools and in the business community. A degree is necessary to be eligible for a work permit. Qualified ESL teachers shouldn’t have any great problem in finding employment in the major cities.


Area: 163,610 sq km
Pop: 9,924,742
Capital city Tunis
Languages Arabic, French
Currency Dinar
Climate Temp in N – mild, rainy winters; desert in South
Typical teacher salary 15 dinars per hour
Major teaching locations Tunis + tourist destinations

Job Prospects:

Like its neighbor Morocco, Tunisia is turning away from the language of its former colonial master France. Many Tunisians are starting to learn English for study and work purposes and as a result there is a reasonable demand for native speaker teachers, particularly in the capital and areas with a high level of employment in the tourism industry.