Education in Sierra Leone

The 2018-2020 Education Sector Plan (ESP) was appraised in July 2017 and endorsed by the development partners in October 2017. The local education group in Sierra Leone is called 'education development partners' and has held quarterly meetings in recent years to discuss progress according to the ESP workplan and monitor key performance indicators.

The ESP 2018-20 intends to develop an inclusive education policy and equip at least 15% of existing schools with ramps for students with disability.

Many teachers are unqualified, with 41% of male and 28% of female teachers in 2016 lacking formal teaching qualification or teaching with a qualification below the required standard. In 2011, the government decided to establish the Teaching Service Commission (TSC), an independent government body that works on teacher recruitment, development and management, and launched the Commission in 2016 with support of the GPE-financed project.

Blogs and news

Caption: Alice Albright listens to President Julius Maada Bio during a visit to Sierra Leone this week. Credit: GPE/Ludovica Pellicioli
February 01, 2019
CEO Alice Albright is in Sierra Leone for the launch of a new GPE-supported program.
Students in class at the Dr. SM Broaderick Municipal School in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Credit: GPE/Daisuke Kanazawa
January 31, 2019
GPE CEO Alice Albright joined President Julius Maada Bio in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to announce a US$17.2 million grant from GPE to boost the country's flagship quality education program.
Girls in a school yard in Sierra Leone. Credit: GPE/Stephan Bachenheimer
January 30, 2019
Sierra Leone launches new GPE program, which aims to increase equitable access to education and improve learning outcomes for approximately 1 million girls and boys in public pre-primary and primary...

Latest grant

A child at school in Sierra Leone, with a globe showing Africa.

CREDIT: GPE/Stephan Bachenheimer
Development objective: Increase equitable access to education and improve learning outcomes for all boys and girls in pre-primary and primary schools
Grant agent:UNICEF

The GPE grant supports the "Getting it right; building strong foundations for learning" program, which has the following objectives:

  • Build strong foundations for learning through increased access to early learning for 3-5-year-olds
  • Improve learning outcomes in reading, writing, and math for early grade 1-3 students
  • Improve systems for decentralized school monitoring, data collection and management, create a learning assessment unit, and increase the availability of comprehensive sector analysis data.

To achieve these objectives, the program undertakes the following interventions:

  • Component 1: focuses on the expansion of preschool classes in primary schools and community-based early childhood education
  • Component 2: provides in-service teacher training for grades 1-3 in conjunction with the newly established Teaching Service Commission
  • Component 3: streamlines the data collection mechanism by integrating the Situation Room (special data units) with the EMIS and establish information feedback systems to schools and communities. This component also supports the full education sector analysis to be conducted in 2019
  • Component 4: focuses on program management including UNICEF's supervision operations.

The variable part of the grant is as follows:

  • The equity dimension aims to reduce the gap in access to early childhood education development services
  • The efficiency dimension aims to reduce the repetition rates at the primary level
  • The learning dimension aims to improve reading and math skills.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
Program implementation 2018-2022 17,200,000 69,504 UNICEF
2014-2017 17,900,000 17,656,156 IBRD Progress report
2008-2012 11,691,406 11,691,406 IBRD Completion report
Sector plan development 2012 250,000 249,961 IBRD
Program development 2012 207,567 203,908 IBRD
  TOTAL 47,248,973 29,870,935    

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Sierra Leone. Download this PDF to view the country’s progress on 16 results framework indicators monitored by the GPE Secretariat.


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 (%)

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 February 12, 2019