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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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: IBRD
Disbursements: US$4,933,203

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
2014-2018 6,900,000 6,900,000 IBRD Progress report
2009-2013 27,998,912 27,998,912 IBRD Completion report
2006-2008 9,400,000 9,400,000 IBRD  
2004-2005 4,000,000 4,000,000 IBRD  
Sector plan development 2016 443,362 - IBRD  
2012 250,000 249,717 IBRD  
Program development 2017 199,800 - IBRD  
2013 197,500 195,341 IBRD  
  TOTAL 54,689,574 53,677,173    

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.

Last updated February 06, 2020