Skip to main content

OOSC Study - Out-Of-School Children Study

The Government of Sierra Leone launched Free Quality School Education (FQSE) in 2018 to address decades of underfunding in the education system, which left it with multiple challenges and poor student learning outcomes. FQSE resulted in a sustained rise in enrolment, reducing the number of out of school children.

Country/Region: Sierra Leone
Dates/Duration: 2020 - 2021
Funded by: UNICEF

CGA Technologies was commissioned to conduct a six-month study to identify the barriers preventing out of school children (OOSC) from accessing education in Sierra Leone and understand the scale of the problem. The study, conducted on behalf of the Sierra Leone Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) and UNICEF, provided recommendations on how to address key barriers and achieve systematic and structural change at policy- and implementation- levels, particularly for girls and the most vulnerable, including children with disabilities.


We consulted with more than 500 people from across the country, including experts, community members, civil service workers and OOSC. Central to the data collection was hearing from those affected by the barriers, in particular out of school girls and parents in the community: the perspective out of school girls is reflected throughout the report ensuring gendered views are heard.

Graphic of consultations conducted during the Out of School Children Study

Our team analysed the data and wrote a 110-page report identifying the barriers, building an OOSC profile and providing 35 recommendations for policy, structural and programme improvements. The final report was commented on by a diverse group of 30 education stakeholders across the ministry, UNICEF, NGOs, and educationalists.

CGA OOSC Study Image 2 Key Barriers to Education in Sierra Leone


CGA OOSC Study Image 3 Profile of an out of school child

Four months after concluding the study, UNICEF hired us again for the next stage: writing Sierra Leone’s OOSC Strategy.


Outputs and Resources

  • Sierra Leone Out Of School Children Study 2021

    The findings of this report were drawn from quantitative and qualitative data, the former primarily from existing sources and the latter through consultations with affected persons, communities, key officials and practitioners.

    Suggested citation: Graham, H., Kawa, M., Hayward, H. J., Murray, T., Conteh, S., Malyon, S. (2021) 'Out-Of-School Children Study Sierra Leone.' Freetown: Government of Sierra Leone and UNICEF.

  • Advancing A New Social Contract For Education, UNESCO 2022

    The Sierra Leone Out of School Children Study is cited in this new UNESCO book which presents work carried out by students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education examining how to improve education systems in Sierra Leone and elsewhere around the world.

    Read the book


Functional areas: