The Gambia

The Gambia

  • GPE partner since: 2006
  • Coordinating agency: UNICEF
  • GPE Secretariat Country Lead: Jo Kiyenje


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Education in The Gambia

The government of the Gambia is committed to undertaking several reforms to improve the education sector.

The main challenge that the education sector faces is the poor quality of education, which is a result of the poor quality of teachers and teaching methods as well as the inadequate supply of teaching and learning materials in many schools.

The ESMTP is based on an overarching education sector strategic plan (ESSP) covering the period 2014-2022. This plan includes interventions focused on improving access and equity, quality and relevance, and sector management for basic, secondary, and tertiary and higher education. The interventions outlined below are focused on basic and secondary education.

The objectives are to:

  1. Improve access and equity by:
    • Promoting inclusiveness, integration, and participation of students with special needs in the education system
    • Abolishing all types of school fees in lower and upper basic schools
    • Supporting madrassah education by providing instructional materials, training teachers, and constructing schools, among other initiatives
    • Introducing conditional cash transfer programs.
  2. Improve quality and relevance by:
    • Developing an improved curriculum and assessments
    • Focusing on improving early literacy and numeracy skills and evaluating reading programs in lower grades
    • Improving teacher training
    • Promoting life skills, school health and nutrition
    • Providing teaching and learning materials and promoting the use of new technology in schools
    • Strengthening teachers’ competencies in pedagogical and content knowledge
    • Strengthening monitoring and supervision systems
    • Providing library materials to public lower and upper basic schools
    • Strengthening science and technology education.
  3. Improve sector management by:
    • Strengthening institutional capacities of units and directorates of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE)
    • Strengthening the education management information system to ensure the production of timely and accurate data
    • Improving monitoring and evaluation systems to conduct regular monitoring exercises to ensure that policy objectives are being achieved
    • Capacity building including the training of key MoBSE staff on the use of strategic information technology tools
    • Implementing a performance management system.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent
Program implementation 2014-2018 6,900,000 6,579,424 IBRD
2009-2013 27,998,912 27,998,912 IBRD
2006-2008 9,400,000 9,400,000 IBRD
2004-2005 4,000,000 4,000,000 IBRD
Sector plan development 2016 387,824 - IBRD
2012 250,000 249,717 IBRD
Program development 2017 199,800 - IBRD
2013 197,500 195,341 IBRD
  TOTAL 49,334,036 48,423,394  


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/Trained teacher ratio

Teachers Trained (%)

GPE in The Gambia

The current GPE grant awarded to the Gambia of US$6.9 million co-finances the Results for Education Achievement and Development (READ) project, which supports the implementation of the government’s education sector plan. In addition to the GPE grant, the READ project includes financing from the International Development Association (IDA) and from the government of the Gambia.

The objectives of this project are to increase access to basic education, improve the quality of teaching and learning in lower basic schools, provide technical and institutional support and strengthen education systems.

  1. Increasing access to basic education by:
    • Constructing multi-grade schools and early childhood development (ECD) centers.
    • Providing donkey carts to communities where lower grade students have difficulty walking to school because of long distances.
    • Improving ECD teacher training.
    • Providing school grants to lower and upper basic schools and stationery to all students in lower basic education in poor areas.
  2. Improving quality of teaching and learning by:
    • Strengthening teachers’ competencies in pedagogical and content knowledge.
    • Scaling up incentives to deploy qualified teachers to remote areas.
    • Enhancing teacher training.
    • Evaluating early reading programs to gauge good practices with the objective of developing reading curriculum guidelines.
  3. Providing technical and institutional support by:
    • Developing a strong communications strategy.
    • Improving data systems, providing short term training in statistical analysis, and management training.
  4. Strengthening the education system with a focus on governance and management results by improving access to education and improving teacher and student performance.

The local education group in the Gambia is led by UNICEF, and includes the following donors: French Embassy, the Islamic Development Bank, Arab Bank for Economic Development, UNICEF and the World Bank. The LEG includes strong participation from civil society: the Peace Corps, Action Aid, the National Campaign for Education, and the Teachers' Union.

In April 2016 an additional US$1 million was contributed from the Early Learning Partnership to support ECD activities under the project.

In June 2016 an additional US$7.5 million was added to the project by IDA to mitigate the impact of an acute financial crisis on the education sector, notably mitigating the impact on teacher salaries and school grants.

Source: World Bank Project Appraisal Document. February 2014


The Gambia has made great progress in the education sector. The most recent GPE funds have contributed to achieving the following results:

  • 45,702 additional students have been enrolled in public pre-schools, lower and upper basic schools.
  • 46,731 students in hardship areas (located further than 3 km from a main road) received stationary packages.
  • 1,906 additional qualified primary school teachers.
  • 40 multi-grade schools have been built in remote regions and students are enrolled in these schools.
  • A classroom observation tool has been developed with a view to improve the quality of teaching and learning.
  • A unified approach to teaching literacy in national languages in early grades (pre-school to grade 3) has been developed and is being used (called “Gambia reads”).
  • Standardized and classroom-based assessments have been conducted on a regular basis.
  • Staff at the ministry of basic and secondary education have been trained in statistics.
  • Data is being collected on student and teacher absenteeism using a mobile phone system.
  • The existing curricula content of The Gambia College program has been revised to focus on relevant subject content knowledge, pedagogical skills and relevant use of Information and Communications Technology
  • 100 donkey carts were distributed to communities where lower grade students have difficulty walking to school because of long distances.

Source: World Bank Implementation Status Report. December 2016

Last updated September 05, 2017