Education in Timor-Leste

The overarching vision of the government of Timor-Leste for the education sector is that all individuals will have access to a quality education that will allow them to participate in the economic, social, and political development process. Timor-Leste has made significant progress in recent years, specifically in the number of schools and enrollment levels. Within 5 years, the net enrollment rate grew from 67% to 83% and gender disparity significantly decreased in basic education.

Despite this progress, Timor-Leste’s education sector still faces some challenges. Within basic education, drop out and repetition rates are high, while approximately half of six-year olds do not begin their schooling at the right age.

The National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) 2011-2030 aims to achieve universal completion of basic education, eliminate illiteracy, and ensure gender parity through priority programs, strategies, and activities in early childhood, basic, secondary, higher, and recurrent education.

Blogs and news

Alice Albright, chief executive officer of the Global Partnership for Education during her interview with Sky News Australia. Credit: GPE/April Golden
August 16, 2017
Earlier this month, GPE CEO Alice Albright visited Japan and Australia to meet with partners and discuss how best to collaborate in the context of the upcoming GPE replenishment.

Latest grant

Outside of their classroom, a few students of a primary school in Timor Leste smile. March 2013.

CREDIT: GPE/Tara E. O'Connell
Development objective: Support the implementation of the National Education Strategic Plan through strengthening the capacity and systems of the Ministry of Education.
Grant agent:IBRD

The GPE program of US$2.5 million in Timor-Leste focused on strengthening the capacity and systems of the ministry of education. The project directly benefited the staff of the ministry of Education, with the goal of benefitting of the students and teachers in the education system.

The five components of the grant were:

  1. Strengthen senior and general management systems in core management directorates to support the implementation of the NESP.
  2. Strengthen public financial management and evidence-based planning capacity through providing technical support to strengthen policy and planning systems capacity, quality and transparent financial management systems, procurement and contract management functions, and monitoring and evaluation of the NESP.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
Program implementation 2012-2015 2,537,205 2,537,205 IBRD Completion report
2009-2010 4,861,428 4,861,428 IBRD Completion report
2006-2009 8,188,095 8,188,095 IBRD
  TOTAL 15,586,728 15,586,728    

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Timor-Leste. 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 October 01, 2018