DIFD’s education programmes in Nigeria

DFID’s education programme in Nigeria operates in a very challenging environment, DFID has spent £102 million to date, with a further £126 million committed to 2019.

20 Nov 2012
Amber - Red
Lead commissioner
John Githongo
Related documents
Department for International Development’s education programmes in Nigeria
Terms of Reference - DFID Education programmes in Nigeria
ICAI Nigeria inception report FINAL

DFID supports 10 of Nigeria’s 36 States through two programmes:

  • the UNICEF-led Girls’ Education Programme (GEP); and
  • the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN), delivered by a Cambridge Education-led consortium.

The national environment is very challenging, with too few effective teachers, poor infrastructure and unpredictable State funding.

ICAI engaged with over 900 local people, including pupils, parents, grandparents, teachers, head teachers and community leaders. They identified only limited benefits from the education provided. Around a third of eligible children in the ten States are out of school and ICAI found no major improvement in pupil learning:

  • GEP and ESSPIN have helped to create ten-year State education sector plans which are neither realistic nor affordable. Insufficient and erratic State funding leaves the education system lacking infrastructure and other essentials necessary to improve learning outcomes.
  • Key education building blocks – such as adequate facilities, teachers who are present and committed, routine pupil attendance and appropriate curricula and teaching materials – are often missing from schools.

GEP and ESSPIN are delivering similar programmes but the ESSPIN approach appears more likely to succeed in the long term. UNICEF was reappointed for the third phase of GEP without competition, which we do not believe was fully supported by the available evidence of their performance.

There have been some successes, including support for female teachers and school-based management committees and an innovative approach to Qur’anic schools, attended by most Muslim children in northern Nigeria. Implementation issues, however, are limiting the impact on pupil learning.

As a result of our findings this review was marked Amber-Red.


Recommendation 1: DFID should create a single education programme out of GEP and ESSPIN in 2014 focussing rigorously on basic reading, writing and arithmetic in the early years of primary schooling and building on the lessons learned, with aligned initiatives for teacher training and infrastructure.

Recommendation 2: DFID should work with its partners and each participating State to secure a clear agreement about the policy changes and financial contributions required to improve enrolment and learning and to introduce effective financial management and resource planning into education. There should be regular reviews of performance with States, based on school-level data.

Recommendation 3: DFID should work with UNICEF to achieve significant improvement in the performance of GEP over the next 12 months against agreed targets, with a review of progress by DFID after six months.

Recommendation 4: DFID should address implementation issues that are limiting the impact of the two programmes in relation to the Female Trainee Teachers’ Scholarship Scheme, School-Based Management Committees and Qur’anic schools.