Publication: Ensuring the Adequacy of Education Finance through Domestic Resource Mobilization: The Case of Sierra Leone

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World Bank
Historically, education expenditure in Sierra Leone has been insufficient to provide quality education to all school-age children. Although real government expenditure on education increased on average by 11 percent per year between 2008 and 2014, this increase was barely adequate to keep up with rapidly expanding enrollment figures, with the total number of students enrolled in primary and secondary education rising from 709,875 to 1,809,563 between 2001 and 2015 (UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), 2023a; UIS, 2023b). In 2012, per-student expenditure on primary education was 5.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, compared to an average of 11.1 percent in sub-Saharan Africa (UIS, 2023c). The education system in Sierra Leone is divided into pre-primary education (three years, starting at age three), primary education (six years, starting at age six), junior secondary education (three years, starting at age 12), senior secondary education, and higher education. Primary and junior secondary education together comprise basic education, which is compulsory for all children. Transitioning from one level to another is typically based on performance in national level examinations. Starting at the secondary level, students can follow either a general academic program or opt for one of the technical and vocational education and training programs. There are three categories of schools: (a) government schools that are funded and managed by the government; (b) government-assisted schools that receive financial assistance from the government but are owned by non-government organizations such as missions or a community; and (c) private schools that are privately owned, funded, and managed without financial assistance from the government.
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World Bank. 2023. Ensuring the Adequacy of Education Finance through Domestic Resource Mobilization: The Case of Sierra Leone. Case Studies of Successful Reforms to Address the Challenges of Financing Education Systems Effectively; June 2023. © Washington, DC. License: CC BY-NC 3.0 IGO.
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