COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$750,000

Years: 2020-2021

Grant agent: UNICEF

Key documents:

The US$750,000 COVID-19 grant supports:

  • Distance learning through TV and radio programs, using national and local stations, and an online learning platform
  • Printed learning materials and purchasing of solar radios for vulnerable children
  • Basic school supplies (backpacks, pencil books, etc.) for vulnerable children to mitigate financial barriers for families and reduce student dropouts
  • Food baskets for disadvantaged families during school closure and purchasing teaching and recreational material for children with disabilities after schools reopen
  • Activities to encourage the return to school, mainly through access to WASH facilities and the development of communication materials to raise public awareness of COVID-19 involving students, parents and the community
  • Learning assessments, remedial classes, and educational radio for out-of-school children
  • Girls through a gender violence awareness campaign and distribution of hygiene kits.

In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in Sao Tome and Principe received a GPE grant of US$70,000 to support the Ministry of Education with developing a national response plan. The grant was also used to support the education crisis team.

Education in Sao Tome and Principe

The government of Sao Tome and Principe developed an education sector plan, as well as an Educational Policy Charter 2012-2020 outlining priorities and strategies for the education sector. The final objective of the government is to provide 12 years of free, quality education to all children in the country, as well as offer higher and technical education opportunities.

Although the country has achieved universal primary education, the system faces challenges with respect to efficiency, quality and governance. About 60% of primary education teachers are unqualified.

To achieve these objectives the plan outlines strategies to:

  • Ensure, in a gradual and sustainable manner, universal access to 12 years of free, quality education.
  • Develop quality technical and vocational secondary and higher education offerings.
  • Develop the offer of quality higher education, integrated and adapted to the needs of the labor market.
  • Implement a training and high-level training policy for teachers and other education officials to address the quality and efficiency challenges within the education system.
  • Develop the institutional capacity of the ministry of education to ensure an effective management of education sector, in particular through the development of an Education Management Information System (EMIS).

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Young people from Sao Tome and Principe

Young people from Sao Tome and Principe

CREDIT: Helena Van Eykeren/Flickr
Development objective: To improve learning and school accountability in basic education and to promote girls’ retention in secondary school
Allocation: US$2,500,000
Years: 2021-2024
Grant agent: WB
Utilization: US$0


The girls’ empowerment and quality education for all program – financed by a US$2.5 million GPE grant and IDA – aims to empower girls and tackle learning poverty by focusing on the 5 components below:

  1. Empowering girls through the acquisition of life skills and safe school environments by imparting life skills and strengthening sexual and reproductive health through the establishment of girls’ and boys’ clubs and conducting community outreach strategies. Additionally, the program will support the sustainable provision of safe and sanitary spaces, water supplies, and menstrual hygiene management in schools.
  2. Tackling learning poverty through the promotion of school readiness in preschool and improving the teaching of literacy and numeracy in grades 1-6, enhancing the teacher management system, and promoting school leadership and accountability.
  3. Reaching the most vulnerable through the provision of targeted support - including remedial education programs and adaptive learning courses – to students at risk of failing and dropping out.
  4. Technical assistance, project coordination, capacity building and monitoring and evaluation by establishing a project coordination unit responsible for managing activities and overseeing implementation.
  5. Continent emergency response to allow for rapid reallocation of funds in the event of a crisis.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Utilization Grant agent  
COVID-19 2020-2021 750,000 111,410 UNICEF  
Program implementation 2021-2024 2,500,000 0 WB  
2014-2017 1,080,363 1,080,363 WB Completion report
2009-2011 3,600,000 3,600,000 WB Progress report
Sector plan development 2017-2019 476,086 476,086 WB  
Program development 2019-2020 200,000 194,273 WB  
2013-2014 195,168 195,168 WB  
  Total 8,801,617 5,657,300    
Data last updated: November 22, 2021

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Sao Tome and Principe, 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 September 10, 2021