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image of teacher looking at a book with a group of children portrait view of Nigerian teacher

Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria

We are supporting federal and state governments in Nigeria to make sustainable improvements in basic education services as part of the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN).

I feel happy waking up in the morning to go to school… I want to become a doctor.

Wasilat Ibrahim, schoolgirl, Kwara State, Nigeria

Nigeria's government is committed to transforming its education system. Its 2020 vision places education at the heart of the development of its people and future economic success.

However Nigeria’s education system is not functioning effectively and is threatening the country’s chances of future social and economic prosperity. Only around 70% of children of primary school age are receiving a formal education.

Our experts in Cambridge Education have designed and are now managing ESSPIN, funded by the UK's Department for International Development.


ESSPIN has been designed to help develop an education system in which every child in Nigeria is given the opportunity to receive a basic standard of education.

As programme designer, we are assessing educational shortcomings and supporting government, teachers and the communities to create the enabling conditions in which an effective learning environment can be nurtured.

Key facts

  • By 2014 ESSPIN has made a significant impact on 7,500 public and 1,600 non-government schools with 4.2 million children benefiting from this life-changing programme.
  • In November 2012, the Executive Governor of Nigeria's Kano State presented ESSPIN with an award for services to literacy.


At Federal Level ESSPIN is strengthening the governance framework which will enable basic education reform. In order to achieve this, our team is giving support in policy, planning, monitoring and evaluation, the gathering and use of national data and resource allocation and funding.

At State Level we are strengthening governance and management of state level education which will enable states to develop and implement ten-year sector plans, provide adequate teacher training, development and deployment, improve resource allocation and financial management and to integrate a basic curriculum into existing Islamiyah and Quranic schools.

At School Level the project aims to significantly improve the learning environment for children by providing assistance in curriculum management, effectively measuring teaching quality and pupil learning/ performance, school management and leadership, staff development and pupil welfare. Our team also offer guidance on practical interventions which enhance learning – such as the provision of water and sanitation facilities.

The challenge of changing the status quo and redirecting wealth to education needed to be matched by changes at a domestic and community level. At Community Level we promote demand for better education services by developing School Based Management Committees. The aim is to encourage the wider community to proactively participate and campaign for quality education. We also help communities engage with their local primary schools in order to demand improved school leadership, teaching practice and learning outcomes through the use of interactive 'theatre for development' to tap into the strong tradition of storytelling in Nigeria.

(ESSPIN is) delivering results on the ground through a commitment to implementation follow-through.

Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) review of UK government funded education programmes in Nigeria

Value and benefits

  • Through ESSPIN, much needed government resources and reforms in teaching and learning can be directed more effectively to schools and students to improve the quality of their education.
  • In Lagos, the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs) were struggling to manage the state’s basic education services. ESSPIN’s interventions helped these institutions develop new strategies and plans, to streamline their structure and functions, and clarify areas of collaboration.
  • 1,712 head teachers operate effectively and 7,877 teachers now deliver competent literacy and numeracy lessons due to ESSPIN’s professional development programmes
  • Over 120,000 children have toilets and 165,000 children have potable water in their schools as a result of ESSPIN.
  • Use of interactive theatre is accessible for all in a country where there is not a strong reading culture and many people cannot access electronic mass media. An impact study and follow-up field research provided qualitative data of increased school attendance and improved school performance as a direct result of the theatre.
(Education sector support programme in Nigeria) - The programme to reform 7,500 public and 1,600 non-governmental schools across six states has so far also trained and mentored more than 19,000 teachers. At school level, ESSPIN is significantly improving the learning environment for children by providing assistance in curriculum management, effectively measuring teaching quality and pupil learning/ performance, school management and leadership, staff development and pupil welfare. By 2014, ESSPIN will have had a significant impact on 7,500 public and 1,600 non-government schools with 4.2 million children being affected by this life-changing programme.
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