COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$7 million

Years: 2020-2021

Grant agent: UNICEF

Key document:

The US$7 million COVID-19 grant supports:

  • awareness campaigns on COVID-19 prevention and mitigation measures
  • self-learning materials to students
  • customized radio programs for children of pre-primary, primary and lower secondary levels
  • WASH and safety/hygiene facilities, and menstrual hygiene management support for girls
  • school building disinfection
  • guidelines, policies and safety measures to reopen schools
  • back-to-school campaign to encourage students to return to school

In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in South Sudan received a GPE grant of US$70,000 to support the Ministry of Education in planning its response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Education in South Sudan

South Sudan’s education system is characterized as a low investment, low capacity, but high demand system. The state building and peace building efforts of the national plans put high demand on the education system to expand fast, reduce inequity, and provide appropriate teaching. But public expenditure is one of the world’s lowest for education.

The basics of the sector administration and management are rudimentary, which started to develop, along with the rest of the civil service in the country, only after the 2005 Peace Agreement. But capacity building efforts of the government have been interrupted by conflict.

The General Education Sector Plan (GESP) 2017-2022, titled 'Planning for Safety, Resilience and Social Cohesion', is an effort to contain this stress on the system, and to give the sector a direction towards stability based on data, evidence and financing outlays.

The first two years of the GESP are framed as a transitional plan that is expected to rapidly increase enrollment along with building new infrastructure, supplying basic teaching and learning materials, regularizing teacher salary and training teachers to cope with the increased enrollment.

The following three years of the GESP are focused on institutionalizing teacher training, school supervision, and expansion of secondary and technical education.

The education system in the country consists of 8,000 primary schools (grades 1-8), 120 secondary schools (grades 9-12) and one university. There is only one functional teacher training college in the country to meet the demand for training teachers.

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Students from a government school on the outskirts of Juba. South Sudan. May 2013.

Students from a government school on the outskirts of Juba. South Sudan. May 2013.

CREDIT: GPE/David K. Bridges
Development objective: ensure an increased equitable access to quality education
Allocation: US$35,700,000
Years: 2019-2023
Grant agent: UNICEF
Disbursements: US$7,512,794

The GPE II program financed by the US$35.7 million grant, is designed to ensure that by the end of 2021, the number of boys and girls who are
out of school in target areas decreases by 15%, while ensuring an increased equitable access to quality education through working closely with other programs.

The program has three components to improve equitable access, education quality and system efficiency.

  • Equitable access: support schools and communities to bring out of school children back to school. Mapping of out of school children, construction and rehabilitation of 2000 learning spaces, community mobilization, and advocacy for enrolling girls are the key activities. The mapping will be complemented by a school infrastructure audit conducted under the Accelerated Funding program and will give a complete picture of where more learning spaces are required to increase enrolment. A set of criteria has been framed to select school construction sites.
  • Quality education: improve the quality of education by creating and supporting an ecosystem of new textbooks, trained teachers, classroom inspection, teacher performance feedback, and learning assessment. Teacher and head-teacher training, built upon the successful intervention of the previous grant, will be aligned to the new curriculum and textbooks. A group of master-trainers will be developed to train teachers and head teachers. Classroom observation tools will be refined, and inspectors will be trained for classroom observation and performance feedback.
  • Systems efficiency: strengthen education data management, resource planning, expenditure tracking, and coordination among stakeholders. A new methodology for education data management has been created for South Sudan that considers data from the EMIS, Education Cluster Assessments, South Sudan Student Attendance Monitoring System, and Education Human Resource Management System. Annual reports will be published for discussion at the General Education Annual Review. Public Expenditure Tracking and Review studies are planned under this outcome with an expectation to assess gaps in government spending patterns and processes. Findings from these studies will form the basis of more targeted  government spending to improve equity and quality of basic education in the country. These studies will also inform financial management strengthening plans of the ministry.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
COVID-19 2020-2021 7,000,000 1,770,321 UNICEF  
Accelerated funding 2018-2019 6,000,000 0 UNICEF  
Program implementation 2019-2023 41,700,000 10,774,022 UNICEF  
2013-2018 35,981,617 35,989,377 UNICEF Progress report
Sector plan development 2015-2017 464,971 467,079 UNESCO  
Program development 2020-2021 100,000 0 UNICEF  
2018 71,165 71,165 UNICEF  
  Total 91,317,753 49,071,964    
Data last updated: April 13, 2021

GPE has also provided South Sudan National Education Coalition (SSNEC) with a grant from the Civil Society Education Fund, 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 South Sudan, 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 21, 2020