Sierra Leone is to benefit US$40,000,000 from Global Partnership for Education (2023-2026) after the successful implementation of US$25,955,500 between 2018 and 2022.
The Government of Sierra Leone invests 22% of its budget in education. However, this amount is still not sufficient to deliver on its ambitions for accelerating towards the SDG 4 targets. This is largely due to the huge deficits in quality teachers, school infrastructure, lack of policy, etc, from a sustained lack of prior investments in education. However, with the introduction of the Free Quality School Education Initiative by President Bio’s government in 2018, closing the financing gap towards achieving SDG 4 became a priority. There have been several bilateral and multilateral partnerships focused on various priorities locally and globally.
For Early Childhood Education and Development and Primary Education, the largest investment partner has been the Global Partnership for Education.
Specifically, the following resources have been used to improve curriculum development, construction of ECD centres, teacher training, provision of teaching and learning materials, policy development, COVID-19 response and intervention, etc.
The Education Sector Plan Implementing Grant ($18,404,000) from September 2018 – August 2023: Major outputs of this are the ongoing or completed construction of over 100 ECD centres and the rollout of 1-year pre-primary education. Across at least four districts, every Primary 1 through Primary 3 teacher has been trained.
Education Sector Plan Development Grant ($481,500) from February 2021 – December 2024: The major output of this is the new amazing Transforming Learning for All ESP 2022-2026. Other related outputs include the Education Sector Analyses and Financial Simulation (all materials available on mbsse.gov.sl).
GPE Covid emergency funds ($70,000) from March to September 2020: Some outputs include the SMS/USSD Dictionary App and Radio Teaching Program investment.
GPE Covid-19 Grant ($7,000,000) from 2020 – December 2022: this grant was a response to the crisis. Outputs include a host of policies, school reopening support, teacher training, and the provision of continued and accelerated learning.
Since 2018, Sierra Leone has benefited US$26,000,000 from the GPE through UNICEF and World Bank as Grant Agents.
But even more exciting is that the country has a new commitment of up to US$40,000,000 from GPE and private sector foundations. Sierra Leone has received confirmation of US$22,000,000 from GPE through a new Compact being developed. Sierra Leone is one of the first countries to benefit from this new GPE operating model. In addition, the Qatar Foundation and Lego Foundation have committed US$15,000,000 and US$10,000,000, respectively.
All these investments have come because of direct advocacy by President Bio. These include: Hosting GPE CEO Alice Albright in Sierra Leone in 2018, Meeting Alice Albright at the UN in NYC and Washington in 2019, Participating in Global Education Summit in London in 2020, Visiting Qatar Foundation in 2021 and engaging the private sector in the Pre-Summit in Paris and at UNGA TES.