Education in Sierra Leone
The government of Sierra Leone recognizes the impact of education on human development and aims to provide opportunities for children and adult to acquire the skills, values, and attitudes that benefit the nation.
The education sector plan 2014-2018 outlines the following strategic objectives and interventions:
- Ensure that all children enter school and complete primary education through:
- Constructing additional classrooms to accommodate projected demand in communities.
- Organizing campaigns and reducing the cost of schooling to parents and households to encourage parents to send children to school.
- Providing targeted support program for needy families.
- Providing support for extra-curricular activities and accelerated primary education for older children and youth aged 10-15.
- Increase access to pre-school for children aged 3-5 through developing and piloting a cost-effective community-based pre-school model.
- Increase the completion level and equitable access to junior secondary schools through providing additional teachers, expanding tuition support program for girls, and reducing the cost of education for the most vulnerable families.
- Increase equitable access to senior secondary schools through constructing additional classrooms to accommodate projected demand and providing additional qualified teachers.
- Increase equitable access to technical and vocational schools through:
- Supporting public-private partnerships to operationalize centers across the country.
- Training teachers and instructors.
- Finalizing and implementing a technical vocational education and training policy.
- Increase equitable access to higher education institutions through:
- Constructing new facilities and upgrading existing ones to accommodate projected demand.
- Expanding access to higher education and skills training through information and communication technologies.
- Providing better financial support to neediest students and continue to grant support for females in science, technology, and mathematics, and students with disabilities.
- Developing a strategy to consolidate policies for addressing equitable growth and quality improvements.
- Improve the literacy rate for youth and adults through:
- Launching a national campaign for literacy.
- Training and providing improved incentives for literacy facilitators and teachers.
- Establishing more and better-resourced non-formal basic skills training centers.
- Improve learning environments through:
- Rehabilitating and constructing existing classrooms, providing adequate furniture, and increasing access to potable water and sanitation facilities to ensure a safe learning environment.
- Providing learning materials for students, teacher support and materials, and updated textbooks.
- Providing teacher support and materials.
- Revise the curricula and student assessment.
- Improve students’ acquisition of basic skills of reading and numeracy through:
- Developing a national reading program for children in grades 1-3.
- Training teachers on reading instruction.
- Assessing children’s reading and numeracy skills in primary schools and provide remedial interventions.
- Improve the quality of teachers through providing support for pre-service and in-service education at all levels.
- Equitably deploy teachers nationwide through incentivizing trained teachers, approving community schools, and establishing literacy centers in underserved areas.
The education sector plan also details several strategic objectives related to system strengthening. These involve effective systems for teacher recruitment and deployment, improving strategic and operational planning and service delivery, and capacity building.
All amounts are in US dollars.
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 (%)
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 Sierra Leone
The GPE grant of US$17.9 million was awarded in 2014 to support Sierra Leone in implementing its education sector plan. Additional financing from DFID (US$5.5 million) was also integrated in the overall GPE-funded project. The overall objective of the program is to improve the learning environment in targeted schools and to establish systems for monitoring overall education outcomes.
The four components of the grant are:
- Improve the learning environment and opportunities in targeted areas through performance-based school grants, piloting approaches to increase school readiness, and strengthening reading outcomes in the early grades and improvements in teacher management.
- Strengthen education service delivery through building a better system for measuring learning outcomes, supporting consistent school data collection and establishing a system for effective delivery on the Education Sector Strategy.
- Support project management and supervision.
- Support the implementation of the Ebola response Plan through emergency radio and television programs and establishing safe and secure learning environments.
The Ebola crisis has significantly impeded the progress of Sierra Leone’s education sector. An amount of US$1.45 million originally unallocated was used for Ebola-related activities.
Despite the delay, the GPE financing has contributed to the following results:
- 5,970 schools were disinfected and received hand-washing stations and supplies
- 36,000 handwashing stations were distributed to schools
- 600 hours of Ebola emergency radio programs were broadcast
- 1,350 schools received grants, and their school management committees received training
- 50 preprimary classrooms have been established, including latrines, and the early childhood policy, curriculum and minimum standards have been validated
- 8,100 schools were reopened
- 14 districts benefitted from a social mobilization campaign
- 2.2 million supplementary readers and 40,000 teacher guides have been delivered to districts
- A pilot learning assessment for grades 4 and 5 was carried out in 5 localities.