Sierra Leone | Global Partnership for Education
Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone


In collaboration with GPE, education partners in Sierra Leone gather for a two-day review of the country's education sector plan and call for innovation in school programs.
Since schools in Sierra Leone reopened in early 2015 after the Ebola outbreak, the country’s government, with assistance from GPE, has made efforts to improve education in this country. However, the...
The International Rescue Committee's healing classrooms program strives to create a positive and nurturing learning environment for all children where they feel and are safe

Education in Sierra Leone

The government of Sierra Leone recognizes the impact of education on human development and aims to provide opportunities for children and adult to acquire the skills, values, and attitudes that benefit the nation.

The education sector plan 2014-2018 outlines the following strategic objectives and interventions:

  1. Ensure that all children enter school and complete primary education through:
    • Constructing additional classrooms to accommodate projected demand in communities.
    • Organizing campaigns and reducing the cost of schooling to parents and households to encourage parents to send children to school.
    • Providing targeted support program for needy families.
    • Providing support for extra-curricular activities and accelerated primary education for older children and youth aged 10-15.
  1. Increase access to pre-school for children aged 3-5 through developing and piloting a cost-effective community-based pre-school model.
  2. Increase the completion level and equitable access to junior secondary schools through providing additional teachers, expanding tuition support program for girls, and reducing the cost of education for the most vulnerable families.
  3. Increase equitable access to senior secondary schools through constructing additional classrooms to accommodate projected demand and providing additional qualified teachers.
  4. Increase equitable access to technical and vocational schools through:
    • Supporting public-private partnerships to operationalize centers across the country.
    • Training teachers and instructors.
    • Finalizing and implementing a technical vocational education and training policy.
  5. Increase equitable access to higher education institutions through:
    • Constructing new facilities and upgrading existing ones to accommodate projected demand.
    • Expanding access to higher education and skills training through information and communication technologies.
    • Providing better financial support to neediest students and continue to grant support for females in science, technology, and mathematics, and students with disabilities.
    • Developing a strategy to consolidate policies for addressing equitable growth and quality improvements.
  6. Improve the literacy rate for youth and adults through:
    • Launching a national campaign for literacy.
    • Training and providing improved incentives for literacy facilitators and teachers.
    • Establishing more and better-resourced non-formal basic skills training centers.
  7. Improve learning environments through:
    • Rehabilitating and constructing existing classrooms, providing adequate furniture, and increasing access to potable water and sanitation facilities to ensure a safe learning environment.
    • Providing learning materials for students, teacher support and materials, and updated textbooks.
    • Providing teacher support and materials.
  8. Revise the curricula and student assessment.
  9. Improve students’ acquisition of basic skills of reading and numeracy through:
    • Developing a national reading program for children in grades 1-3.
    • Training teachers on reading instruction.
    • Assessing children’s reading and numeracy skills in primary schools and provide remedial interventions.
  10. Improve the quality of teachers through providing support for pre-service and in-service education at all levels.
  11. Equitably deploy teachers nationwide through incentivizing trained teachers, approving community schools, and establishing literacy centers in underserved areas.

The education sector plan also details several strategic objectives related to system strengthening. These involve effective systems for teacher recruitment and deployment, improving strategic and operational planning and service delivery, and capacity building.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent
Program implementation 2014-2017 17,900,000 5,241,172 IBRD
2008-2012 11,691,405 11,691,406 IBRD
Sector plan development 2012 250,000 249,961 IBRD
Program development 2012 207,567 203,908 IBRD
  TOTAL 30,048,972 17,386,447  


Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.


Primary Gross Enrollment Rate (%)

Primary Completion Rate (%)

Lower Secondary Completion Rate (%)

Out-of-school Children Rate (%)

Domestic Financing

Public Expenditure on Education as Share of GDP (%)

Public Expenditure on Education as a Share of Public Expenditure (%)

Public Expenditure on Primary as a Share of Total Education Expenditure (%)


Student/Teacher Ratio

Teachers Trained (%)

GPE in Sierra Leone

A child at school in Sierra Leone, with a globe showing Africa. Credit: GPE/Stephan Bachenheimer

The GPE grant of US$17.9 million was awarded in 2014 to support Sierra Leone in implementing its education sector plan. Additional financing from DFID (US$5.5 million) was also integrated in the overall GPE-funded project. The overall objective of the program is to improve the learning environment in targeted schools and to establish systems for monitoring overall education outcomes.

The four components of the grant are:

  1. Improve the learning environment and opportunities in targeted areas through performance-based school grants, piloting approaches to increase school readiness, and strengthening reading outcomes in the early grades and improvements in teacher management.
  2. Strengthen education service delivery through building a better system for measuring learning outcomes, supporting consistent school data collection and establishing a system for effective delivery on the Education Sector Strategy.
  3. Support project management and supervision.
  4. Support the implementation of the Ebola response Plan through emergency radio and television programs and establishing safe and secure learning environments.

The ministry of education, science, and technology implements the program with the World Bank as grant agent and UNICEF as the coordinating agency.

Source: World Bank project appraisal document. July 2014


The Ebola crisis impeded the progress of Sierra Leone’s second GPE grant significantly. An amount of US$1.45 million originally unallocated was used for Ebola-related activities.

Despite the delay, the GPE financing contributed to the following results:

  • 5,970 schools were disinfected and received hand-washing stations and supplies
  • 600 hours of Ebola emergency radio programs were broadcast
  • 600 primary schools implementing grants through the project
  • 8,100 schools reopened
  • 14 districts benefited from a social mobilization campaign.

Source: World Bank implementation status report. June 2016

Last updated December 23, 2016