COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$11 million

Years: 2020-2021

Grant agent: UNESCO

Key documents:

The US$11 million COVID-19 grant supports:

  • Learning continuity for all children through distance learning delivered via radio, TV, and internet, distribution of printed materials, supported through staff training, community sensitization and distribution of ICT kits and radios to vulnerable students.
  • Return to safe and protective schools though hygiene measures (disinfection of schools, handwashing programs), a psychosocial support program, distribution of learning supplies to girls and vulnerable children, learning assessments, and community mobilization / teacher training around preventing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Building the resilience of the education system by further developing regional capacity for implementing distance learning approaches, including supporting mobile centers for distance learning, thematic studies based on evidence, and development of a harmonized national plan for crisis management.

In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in Cameroon received a GPE grant of US$70,000 to support the Ministry of Education in planning its response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Education in Cameroon

The primary objective of the current plan, “Document de Stratégie du Secteur de l’Education et de la Formation 2013-2020” is the achievement of quality universal primary education. This objective aligns with the national strategy for growth and employment goal of providing the production system with human capital capable of supporting economic growth.

The country has made notable progress in recent years on some indicators, including increasing the textbook/learner ratio, recruiting and deploying new teachers and assessing learning outcomes. However, the education sector still faces many challenges particularly due to the many crises the country has faced in recent years.

The current education sector plan is focused on improving access and equity, quality and relevance, as well as governance and management of the sector.

  1. Access and Equity
    Improve access and equity at all levels of education. More specifically:
    • Increase preschool enrollment to 40% nationwide
    • Increase access by reducing disparities of all kinds in primary and secondary education
    • Expand basic education to include lower secondary school
    • Diversify and increase vocational training options
    • Strengthen higher education with a focus on professional preparedness, science, and technology
    • Promote literacy among children and adults
    • Develop nationwide building and infrastructure standards
  2. Quality and Relevance
    Improve the quality of learning paying particular attention to the socio-economic environment:
    • Improve the quality of learning in primary and secondary school through interventions such as curriculum reform, distribution of learning and teaching materials, and literacy programs,
    • Adapt training and teaching to the socio-economic environment focusing on achieving a well-educated human resources base in support of the country’s industrialization efforts,
    • Promote research and development of education practices within the sector,
    • Promote health in schools, universities, and vocational training efforts.
  3. Governance and Management
    Improve the governance and management of the education sector focusing on decentralization:
    • Maintain current regulation mechanisms until new ones are developed following the establishment of basic education,
    • Reinforce decentralization of education sector, delegating to local authorities,
    • Improve human resource management,
    • Improve teaching conditions and encourage efficient career management,
    • Reinforce sector planning capacity,
    • Increase transparency of resource management.

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Latest grant

Students lifting their slates during a lesson in a school in Cameroon.

Students lifting their slates during a lesson in a school in Cameroon.

CREDIT: GPE/Stephan Bachenheimer
Development objective: Mitigate the effects of the transition of learners from temporary learning spaces to host schools around the 6 sites sheltering Central African refugees in the East and Adamawa regions.
Allocation: US$53,800,000
Years: 2020
Grant agent: World Bank
Disbursements: US$0

The education sector in Cameroon has been facing a severe crisis in recent years. The influx of refugees from neighboring countries and the increase in the number of internally displaced persons fleeing the abuses of Boko Haram in the Northern regions of the country led the government to apply for an accelerated funding of $7.76 million as part of the education support project in emergency situations, which GPE granted the country. This project aims to:

  1. Strengthen the reception capacities of host schools in regions most affected by the crises [of CAR and Boko Haram] and stimulate the demand for education by providing schools with the necessary amenities to improve learning conditions and allow to enroll more refugees, internally displaced children and those from host communities and ensure their retention in school, through:
    • building and equipping new classrooms and head of schools' offices
    • building water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructures and organizing “wash-in-school” activities
    • implementing of accelerated curricula for the re-enrollment of out-of-school children and the reintegration of those who dropped out of school
    • strengthening participation and community involvement and advocacy for the application of the Safe Schools Declaration.
  2. Establish inclusive and protective learning conditions through:
    • building the capacities of teachers in targeted communities on new ESU themes (education for peace and social cohesion, psychosocial support and disaster risk reduction including the application of Safe school”) and local educational supervision
    • supplying schools and pupils with teaching and learning materials and additional reading and mathematics books.

This accelerated funding also contributes to the emergency response plan launched by UNOCHA in 2018. UNICEF is acting as partner agent under this funding.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
COVID-19 2020 11,000,000 0 UNESCO  
Program implementation 2019-2020 7,760,000 2,240,525 UNICEF  
2014-2019 50,761,884 50,761,884 World Bank Progress report
2007-2011 47,064,100 47,064,100 World Bank  
Program implementation and multiplier 2020 53,800,000 0 World Bank  
Sector plan development 2018-2020 500,000 500,000 World Bank  
2012-2013 199,424 199,424 World Bank  
Program development 2020-2021 300,000 0 World Bank  
2013-2014 190,395 190,395 World Bank  
  Total 171,575,803 100,956,328    
Data last updated: October 06, 2020

GPE has also provided the Cameroun Education for All (CEFAN) with a grant from the Civil Society Education Fund, to support its engagement in education sector policy dialogue and citizens’ voice in education quality, equity, and financing and sector reform.

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Cameroon, 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 – 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 May 21, 2020