The Board of Directors of the Global Partnership for Education approved a grant of US$2.1 million for Lesotho to help the country implement its 2016-2025 Education Sector Plan. The grant will run...
Travel the world learning about education in developing countries and find out if you're among the ranks of world travelers or homebodies.
Thanks to GPE and other partners’ funding, 11,158 teachers and principals were trained to teach the new curriculum in Lesotho as of 2015.

Education in Lesotho

Lesotho has made significant progress in its efforts towards Education for All by introducing Free Primary Education from 2000 through 2006, which was then reinforced to Free and Compulsory Primary Education by law in 2010. The net enrollment ratio in lower basic education increased from 82% to 95% between 2000 and 2010, and the gross enrollment ratio in grade 1 was 98% in 2014. Furthermore, the government engages in tangible efforts towards financing its system.

The education sector is allocated 23.3% of the government’s recurrent budget on average, which corresponds to 9.2% of the national GDP. Still, a diagnostic study conducted in 2015 highlighted that the education sector faces major challenges including:

  • Poor retention rates at primary and secondary levels,
  • Low student learning outcomes/achievements,
  • Graduate with inadequate skills for the job market,
  • High inefficiency in the system,
  • HIV and AIDS, and
  • Poor school governance.

In addition to these, the sector lacks adequate facilities and displays disparities across districts. For instance, mountainous districts experience difficulties to attract and retain teachers and show poorer performance compared to lowland districts.

To address these challenges, Lesotho has set strategic objectives in its Education Sector Strategic Plan for 2016-2026, which are to:

  1. Reform the national curriculum and assessment system to meet the needs of Lesotho.
  2. Improve access to comprehensive early childhood care and development, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
  3. Increase access to quality free and compulsory Lower Basic Education.
  4. Increase access to quality Secondary Education.
  5. Increase access to Technical and Vocational Education. 
  6. Improve relevance of   programs offered at Higher Learning Institutions.
  7. Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Non-Formal Education delivery
  8. Curb the spread of HIV and AIDS among sector employees, teachers and learners by 2025
  9. Improve strategic information, planning and accountability at all levels of the sector.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent
Program implementation 2017-2020 2,100,000 - IBRD
2010-2015 19,593,431 19,593,431 IBRD
2006-2010 11,671,512 11,671,512 IBRD
Sector plan development 2014 230,000 223,507 UNICEF
Program development 2016 250,000 30,954 IBRD
  TOTAL 33,844,943 31,519,404  


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.


Primary Gross Enrollment Rate (%)

Primary Completion Rate (%)

Lower Secondary Completion Rate (%)

Out-of-school Children Rate (%)

Domestic Financing

Public Expenditure on Education as Share of GDP (%)

Public Expenditure on Education as a Share of Public Expenditure (%)

Public Expenditure on Primary as a Share of Total Education Expenditure (%)


Student/Trained teacher ratio

Teachers Trained (%)

GPE in Lesotho

The latest GPE-funded program in Lesotho was completed in April 2015. The project objective was to provide improved facilities at existing primary schools, support and contribute to expand access to pre-primary education, and support improvements in teaching quality.

The three components of the grant were:

  1. Improve the quality of primary school infrastructure through providing additional fully furnished primary gender and disability friendly classrooms, and toilet blocks.
  2. Support and contribute to the expansion of pre-primary education through procuring caregivers, learning materials, catering services, and additional reception classes.
  3. Contribute to improvements in quality of teaching through analyzing conditions of education service delivery, increasing the qualification level of the teaching force, providing additional in-service teacher training, and distributing textbooks.

The Ministry of Education and Training led the program with the World Bank as grant agent and UNICEF as coordinating agency.

Source : Education for All (EFA) Fast Track Initiative Catalytic Fund Grant Project.


The GPE funding contributed to progress in the education sector through the following outcomes:

  • 3,682 additional students enrolled in classes supported by the program
  • 143 classrooms at the primary level built, rehabilitated, and furnished, and 3 toilet blocks constructed.
  • Student-teacher ratio in primary schools reduced from 59:1 to 45:1.
  • 380 additional qualified primary teachers and 11,158 teachers and principals trained in the new curriculum
  • 1.1 million textbooks purchased and 928,276 textbooks distributed.

Source: World Bank Implementation Completion Status Report - October 2015

Last updated September 12, 2017