A classroom at Maseru Qoaling School, Lesotho (2009). Credit: World Bank / John Hogg

Partner since:

Total grant support: US$50,079,587

Grant eligibility:

  • Multiplier
  • System capacity
  • System transformation

Education Sector Plan

Objective: Provide quality education services to all to ensure that everyone is literate and productive, with grounded moral and ethical values.

Other key documents

Coordinating agency: UNICEF

GPE Team lead: Esohe Joan Eigbike

Transforming education in Lesotho

Lesotho has made significant progress in its efforts towards Education for All by introducing Free Primary Education from 2000 through 2006, which was then reinforced to Free and Compulsory Primary Education by law in 2010.

The net enrollment ratio in lower basic education increased from 82% to 95% between 2000 and 2010, and the gross enrollment ratio in grade 1 was 98% in 2014. Furthermore, the government engages in tangible efforts towards financing its system.

The education sector in Lesotho is allocated 23.3% of the government’s recurrent budget on average, which corresponds to 9.2% of the national GDP. Still, a diagnostic study conducted in 2015 highlighted that the education sector faces major challenges including:

  • Poor retention rates at primary and secondary levels,
  • Low student learning outcomes/achievements,
  • Graduate with inadequate skills for the job market,
  • High inefficiency in the system,
  • HIV and AIDS, and
  • Poor school governance.
  • In addition to these, the sector lacks adequate facilities and displays disparities across districts. For instance, mountainous districts experience difficulties to attract and retain teachers and show poorer performance compared to lowland districts.

To address these challenges, Lesotho has set strategic objectives in its Education Sector Strategic Plan for 2016-2026, which are to:

  • Reform the national curriculum and assessment system to meet the needs of Lesotho.
  • Improve access to comprehensive early childhood care and development, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
  • Increase access to quality free and compulsory Lower Basic Education.
  • Increase access to quality Secondary Education.
  • Increase access to Technical and Vocational Education.
  • Improve relevance of programs offered at Higher Learning Institutions.
  • Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Non-Formal Education delivery
  • Curb the spread of HIV and AIDS among sector employees, teachers and learners by 2025
  • Improve strategic information, planning and accountability at all levels of the sector.

Result story

Advancing inclusive education: making children with disabilities visible in Togo, Lesotho and Vietnam

Despite increasing global attention towards inclusive education, children living with disabilities are still too often left behind. Learn how national education coalitions in Togo, Lesotho and Vietnam work to ensure that children with disabilities are included in education policies and efforts.


(data as of February 22, 2024)

  • Type: Multiplier

    Years: 2024 - 2026

    Allocation: US$2,500,000

    Utilization: 0

    Grant agent: UNICEF

  • Type: System capacity

    Years: 2023 - 2026

    Allocation: US$1,600,000

    Utilization: US$89,083

    Grant agent: UNICEF

  • Type: Program development

    Years: 2023 - 2024

    Allocation: US$264,825

    Utilization: 0

    Grant agent: UNICEF

  • Type: Program implementation

    Years: 2022 - 2025

    Allocation: US$7,500,000

    Utilization: US$2,480,229

    Grant agent: WB

  • Type: Program development

    Years: 2020 - 2021

    Allocation: US$200,000

    Utilization: US$193,609

    Grant agent: WB

  • Type: COVID-19

    Years: 2020 - 2022

    Allocation: US$3,470,000

    Utilization: US$3,470,000

    Grant agent: UNICEF

  • Type: Sector plan development

    Years: 2019 - 2021

    Allocation: US$295,000

    Utilization: US$287,805

    Grant agent: WB

  • Type: Sector plan development

    Years: 2017 - 2019

    Allocation: US$204,819

    Utilization: US$204,819

    Grant agent: WB

  • Type: Program implementation

    Years: 2017 - 2022

    Allocation: US$2,300,000

    Utilization: US$2,006,292

    Grant agent: WB

  • Type: Program development

    Years: 2016 - 2017

    Allocation: US$250,000

    Utilization: US$250,000

    Grant agent: WB

  • Type: Sector plan development

    Years: 2014 - 2016

    Allocation: US$230,000

    Utilization: US$230,000

    Grant agent: UNICEF

  • Type: Program implementation

    Years: 2010 - 2015

    Allocation: US$19,593,431

    Utilization: US$19,593,431

    Grant agent: WB

  • Type: Program implementation

    Years: 2006 - 2010

    Allocation: US$11,671,512

    Utilization: US$11,671,512

    Grant agent: WB

Civil society engagement

As part of its investment in civil society advocacy and social accountability efforts, GPE’s Education Out Loud fund is supporting:

  • The Lesotho Council of NGOs (LCN) for the 2020-2023 period. This builds on previous support from the Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF).
  • The Transnational Networks Advocacy Capacity strengthened for improved ECDE legislation, policies and measures in Southern Africa (TRANAC) led by Zimbabwe Network of Early Childhood Development (ZINECDA) for the 2021-2023 period.

Learn more

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