COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$15 million

Years: 2020-2022

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

October 11, 2022
Accelerated learning: the key to COVID catch-up?
The pandemic has left the most vulnerable and marginalized even further off track when it comes to access to quality education. The need to think flexibly and embrace alternative teaching and learning...

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: Increase equitable access for out-of-school children and improve literacy in focus states, and strengthen accountability for results in basic education.
Allocation: US$125,000,000
Years: 2022-2026
Grant agent: WB
Utilization: US$5,000,000

The program funded by the US$125 million grant is called Transforming education at state level. The program targets the three states of Oyo, Adamawa and Katsina and is an additional financing to BESDA (the parent program), which is being implemented since 2018.

Fixed part

The fixed part of the grant focuses on providing technical capacity to the 3 states including:

  • Policy development such as developing action plans for improved access to education for children with disabilities and for financially supporting vulnerable and poor children.
  • Delivery of the disbursement-linked indicators (Infrastructure budget targeted at underserved communities and schools, teachers practicing effective teaching, improved teacher deployment and improved transparency of education spending).
  • Strengthening digital data collection and management.
  • Program management.

Results-based part

This part of the grant focuses on the following components:

  • The equity strategy seeks to address disparities in access to primary and junior secondary schools and the low transition to junior secondary.
  • The learning strategy incentivizes improvements in teachers’ capacity to teach core subjects effectively by building a system for a structured pedagogy program based on digital technology.
  • The efficiency strategy focuses on improving teacher deployment and transparency of education spending.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Utilization Grant agent  
Multiplier 2022 13,350,000 0 IsDB  
Program development 2021-2022 200,000 200,000 IsDB  
Accelerated funding 2020-2023 20,000,000 4,492,955 UNICEF  
COVID-19 2020-2022 15,000,000 14,802,688 UNICEF  
Program implementation 2022-2026 125,000,000 5,000,000 WB  
2015-2020 100,000,000 99,968,667 WB Progress report
Sector plan development 2019-2020 401,667 401,667 WB  
2019-2020 418,000 418,000 WB  
2013 232,961 232,961 WB  
Program development 2020-2021 400,000 395,153 WB  
2013-2014 476,992 476,992 WB  
2014 78,492 78,492 WB  
  Total 275,558,112 126,467,575    
Data last updated: May 26, 2023

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.

Last updated September 10, 2021