Sierra Leone

Sharing borders with three other countries and the West African littoral, Sierra Leone was, historically, a transit point in the Transatlantic slave trade for African captives. In 1787, British abolitionists and philanthropists established a settlement known as ‘Freetown’ for repatriated and rescued Africans, which eventually would become the nation’s capital. A brutal civil war beginning in 1991 and a series of military coups thereafter rattled Sierra Leone, as well as neighbouring countries, and did not permit the return of peace and stability until 2002. Since the war’s conclusion the country has made economic strides and the government has worked to suppress illicit trafficking in diamonds and minerals, which Sierra Leone has in abundance and fuelled the conflict.

Sierra Leone
source(s): UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/14

Main Barriers to Education

  • Poverty
  • Lack of Schools & Sanitation Facilities
  • Lack of Inclusive Educational  Settings
  • Discrimination

Interventions to barriers

  • Teacher Training
  • MOE Capacity Building
  • Policy Advocacy
  • Community Engagement

As a central tenet of the country’s development agenda, the Government of Sierra Leone (GOSL) has recognised the importance of education, through which it aims to provide opportunities for children and adults to acquire skills, values and attitudes beneficial to the nation. To that end, the GOSL has articulated an education sector plan 2014-18, specifically prioritising universal primary education, school infrastructure, the reduction of school costs and the support for needy families.

Notwithstanding the GOSL’s commitment to reform, the country’s education system is still plagued with challenges. For instance, as of 2013 only about 60 per cent of in-service primary school teachers had been trained, rates of primary school completion have started to fall, particularly for girls and classrooms are often overcrowded. Moreover, although public expenditure on education overall has risen since 2013, the share of spending on primary-level education has been declining. Also, Sierra Leone’s recent bouts with Ebola complicated the implementation of various development initiatives generally, and those with respect to education in particular. 

In support of some of the country’s most marginalised OOSC, EAC has partnered with Handicap International (HI) to increase access to quality primary education. This partner project seeks to cultivate inclusive education settings that respond to the needs of all children, particularly those with disabilities, by establishing multi-sector care and bridge mechanisms within mainstream schools. In addition, HI will train relevant MOE staff on the design/implementation of inclusive education for systemic impact.

Geographic Location: West Africa

Languages: English (official), Krio, Mende, Temne


Year added: 


Towards a Universal Access for Vulnerable Girls and Boys to a Quality Primary Education

Towards a Universal Access for Vulnerable Girls and Boys to a Quality Primary Education

Successfully Completed Project

In developing countries, disability tends to be linked with poverty and hinders access to education. It is estimated that 90 per cent of children with disabilities (CwDs) are not schooled. According to UNICEF reporting being identified as disabled has a significant influence on the likelihood of education exclusion in West and Central Africa.


Humanity & Inclusion

In partnership with EAC, Humanity & Inclusion, formerly known as Handicap International, aims to reach more than 28,000 out of school children (OOSC) of primary age with disabilities across ten sub-Saharan African countries.