COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$3.5 million

Years: 2020-2021

Grant agent: World Bank

Key documents:

The US$3.5 million grant supports:

  • radio, mobile and television educational programming
  • providing educational packets with a priority for the most vulnerable communities
  • training teachers to deliver education content across distance learning platforms
  • providing specialized support to children with disabilities through phone check-ins, remote psychosocial support and relevant materials (braille)
  • an online platform to serve as a repository for all learning materials
  • internet routers and radios for schools
  • school meals for families with school children
  • clean schools and refurbished health facilities
  • an accelerated learning program so students can catch up, including psychosocial support to students and teachers
  • a public awareness campaign that promotes good hygiene and handwashing in school, including critical messaging around health, safety and learning both during the COVID-19 crisis and after when children return to school.

The initiatives above are based on the Ministry of Education COVID-19 response plan.

In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in the Gambia received a GPE grant of US$70,000 to support the Ministry of Education with its COVID response.

The funds were used to equip schools with minimum hygiene packages, to support the recording and delivery of distance learning programs through radio and TV for home-based learning, and to provide distance learning materials to schools.

Education in The Gambia

Over the past 15 years the ministry of basic and secondary education has focused on improving access, equity, quality and relevance, and improved sector management. Thanks to these efforts, more children go to school, education infrastructure has improved, teacher supply has increased, and teachers have been better supported through content and pedagogical training. 

While the country made considerable progress in the earlier part of the decade, for the last 5 years, key education indicators have stagnated, and the system faces several challenges related to access, equity, learning outcomes and efficiency.

The Education Sector Strategic Plan 2016-2030 represents a crucial step in articulating the country’s priorities and educational vision, covering all education sub-sectors, from early-childhood to higher education, and including specific strategies to improve equity, efficiency and learning outcomes.

The plan, appraised in August 2017, was endorsed by the local education group in November 2017.

Latest blogs and news

March 01, 2019
The Gambia launched education improvement project
Thanks to US$35 million in grants from the World Bank and GPE, The Gambia launched its Education Sector Support Program to promote early childhood development, and boost access to basic education and...

Latest grant

A girl in The Gambia.

A girl in The Gambia.

CREDIT: Allan Hopkins
Development objective: Increase access to early childhood development and basic education and improve quality of teaching and learning.
Allocation: US$5,300,000
Years: 2018-2022
Grant agent: WB
Disbursements: US$5,000,000

The education sector support program (ESSP), supported in part by a US$5.3 million GPE grant, aims to increase access to early childhood and basic education. This is achieved by improving school infrastructure, offering second-chance programs and conditional cash transfers, and providing quality improvement interventions such as a curriculum reform, textbook distribution, teacher standards development and training, and strengthening EMIS and monitoring of learning outcomes. The program has three components.

The goal of component 1 is to enhance access to early childhood and basic education by constructing early childhood and lower and upper basic education classrooms; establishing a small fund for special needs modifications; offering transportation to schools in targeted communities; introducing a targeted incentive program in select districts; expanding support to koranic schools; piloting a second chance education program; and conducting sensitization campaigns and consultations.

Component 2 aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning by the sequenced revision of the curriculum for early childhood through Grade 9 with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and English, the development of a coherent strategy framework for teacher training and management to improve teacher effectiveness, as well as through the targeted support to recruitment and deployment efforts.

The goal of component 3 is to provide technical and institutional support by enhancing the system for continuous implementation of assessment of learning outcomes, strengthening data systems, funding of a service delivery indicators exercise, and enhancing capacity to support data driven policies at the national level.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
COVID-19 2020-2021 3,500,000 0 WB  
Program implementation 2018-2022 5,300,000 5,000,000 WB Progress report
2014-2018 6,897,233 6,897,233 WB Completion report
2009-2013 27,998,912 27,998,912 WB Completion report
2006-2008 9,400,000 9,400,000 WB  
2004-2005 4,000,000 4,000,000 WB  
Sector plan development 2020-2023 600,000 0 WB  
2016-2018 320,732 320,732 WB  
2012-2014 249,717 249,717 WB  
Program development 2020-2021 100,000 0 WB  
2017-2018 199,800 199,800 WB  
2013-2014 195,341 195,341 WB  
  Total 58,761,735 54,261,735    
Data last updated: March 15, 2021

GPE has also provided the Education for All Campaign Network, The Gambia (EFANet) 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 The Gambia, 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 June 12, 2020