Exploring Human Resource Challenges within International Schools in Africa

POSTED: April 13, 2023Category: Showcased AssociateBY: AISA P9

International schools in Africa have always presented unique challenges for human resource teams. The transient nature of expatriate staff, hiring to reflect the diversity of students, and preconceived ideas about working in Africa are only some challenges these HR professionals are used to managing. Add to this the sudden and quick implementation of remote and hybrid teaching systems during and post the COVID pandemic and significant staff well-being concerns and, in many cases, considerable staff losses. Not only does the need for a focused human resource professional learning institute seem timeous, but the need to ensure its authenticity, relevance and practicality is obvious.

For this reason, Carole Denny, AISA’s upcoming Human Resources Managers Institute facilitator, asked registered delegates to send through the main challenges they or their HR teams face. The submissions were many and varied, but despite delegates comprising both those new to HR and part of a new HR team as well as experienced HR professionals, there were some prominent common themes.


Recruitment of international versus local staff, recruiting to reflect student diversity, and recruitment strategies as part of the international school’s diversity, equality, and inclusion agenda were some of the recruitment topics submitted.

“International versus local staff hiring, and inequity of pay and conditions of service, are challenges HR professionals working in international schools all over the world face. I am interested in exploring if and how these challenges differ on the African continent,” says Carole.

Staff Retention

Submissions included interest in how staff performance management, professional learning and growth, employee engagement, and well-being programmes can positively impact high staff turnover and form part of an international school’s retention strategy.


Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice topics were among the submissions, particularly how to address/implement certain areas within DEIJ considering the restrictions and sensitivities of the African context.

“DEIJ is a prominent theme permeating almost all areas of HR within an international school. I look forward to in-depth discussions on the subject during the institute,” says Carole.

Other topics included sharing preferred and performing IT systems, database management tools, processes, and software; streamlining processes and policies; and retirement planning.

The AISA Human Resources Managers Institute is happening 29 – 30 April 2023 at the International Community School of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia; an important professional learning opportunity that will enable colleagues to support one another, share ideas and resources, and network face-to-face, the first time for many since pre-COVID times. Not to be missed. Register here.

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