COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$750,000

Years: 2020-2021

Grant agent: Save the Children

Key documents:

The US$750,000 COVID-19 grant supports:

  • Improving the quality of distance learning with an adapted school curriculum leading to the development and broadcasting of 440 video lessons on national TV.
  • Training teachers on the use of information and communication technology (ICT), with support to teachers and students through social media.
  • Self-instructional materials and radio lessons to support the education of children in remote communities.
  • Children with special needs through the provision of tablets and smart phones to access lessons, and developing customized teaching and learning materials.
  • Awareness campaigns on health and hygiene practices and provision of sanitary pads for girls.
  • Capacity building on gender equality practices of program staff and partners.
  • Water and sanitation interventions in schools and psychosocial support.

In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in Bhutan received a GPE grant of US$70,000 to support the Ministry of Education. A workshop on education in emergencies was held in late April to develop a COVID-19 Response Plan focusing on education continuity, especially for the unreached, with wide participation.

The plan includes 4 options for re-opening schools based on the Global Framework for Reopening Schools, developed by UNICEF, the World Bank, UNESCO and WFP. A study on online learning was conducted, focusing on children, parents and teachers.

Education in Bhutan

Over the last decade, Bhutan has made significant progress to expand access to education. The Royal Government of Bhutan has been giving high priority to improving the quality of learning in primary schools and expanding access to secondary education.

The 10-year “Bhutan Education Blueprint (BEBP 2014-2024)” focuses on transforming the education system to increase access, quality, equity, and efficiency. The government recognizes education as a basic right and a prerequisite for achieving the country’s social, cultural, and economic goals.

The overall goal of the Blueprint is to have an efficient, high-performing and successful education system that prepares students, its future citizens, to thrive in a competitive and “fast-homogenizing” world with knowledge, intellectual competence, and character. While the government is committed to developing the education system, progress is constrained by the country’s limited resources.

Bhutan has recently constituted a forum called Education Sector Coordination Meeting (ESCM) as the local education group. The ESCM under the leadership of the ministry of Education serves as a forum for sector dialogue and enhanced coordination and collaboration between the government, development partners and civil society organizations.

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On October 1, 2018, partners gathered in Thimphu at the invitation of the Minister of Education to officially launch the program financed by the GPE grant. In this photo,Karma Yeshey, Secretary of the Ministry of Education, gives opening remarks.
Credit: Save the Children
Rudolf Schwenk, the UNICEF Representative in Cambodia, also made a few remarks. UNICEF is the coordinating agency in Bhutan.
Credit: Save the Children
Remarks by M.B Ghaley, National Director at Save the Children, which is the grant agent for the GPE grant
Credit: Save the Children
The UNICEF representative, the GNHC (planning commission) senior program officer Madam Sonam Chokey, the MoE Secretary and the National Director Save the Children
Credit: Save the Children
The UNICEF representative, the GNHC (planning commission) senior program officer Madam Sonam Chokey, the officiating Secretary of the BCSEA Madam Kesang Deki Tshering and the National Director Save the Children
Credit: Save the Children
Group picture
Credit: Save the Children
A view of the room at the launch event in Thimphu
Credit: Save the Children
Development objective: Improve early childhood education and learning assessments as transformative areas that can produce sustainable and system-level improvements.
Allocation: US$2,500,000
Years: 2018-2022
Grant agent: Save the Children US
Utilization: US$2,039,128

In response to the challenges identified in the Blueprint, the proposed program financed by a $2.5 million grant supports early childhood education (ECE) and learning assessments as transformative areas that can produce sustainable and system-level improvements.

After successful implementation of the program, it is expected that:

  • More children, especially those from disadvantaged groups, are physically, intellectually, socially and emotionally prepared for school
  • Education policies and teaching/learning processes are informed and improved by robust and periodic learning assessments.

The program has two main components:

  1. Improve access to and quality of early childhood education by:
    • Increasing the number of ECE centers in already available infrastructure
    • Improving the existing ECE Parenting Education Manual
    • Enhancing access and equity to ECE services for all children, especially disadvantaged ones
    • Providing in-service training for 100 ECE facilitators of the newly established centers
    • Improving the monitoring capacity of ministry of Education officials.
  2. Enhance national assessment system to improve learning outcomes by:
    • Developing a National Education Assessment Framework (NEAF) inclusive of special education needs
    • Building the capacity necessary for a more reliable and credible assessment of school outcomes
    • Implementing a stronger NEAF using a sample-based methodology at Grade 3 level. This builds on gradual progress made to develop a systematic national assessment system and seeks to provide the policy framework and practical capacity necessary for efficient and effective monitoring of learning achievement in grades 3, 6, 10 and 12


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Utilization Grant agent  
Program implementation 2018-2022 2,500,000 2,039,128 Save the Children US Progress report
COVID-19 2020-2022 750,000 711,325 Save the Children US  
Program development 2017-2018 68,891 68,891 Save the Children US  
  Total 3,318,891 2,819,344    
Data last updated: May 06, 2022

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Bhutan, and GPE data shows the country progress on 16 indicators monitored in the GPE Results Framework.

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

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 19, 2021