COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$15 million

Years: 2020-2021

Grant agent: UNICEF

Key documents:

The US$15 million COVID-19 grant supports:

  • 16 states, representing 63% of schools and nearly 70% of children enrolled in school. The Federal Ministry of Education has developed a COVID-19 Education Sector Strategic Framework available on its online portal, enabling states to adapt materials and develop specific response strategies
  • access to diverse remote learning programs appropriate for each context, through state-level radio and television-based education programs, printed take-home activity books, worksheets and assessment cards
  • safe school operations with psychosocial support, access to children with special needs, provisioning WASH and hygiene supply to schools, back-to-school campaigns
  • enhanced systemic capacity and preparedness and resilience to future shocks through capacity building at the state level
  • prioritization of children from the most marginalized groups for the distribution of take-home materials and ICT equipment. They include migrant families, children from refugee communities, Almajiris and IDP camps, children living in poverty and children with special needs
  • strong emphasis on social behavioral mobilization, including sensitization on gender-based violence for girls.

These initiatives are based on the Ministry of Education’s COVID-19 response plan.

In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in Nigeria received a GPE grant of US$140,000 to support the Ministry of Education with preparing a COVID-19 education strategic framework on continuity of learning. An “opening better” school initiative was developed and implemented to mitigate the impact the pandemic on the education and well-being of children.

The funding supports:

  • An online digital platform
  • Strengthening states radio and television education programs
  • Printed take-home materials for students: activity books, worksheets and assessment cards.

The fund helps provide psychosocial support to children and teachers, provision wash and hygiene supplies to schools, and prepare a comprehensive back-to-school campaign and social mobilization to initiate safe school reopening. Efforts are underway to establish a remote monitoring system to measure the progress in learning and effectiveness of the education delivery system.

Education in Nigeria

Nigeria is the largest country in Africa in terms of population and has approximately 20% of the total out–of-school children population in the world. Adding to this challenge is the demographic pressure with about 11,000 newborns every day that overburdens the system capacity to deliver quality education.

In the Northern part of Nigeria, almost two-thirds of students are functionally illiterate.

The states of Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, and Sokoto have shown commitment to improving their education systems, but they face severe challenges including high poverty levels, low enrollment, gender disparities, poor quality and relevance, poor infrastructure and learning conditions.

An additional challenge is the direct threat to schooling, especially for girls, emanating from political insecurity through insurgent activities, and attacks on schools.

Each state created an education sector plan to outline its priorities and objectives.


The Education Sector Strategic Plan highlights four policy objectives:

  1. Improving access and expanding opportunities.
  2. Ensuring quality and relevance of education provision.
  3. Improving educational planning and management.
  4. Ensuring sustainable funding and improved financial management.

The education sector plan also establishes 17 clear initiatives to support these policy objectives, including establishing free education for girls at all levels and free education for all people with special needs.


The Education Strategic Plan 2006-2015 focuses on:

  1. Providing access to good quality schooling to all children of school age, attaining gender parity, and a student-teacher ratio of 40:1 per class.
  2. Raising the quality of education to ensure that students acquire permanent literacy, numeracy, life skills, and cognitive capacity.
  3. Bettering performance in both school and public examinations ensuring better progression rates and higher completion rates for all students.
  4. Improving planning and management of educational services and institutions to ensure effective delivery of education.
  5. Ensuring accountability to all stakeholders including communities, civil society organizations, and the private sector.


The Education Strategic Plan details numerous targets revolving around 5 main areas:

  1. Ensuring equitable access to basic education through addressing both supply and demand factors.
  2. Improving educational quality through reducing class sizes, increasing the availability of instructional materials, and improving teacher quality.
  3. Expanding technical and vocational opportunities relevant to the needs of industry and local communities.
  4. Gradually increasing education financing and introducing school grants to support school development.
  5. Ensuring that all schools have school development plans, school-based committees, and boards of governors to improve school governance.


The Education Sector Strategic Plan emphasizes strategic policy objectives and interventions that address 5 major challenges in its education system :

  1. Inadequate coverage and an unsatisfactory level of access
  2. Poor quality and relevance
  3. Infrastructural insufficiency and decay
  4. Inefficient management and system inefficiency
  5. Non-sustainable funding and adequate resourcing.

The strategic interventions include increasing community participation, increasing advocacy and sensitization, improving teachers’ welfare packages, and providing teachers with re-training.


The Strategic Education Sector Plan prioritizes 4 policy goals :

  1. Improving the learning performance of pre-school children in 23 local government areas.
  2. Contributing to improvement in net primary school, enrollment, retention, and educational attainment.
  3. Providing basic education, vocational, and life skills for out of school children and women through non-formal education.
  4. Increasing enrollment and retention of children.

The sector plan also specifies four key areas of intervention including constructing schools, purchasing essential learning materials, providing equipment and machineries, and capacity building.

Blogs and news

Latest grant

Overcrowded classrooms and broken infrastructure at Janbulo Islamiyya Primary School, Roni, Jigawa State, Nigeria

Overcrowded classrooms and broken infrastructure at Janbulo Islamiyya Primary School, Roni, Jigawa State, Nigeria

CREDIT: GPE/Kelley Lynch
Development objective: Improve formal and non-formal access to education, learning outcomes and continuity of learning for conflict-affected children in safe, healthy and protective environments in North-East Nigeria.
Allocation: US$20,000,000
Years: 2020-2022
Grant agent: UNICEF
Utilization: US$128,081

The program supported by the US$20 million grant serves as a bridge that links education in emergencies with recovery and development activities.

The program targets Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states, focusing on girls, internally displaced children, teachers, school-based management committees members as well as host and marginalized communities who are suffering from lack of access to education.

The program has 4 components:

  1. Support conflict-affected children and children from displaced communities to increase access to education and child protection services in safe and protective learning environments by:
    • building 100 temporary learning spaces
    • constructing/rehabilitating 100 schools, including gender-responsive WASH facilities
    • building additional gender-responsive WASH facilities in host schools
    • promoting inclusive and gender-responsive enrollments in 18 local government areas across 3 states
    • providing educational materials to 500,000 children
    • promoting mental health and psychosocial support to 100,000 conflict-affected children including girls
    • sensitizing 500 community members and local leaders on child rights to prevent child right violations
    • facilitating access for community-based case management for 500 children considered to be the most vulnerable.
  2. Improve the role of the government in education in emergencies leadership and coordination, budgeting, planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting in the BAY states.
  3. Equip the education system in the BAY states with robust and transparent teacher preparation and recruitment system to facilitate acquisition of grade appropriate learning and transferable skills among conflict affected children by:
    • establishing a teacher recruitment system
    • supporting 28,000 untrained teachers in acquiring a certification
    • providing continuous professional development and mentoring for teachers to support Teaching at the Right Level to benefit 100,000 children
    • establishing a robust learning assessment system
    • promoting life skills to 100,000 conflict-affected children, including girls.
  1. Strengthen school governance to support education for conflict-affected and IDP children through:
    • establishing and developing capacities of 300 school-based management committees on gender equity and gender-based violence, inclusive education especially for disabled children to improve attendance, as well as on transition and continuing education and their roles and responsibilities
    • development and implementation of 300 school improvement plans
    • supporting 18 local authorities in BAY states with conflict sensitive local education sector and operational plans.

The program targets public schools run by the State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs), State-ministries of education (SMoEs) and the Ministry of Religious Affairs.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Utilization Grant agent  
Program development 2021-2022 200,000 0 IsDB  
Accelerated funding 2020-2022 20,000,000 622,294 UNICEF  
COVID-19 2020-2021 15,000,000 1,701,626 UNICEF  
Program implementation 2021 123,800,000 0 WB  
2015-2020 100,000,000 99,968,667 WB Progress report
Sector plan development 2019-2020 418,000 418,000 WB  
2019-2020 401,667 401,667 WB  
2013 232,961 232,961 WB  
Program development 2020-2021 400,000 248,629 WB  
2013-2014 476,992 476,992 WB  
2014 78,492 78,492 WB  
  Total 261,008,112 104,149,328    
Data last updated: July 27, 2021

As part of its investment in civil society advocacy and social accountability efforts, GPE’s Education Out Loud fund is supporting the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA) 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 Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA) 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 Nigeria, 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 May 27, 2021