Transforming education in Sierra Leone

In 2018, Sierra Leone set out to transform its education system by raising access and quality across all levels of schooling. Reforms have led to significant improvements, but early grade reading and mathematics assessments in 2014 and 2021 show that most students are not achieving foundational level literacy and numeracy.

The government is prioritizing foundations of learning for all to ensure that students learn to read fluently with comprehension, acquire fundamental mathematics competencies, and develop resilient socio-emotional skills.

With GPE support, Sierra Leone and partners are expanding access to pre-primary education, ensuring more students are ready to learn when they enter primary school. Clearly defined learning outcomes for grades 1-4 lay the basis for new teaching and learning materials and formative early-grade assessment tools.

The government is also investing in teachers with an aim to train, recruit, retain and support excellent pre-primary and primary educators. Reform efforts emphasize reducing gender and other disparities in access and outcomes so that all children acquire the foundational skills needed to progress through the education system.

Result story

Sierra Leone: The power of great teaching in times of crisis

  • During the Ebola crisis, the best teachers presented educational programs on radio, with more than 80,000 portable radio sets distributed across the country, ensuring that thousands of children continued their learning despite school closures.
  • GPE was the main funder to establish and operationalize Sierra Leone’s Teacher Service Commission (TSC), which implemented teacher standards, innovative training, and ambitious targets for teaching and institutional performance.
  • During COVID-19, the TSC drew on experience from the Ebola crisis by launching an educational radio program within one week of school closures.


(data as of June 20, 2024)

  • Type: System transformation and Multiplier

    Years: 2023 - 2027

    Allocation: US$42,321,794

    Utilization: US$285,370

    Grant agent: UNICEF

  • Type: System capacity

    Years: 2023 - 2027

    Allocation: US$2,600,000

    Utilization: 0

    Grant agent: UNICEF

  • Type: Sector plan development

    Years: 2021 - 2024

    Allocation: US$450,000

    Utilization: US$271,277

    Grant agent: UNICEF

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 Education For All Sierra Leone Coalition (EFA-SL) for the 2020-2023 period. This builds on previous support from the Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF).

Learn more

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