Education in The Gambia

Over the past 15 years the ministry of basic and secondary education has focused on improving access, equity, quality and relevance, and improved sector management. Thanks to these efforts, more children go to school, education infrastructure has improved, teacher supply has increased, and teachers have been better supported through content and pedagogical training. 

While the country made considerable progress in the earlier part of the decade, for the last 5 years, key education indicators have stagnated, and the system faces several challenges related to access, equity, learning outcomes and efficiency.

The Education Sector Strategic Plan 2016-2030 represents a crucial step in articulating the country’s priorities and educational vision, covering all education sub-sectors, from early-childhood to higher education, and including specific strategies to improve equity, efficiency and learning outcomes.

The plan, appraised in August 2017, was endorsed by the local education group in November 2017.

Blogs and news

Members of the audience at a performance put on by the youth theatre project. Mali. Credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino
November 01, 2018
On the occasion of Africa Youth Day, we highlight the efforts of African youth advocates and activists promoting quality education for all. We are grateful them for their activism to keep education...
A teacher and her students in class at the Amadou Diagne Woré Elementary School, Dakar. Credit: GPE/ Carine Durand
September 08, 2018
On International Literacy Day, let’s review some of the efforts that the Global Partnership for Education is making to ensure that more children in developing countries are learning.
Gambian school children. Credit: John Savage
April 04, 2018
The Gambia received US$35 million from GPE and the World Bank to increase access to early childhood education, basic education, and koranic centers. The grant will also help improving teacher...

Latest grant

A girl in The Gambia.

CREDIT: Allan Hopkins
Development objective: Increase access to early childhood development and basic education and improve quality of teaching and learning.
Grant agent:IBRD

The education sector support program (ESSP), supported in part by a US$5.3 million GPE grant, aims to increase access to early childhood and basic education. This is achieved by improving school infrastructure, offering second-chance programs and conditional cash transfers, and providing quality improvement interventions such as a curriculum reform, textbook distribution, teacher standards development and training, and strengthening EMIS and monitoring of learning outcomes. The program has three components.

The goal of component 1 is to enhance access to early childhood and basic education by constructing early childhood and lower and upper basic education classrooms; establishing a small fund for special needs modifications; offering transportation to schools in targeted communities; introducing a targeted incentive program in select districts; expanding support to koranic schools; piloting a second chance education program; and conducting sensitization campaigns and consultations.

Component 2 aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning by the sequenced revision of the curriculum for early childhood through Grade 9 with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and English, the development of a coherent strategy framework for teacher training and management to improve teacher effectiveness, as well as through the targeted support to recruitment and deployment efforts.

The goal of component 3 is to provide technical and institutional support by enhancing the system for continuous implementation of assessment of learning outcomes, strengthening data systems, funding of a service delivery indicators exercise, and enhancing capacity to support data driven policies at the national level.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
Program implementation 2018-2022 5,300,000 - IBRD Progress report
2014-2018 6,900,000 6,579,424 IBRD Progress report
2009-2013 27,998,912 27,998,912 IBRD Completion report
2006-2008 9,400,000 9,400,000 IBRD
2004-2005 4,000,000 4,000,000 IBRD
Sector plan development 2016 443,362 - IBRD
2012 250,000 249,717 IBRD
Program development 2017 199,800 - IBRD
2013 197,500 195,341 IBRD
  TOTAL 54,689,574 48,423,394    

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in The Gambia. For detailed results from GPE funding, please look for progress reports in the grants section.


Primary completion rate (%)

Lower secondary completion rate

Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age

Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age

Pre-primary gross enrollment rate

Gender parity index for out-of-school rate – Primary and lower secondary

Public expenditure on education as share of GDP (%)

Public expenditure on education as a share of public expenditure (%)

Students/trained teacher ratio

Teachers trained (%)

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.

Last updated November 17, 2018