Senegal: Leveraging national systems to transform the education system

Read how the sector budget support, funded by GPE and AFD and aligned to national systems, is contributing to the transformation of Senegal’s education system.

July 19, 2021 by Ed Lamot, GPE Secretariat, and Elsa Duret, Agence Française de Développement
5 minutes read
Training of trainers in techno-pedagogy at the Professional Training Center of Ourossogui, in Senegal. March 2021. Credit: UNESCO/ Bruno Deméocq
Training of trainers in techno-pedagogy at the Professional Training Center of Ourossogui in Senegal. March 2021.
Credit: UNESCO/ Bruno Deméocq

The government of Senegal and GPE development partners have agreed on an aligned aid modality for the delivery of sector budget support to Senegal for the implementation of the country’s Education and Training Sector Plan (PAQUET-EF). This untargeted support is completely fungible with the national budget, with funding provided through Senegal’s single treasury account.

The choice of sector budget support for Senegal’s education development support project (PADES) is completely consistent with the GPE approach, which encourages greater alignment to national systems to promote their transformation.

“The choice of budget support as the PADES intervention modality will guarantee the sustainable improvement of educational performance in Senegal.”

M. Ndong, Adviser to the Minister of Finance and Budget, with responsibility for budget support in Senegal

Alignment of the development partner group

PADES is financed by GPE, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), and the government of Senegal, through a concessional loan provided by AFD. Sector budget support, the program’s main structural mechanism and tool for incentivizing the transformation of the education system, is used to disburse most of the funding (EUR 60.9 million).

The balance of EUR 11 million will be disbursed using a project modality—independent of the public financial management system—to complement sector budget support. GPE support for this project will be used to develop the capacity of the Ministry of National Education over the medium term to carry out the education reforms and to achieve the PADES indicators, which correspond, for the most part, to those of the ESP (PAQUET-EF).

“The cofinancing arrangements for PADES, involving GPE and AFD, were set up using the GPE Multiplier. A retrospective review could be undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of PADES going forward in leveraging additional external financing for budget
support for PAQUET.”

Ali-Mohamed Sinane, Program Specialist, UNESCO
Participants in the training of trainers in techno-pedagogy at the Professional Training Center of Ourossogui in Senegal. March 2021. Credit: UNESCO/Bruno Deméocq
Trainers being trained in techno-pedagogy at the Professional Training Center of Ourossogui in Senegal. March 2021
UNESCO/Bruno Deméocq

The sector budget support funded by GPE and AFD is completely fungible with national resources. As a result, these funds are not tied to specific items of expenditure.

The funding is completely aligned to national systems and requires no special execution procedures, and consequently no additional transaction costs in terms of program management. In this way, monitoring and dialogue can be fully focused on the national system and on the targeted reforms.

The fiduciary risks associated with the provision of budget support through the Treasury Single Account were identified in the PADES design phase.

In Senegal, the risk associated with the evaluation of Public Financial Management (PFM) performance using the standard PEFA methodology was deemed to be acceptable. It should be noted that PFM is one of the four eligibility criteria for PADES budget support and is therefore applicable to all disbursements (fixed part and variable part).

Support to program priorities

Through its alignment to the national systems responsible for public expenditure, PADES seeks to support and strengthen the country’s involvement in promoting the structural reform of the education system across the country in various key focus areas of the PAQUET-EF:

  • Quality of learning in the foundational years of primary school, with an emphasis on reading;
  • The capacity of the administration to target resources for the implementation of actions that benefit the most vulnerable schools and children, as well as efforts to reduce dropout rates;
  • Performance and efficiency gains in the implementation of all State investment programs in education.

These structural enhancements are broken down into a number of indicators and targets, which are then used to determine the variable part disbursements of sector budget support.

Support based on key reforms to strengthen the system

Results-based financing helps incentivize change and focuses attention and dialogue on the existing structural shortcomings of the system. PADES seeks, therefore, to transform the system through a theory of change that establishes a link between the diagnostic analysis of the system’s shortcomings in terms of the delivery of education services and the acceleration of the reforms needed to overcome them.

By aligning to national systems and policies, PADES helps finance the State’s crosscutting reforms and plays a catalytic role in the implementation of these reforms in the education sector.

The indicators for the disbursement of the variable part are intended to leverage these reforms, which relate mainly to results-based public financial management associated with the implementation of the program budget, the deconcentration and decentralization of education management, the improved accountability of education stakeholders through the use of performance contracts, and public procurement.


A woman taking part to the training of trainers in techno-pedagogy at the Professional Training Center of Ourossogui in Senegal. March 2021. Credit: UNESCO/Bruno Deméocq
A woman taking part to the training of trainers in techno-pedagogy at the Professional Training Center of Ourossogui in Senegal. March 2021.
UNESCO/ Bruno Deméocq

“In addition to aligning PADES to national systems (policies and instruments), the program may also be used as a tool to improve the harmonization of partner interventions and further strengthen the capacity of the education sector to coordinate and monitor the program. Recent sector reviews have underscored the need for a concerted effort to bring about greater alignment and harmonization of interventions to ensure that learning outcomes and levels of equity and inclusiveness are more effective
and measurable.”

Ali-Mohamed Sinane, Program Specialist, UNESCO

Coordination within the local education group

The design of PADES was a participatory process involving all sector stakeholders, and was organized by Senegal’s local education group, the GNPEF, the national platform for dialogue and coordination.

The following line ministries participate in the sector dialogue within the GNPEF: Ministry of National Education (MEN) (preschool, basic education, general secondary education, literacy for young adults (MEN), Ministry of Employment, Vocational Training, and Handicrafts (MEFPA), Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation (MESRI), Ministry of Women, Family, Gender, and Child Protection (MFFGPE), with support from the coordinating agency and sector lead of the education development partners, a position held for several years by UNESCO.

The GNPEF also plays an important role in managing the PADES to ensure that the project is being implemented in accordance with the principles used for dialogue and coordination of the sector. Similarly, all partners have a role to play in assessing the conditions for tranche disbursements for PADES based on the level of achievement of targets.

PADES should therefore have a catalytic effect on enhancing the dialogue on the policies and strategies for implementing PAQUET-EF.

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