Original Research

Capabilities of secondary school teachers in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic literature review

Tessa de Wet, Sebastiaan Rothmann
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 21 | a2120 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v21i0.2120 | © 2023 Tessa de Wet, Sebastiaan Rothmann | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 September 2022 | Published: 25 April 2023

About the author(s)

Tessa de Wet, Optentia Research Unit, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Sebastiaan Rothmann, Optentia Research Unit, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa


Orientation: Education trends in Africa indicate that key ingredients for effective education are elusive, impacting the teachers who need to remain productive, motivated and healthy in this environment.

Research purpose: Using machine learning active learning technology, the study aimed to review current literature related to the factors affecting the capabilities and functionings of secondary school teachers in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Motivation for the study: The Capability Approach (CA) provides a framework for studying the sustainable employability (SE) of teachers, including what they require to be able to convert valued opportunities into the needed achievements.

Research approach/design and method: A systematic literature review was conducted following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, using Machine Learning Active Learning Technology. Eighty six articles from 14 SSA countries were included for analysis, prioritising articles in the South African context first.

Main findings: Analysis identified four groupings of resources that are potentially useful or valuable, creating access or empowerment if utilised effectively, namely knowledge commodities, soft commodities, hard commodities, and organisational commodities. Sub-resources were also identified.

Practical/managerial implications: This research would assist policy and decision-makers to focus their interventions in the most effective way to sustain productivity and well-being in the workplace. The resource groupings should be included in a model that focuses on enhancing secondary school teachers’ capabilities to promote their well-being and productivity.

Contribution/value-add: This article provides new applied knowledge related to machine learning active learning technology as a methodology, and provides further insight into secondary school teacher employability.


capability; work; secondary school teachers; sub-Saharan Africa; 21st-century; competency; active learning models

JEL Codes

I21: Analysis of Education

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education


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