COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$15 million

Years: 2020-2021

Grant agent: World Bank

Key documents:

The US$15 million grant will support:

  • Creating educational content for radio and TV programs
  • Providing radios and learning packets to the most disadvantaged students, such as pastoralist girls, students from the poorest households and students with special needs
  • Creating a back to school campaign to announce the reopening of schools, highlighting safety precautions for parents and students
  • Supporting the installation of WASH equipment in public primary and secondary schools, including portable handwashing stations, disinfectants and sanitizing materials and first aid kits
  • Providing accelerated learning and remedial classes to students to mitigate loss of learning from prolonged school closures

The initiatives above are based on the Ministry of Education COVID-19 response plan.

In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in Ethiopia received a GPE grant of US$140,000 to support the Ministry of Education in planning its response to the pandemic. The funds were used to support 3 regions to deliver radio content for approximately 200,000 children.

Education in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has made tangible progress in the education sector. The system expanded from having 10 million learners a decade ago to more than 25 million learners today. The country has been able to maintain and improve the learning achievement in key subjects. For instance, in 4th grade, the total number of students achieving basic proficiency or higher in all subjects increased from 505,000 in 2011 to 792,000 in 2015 (57% increase).

To bolster up this upward trend, Ethiopia developed a sector plan for 2015/16 to 2019/20. The Education Sector Development Program V (ESDP V) is guided by the vision to maintain the momentum of expanding equitable access to quality general education, establish technical and vocational education and training institutes in all woredas, strengthen tertiary education institutions and provide lifelong learning opportunities so that all can contribute and benefit from rapid growth and economic change in Ethiopia.

Six priority programs have been selected in this regard with their respective goals:

  1. To improve the management of the education system to increase institution performance and student achievement,
  2. To improve the quality of general education in order to motivate children to complete primary and secondary school and provide them with the knowledge, skills and values that would help them become productive and responsible citizens,
  1. To give all children access to pre-primary education for school preparedness and access to nearby institutions where they can complete full eight years of primary education and two years of general secondary education,
  2. To create a learning society by providing adult and non-formal education related to lifelong learning opportunities that will contribute to personal, societal and economic development,
  3. To produce a lower-and middle-level, competent, motivated, adaptable and innovative workforce,
  4. To produce competent graduates who possess appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes, to promote knowledge and technology transfer based on national development and community needs through research, and to ensure that education and research promote principles of freedom in exchange of views and opinions based on reason, democratic and multicultural values.

The ESDP V also focuses on eight crosscutting issues that affect education including gender, special needs, HIV/AIDS, environmental protection, education in emergencies, school health and nutrition, and drug and substance abuse prevention.

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Latest grant

Development objective: Improve internal efficiency, equitable access, and quality in general education.
Allocation: US$125,000,000
Years: 2021-2024
Grant agent: WB
Utilization: US$30,930

Ethiopia has been awarded two grants: A US$125 million Education sector program implementation grant, running from 2021 to 2024, and a US$20 million accelerated grant for 2020-2021.

The implementation grant co-finances the country’s General Education Quality Improvement Program for Equity (GEQIP-E) as an additional financing over three-and-a-half years; and builds on the lessons learned from the initial implementation period (2017-2019). Its overall objective is to improve internal efficiency, equitable access, and quality in general education.

The grant will be split between the program-for-results modality of GEQIP-E and an investment project financing component to support targeted capacity building and pilot activities.

The grant is divided into 70% as fixed part ($87.5 million) and 30% as variable part ($37.5 million).

The grant is mostly results-based financing with disbursements tied to a series of results, and both fixed part and variable part indicators support four main result areas:

  1. Improve internal efficiency. To address the chronic issue of over-enrollment in grade 1 and promote progression of children through the early grades, this component will support activities like:
    • Training of pre-primary teachers
    • Provision of teaching and learning materials,
    • School inspections.
  2. Improve equitable access for students in three areas (Afar, Ethiopia Somali, and Benishangul-Gumuz) and children with special needs through:
    • Construction of 500 new classrooms
    • Enrollment of 25,000 students in disadvantaged areas, with girls-to-boys enrollment ratio of at least 60%
    • Establishment of 600 new Inclusive Education Resource Centers within the cluster schools, to promote mainstreaming of children with special needs in education
    • Enrollment of 21,000 students with disabilities and special needs in all grades benefitting from the services of IERC cluster schools.
  3. Improve quality by building digital competence of teachers and improving child development and learning in lower secondary schools (grades 9-10). through activities like:
    • Updating the teacher licensing assessment to include a digital skills module
    • Comprehensive teacher training program prepared and piloted on digital skills and the use of ICT in teaching
    • Digital skills training for at least 1,000 teachers.
  4. Strengthen the system to improve planning, policy formulation, and reform. This aims to improve data collection and analysis, and teacher preparation, to enable students to achieve higher levels of learning.

The investment project financing component finances, through a project modality, the piloting of new activities and technical assistance to the government to ensure strong program management, with activities such as:

  • Piloting EdTech innovations
  • Building longer-term resilience of the education system to respond to COVID-like shocks and reintegrating displaced children into the schooling system
  • Capacity building for regional and local levels including on new environmental and social framework
  • Program management support
  • Management of construction and expansion of schools in a sustainable manner.

The US$20 million accelerated grant supports the Comprehensive Home-grown, Inclusive, Learning and Development School Feeding Project (CHILD SFP).

The objective is to ensure that all boys and girls have equitable access to quality, safe and inclusive pre-primary and primary education, including students with disabilities, internally displaced population and host communities in 13 targeted Woredas of 5 regions (Afar, Amhara, Oromia, Somali and SNNP regions).

The School feeding program is the core intervention but, the grant will also finance activities related to water and sanitation, capacity building training for teachers, Parents, Teachers and Students Associations (PTSA) members and education officials.

The program is aligned with the country’s Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) 2020 and has three components:

  1. Increasing access and retention for children in pre-primary & primary schools especially girls, children with disabilities, refugee & displaced children
  2. Strengthening systems and capacity to improve the resilience of regional emergency response
  3. Improving learning and development outcomes for targeted children.

The program directly targets 499 schools in 13 Woredas benefiting 163,021 school children (86,521 girls); 1,351 children with disabilities (537 girls); 3,935 teachers (1,498 females); 2,609 PTSAs members (1,111 females); and 183 regional, zonal and district education experts and officials (35 females), who will serve as school teeding committee members, managing and monitoring the overall implementation, as well as 998 cooks. The program indirectly benefits about 100,000 community members (51% females).

Multiplier grant

The US$20 million Multiplier grant supports the General Education Quality Improvement Program for Equity (GEQIP-E) as additional financing for refugee integration. The 4-year program has co-financing from IDA (US$55 million) and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (US5 million). The program aims to scale up GEQIP-E to refugee schools in the regions serving refugee populations.

The program uses the existing institutional framework and implementation arrangements of GEQIP-E, with some modifications to add the Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) as an implementing agency. 

The program supports the government’s policy of increasing access to quality education for refugees and integration of refugee education. It has 4 components:

1: Harmonization of services at refugee primary schools

  • Improve equitable access and supports the extension of key services to refugee schools. 

2: Integration of refugee secondary education

  • Start the long-term process of transferring refugee schools administered by ARRA to ministry of education oversight. Schools in areas with large refugee populations will prepare Refugee Integration Plans, as addenda to existing School Improvement Plans, and receive top-up grants as an extension of the existing Basic School Grants.

3: Innovations to address key challenges in refugee education

  • Pilot and rollout life skills training for girls in all main refugee-hosting areas
  • Appoint of adult female refugees who are secondary school graduates or above to act as “learner’s guides” in refugee schools, particularly in the schools with severe shortage of female teachers.
  • Pilot and rollout of ICT-based interventions for self-directed learning in the major refugee-hosting regions, to mitigate learning loss due to COVID-19 and other factors.

4: Investment Project Financing (IPF)

  • Scale up the existing IPF with an additional US$20 million from IDA and DANIDA to support capacity building activities including:
    • establishing National and Regional Refugee Integration Units
    • enhancing capacity for harmonization and integration
    • supporting the reopening of refugee schools following the COVID-19 pandemic through provision of low-cost water and sanitation equipment at all refugee primary and secondary schools.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Utilization Grant agent  
Multiplier 2021 20,000,000 0 WB  
Accelerated funding 2020-2021 20,000,000 4,923,392 Save the Children UK  
COVID-19 2020-2021 15,000,000 0 WB  
Program implementation 2021-2024 125,000,000 30,930 WB  
2017-2019 100,000,000 89,991,617 WB Completion report (variable part)
2014-2018 100,000,000 100,000,000 WB Completion report
2008-2013 69,535,734 69,535,734 WB  
2010-2013 97,828,573 97,828,573 WB  
Sector plan development 2019-2021 500,000 465,000 UNESCO  
2016 187,170 187,170 UNICEF  
Program development 2019-2021 199,923 199,971 WB  
2016-2017 199,000 196,999 WB  
  Total 548,450,400 363,359,386    
Data last updated: October 04, 2021

As part of its investment in civil society advocacy and social accountability efforts, GPE’s Education Out Loud fund is supporting the Basic Education Network Ethiopia (BEN-E) for the 2019-2021 period.

This builds on 11 years of Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF) support to national education coalitions for their engagement in education sector policy dialogue.

GPE had provided the Basic Education Network Ethiopia (BEN-E) with a grant from the CSEF 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 Ethiopia 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 September 09, 2021