COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$750,000

Years: 2020-2021

Grant agent: UNICEF

Key documents:

The US$750,000 COVID-19 grant supports:

  • Distance learning through TV and radio programs, using national and local stations, and an online learning platform
  • Printed learning materials and purchasing of solar radios for vulnerable children
  • Basic school supplies (backpacks, pencil books, etc.) for vulnerable children to mitigate financial barriers for families and reduce student dropouts
  • Food baskets for disadvantaged families during school closure and purchasing teaching and recreational material for children with disabilities after schools reopen
  • Activities to encourage the return to school, mainly through access to WASH facilities and the development of communication materials to raise public awareness of COVID-19 involving students, parents and the community
  • Learning assessments, remedial classes, and educational radio for out-of-school children
  • Girls through a gender violence awareness campaign and distribution of hygiene kits.

In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in Sao Tome and Principe received a GPE grant of US$70,000 to support the Ministry of Education with developing a national response plan. The grant was also used to support the education crisis team.

Education in Sao Tome and Principe

The government of Sao Tome and Principe developed an education sector plan, as well as an Educational Policy Charter 2012-2020 outlining priorities and strategies for the education sector. The final objective of the government is to provide 12 years of free, quality education to all children in the country, as well as offer higher and technical education opportunities.

Although the country has achieved universal primary education, the system faces challenges with respect to efficiency, quality and governance. About 60% of primary education teachers are unqualified.

To achieve these objectives the plan outlines strategies to:

  • Ensure, in a gradual and sustainable manner, universal access to 12 years of free, quality education.
  • Develop quality technical and vocational secondary and higher education offerings.
  • Develop the offer of quality higher education, integrated and adapted to the needs of the labor market.
  • Implement a training and high-level training policy for teachers and other education officials to address the quality and efficiency challenges within the education system.
  • Develop the institutional capacity of the ministry of education to ensure an effective management of education sector, in particular through the development of an Education Management Information System (EMIS).

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Young people from Sao Tome and Principe

Young people from Sao Tome and Principe

CREDIT: Helena Van Eykeren/Flickr
Development objective: Improve the system of in-service teacher training and strengthen the management of human resources in the education sector
Allocation: US$2,500,000
Years: 2020
Grant agent: World Bank
Disbursements: US$0

The GPE program implementation grant is encompassed in a broader program supervised by the World Bank, which aimed at improving the quality of education in Sao Tome and Principe. The primary focus of the “Quality Education for All Project - Phase 2” program was improving teaching, one of the most important determinants of learning quality.

In coherence with the key priority areas of GPE, the project had two components, each with respective subcomponents:

  1. Improving the system of in-service teacher training in primary education through:
    • The development of quality assurance scheme to allow for better planning, coordination and implementation of in-service training activities
    • A system of learning assessment to allow for systematic measurement of learning outcomes of students of primary education in order to regularly provide feedback on critical areas of teacher training that need improvements.
  1. Strengthening management of human resources in the education sector through the development of an EMIS
    • The project financed technical assistance for the development of the system, purchase of equipment, training of ministry staff on the use of the system, as well as the development of a ministry website.
    • Inspection services reactivated to provide close supervision and school-based support.
    • Costs associated with the management of the project to be financed by the grant.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
COVID-19 2020 750,000 0 UNICEF  
Program implementation 2020 2,500,000 0 World Bank  
2014-2017 1,080,363 1,080,363 World Bank Completion report
2009-2011 3,600,000 3,600,000 World Bank Progress report
Sector plan development 2017-2019 486,600 0 World Bank  
Program development 2019-2020 200,000 54,198 World Bank  
2013-2014 195,168 195,168 World Bank  
  Total 8,812,131 4,929,729    
Data last updated: July 27, 2020

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Sao Tome and Principe, 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 – Primary and lower secondary

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 20, 2020