Girls walk home from school in Bairiki, one of the largest towns in South Tarawa, Kiribati. Credit: Conor Ashleigh / World Bank 2014

Partner since:

Total grant support: US$17,714,278

Grant eligibility:

  • Multiplier
  • System capacity
  • System transformation

Education sector plan

Objective: Improving the quality of education and achieve the national aspirations for all children in Kiribati.

Other key documents

Coordinating agency: Australian High Commission, Republic of Kiribati, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, UNESCO, University of the South Pacific

GPE Team lead: Daisuke Kanazawa

Transforming education in Kiribati

Spread across 3,300 km in the Pacific Ocean, the geographic dynamics of Kiribati pose a challenge in the delivery of accessible education, particularly at the senior secondary level. However, at the primary and junior secondary levels progress has been made, with improved enrollment and retention rates.

As of 2019, 21% of Kiribati’s GDP was spent on education. Education in Kiribati is largely provided by the government and church-run institutions.

Early childhood education is provided by the non-government sector including churches and other community based groups. Free, compulsory schooling in Kiribati consists of 6 years of primary and 3 years of secondary school education. At the end of year 9, examinations determine student’s ability to progress into senior secondary school.

Secondary education is provided by both the government and a number of privately operated church schools.

In 2019, Kiribati developed the Kiribati Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) covering the period 2020–2023.

The ESSP is directly linked to the new Kiribati Development Plan (KDP), and as such, reflects the key objectives of government policies along with regional and international polices on education (including PACREF). It also draws on lessons learned from implementing the previous education sector plan (2016-2019), as well as on a number of analytical reports, national consultations, education research studies, and results from national and international assessments.

The strategic plan aims to provide the young people of Kiribati with the knowledge, skills, wisdom, morality, and ability to strengthen Kiribati’s cultural identity, so that they can prosper and thrive against the challenges of today and tomorrow. To do so, the ESSP is articulated around 5 goals, all aimed at improving the quality of education, and to achieve the national aspirations for all children in the country:

  1. The Ministry of Education is strategically, effectively and efficiently supporting the delivery of quality education and other services
  2. Ministry staff have the skills, knowledge and abilities to deliver high quality education services and lead the education sector into the future
  3. All schools are accessible and well-resourced to provide safe, comfortable and healthy quality learning environments
  4. All school age children have access to a high-quality education
  5. The Ministry of Education is maintaining strong partnership that supports the delivery of high-quality education.

Learn more about the Pacific Regional Education Framework (PacREF)


(data as of September 28, 2023)

  • Type: System capacity

    Years: 2023 - 2024

    Allocation: US$682,023

    Utilization: US$746

    Grant agent: UNICEF

  • Type: Program implementation

    Years: 2021 - 2024

    Allocation: US$14,997,510

    Utilization: US$102,222

    Grant agent: ADB

  • Type: Program development

    Years: 2020 - 2021

    Allocation: US$389,875

    Utilization: US$389,875

    Grant agent: ADB

  • Type: COVID-19

    Years: 2020 - 2022

    Allocation: US$750,000

    Utilization: US$537,387

    Grant agent: UNICEF

  • Type: Sector plan development

    Years: 2019 - 2021

    Allocation: US$499,768

    Utilization: US$499,768

    Grant agent: UNICEF

  • Type: Sector plan development

    Years: 2017 - 2018

    Allocation: US$195,102

    Utilization: US$195,102

    Grant agent: ADB

  • Type: Sector plan development

    Years: 2015 - 2016

    Allocation: US$200,000

    Utilization: US$200,000

    Grant agent: UNICEF

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