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.
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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|
|Program implementation||2018-2022||5,300,000||4,933,203||IBRD||Progress report|
|Sector plan development||2016||443,362||-||IBRD|
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 – 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.