Basic education and vocational skills development

Young african girls holding up their hands.
The SDC considers basic education and vocational skills development to be interconnected and complementary. © UN Photo / Marco Dormino

A good education lays the foundation for the economic and social development not only of the individual but of society as a whole. Education helps to reduce poverty and social and economic disparities and stimulates economic growth. The SDC pursues the objective of quality education accessible to people of all ages by focusing on two priority sectors: basic education and vocational skills development.

Education in any society is fundamental to achieving sustainable development underpinned by peace and social cohesion. Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all is the fourth sustainable development goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Along with achieving decent work for all within the framework of sustained economic growth and eradicating poverty, this goal is central to the SDC's activities.

As a vehicle for raising public awareness, education can help improve hygiene practices, advocate​​ responsible agricultural production, and improve public knowledge about the effects of climate change.

In many developing and transition countries there is a real need to improve the education system. It is equally important to ensure access to education in fragile contexts, where social disparities tend to worsen.

In the area of education, the SDC works to improve the quality of both basic education and vocational skills development. The SDC sees both components as interconnected and complementary, not only from a linear educational perspective. Depending on particular needs and contexts, it can make good sense to teach basic education and vocational skills development modules simultaneously to provide young people with a set of marketable basic skills to maximise their chances for professional integration.

Strengthening educational opportunities in developing countries and countries in transition is a priority of Switzerland's international cooperation in the years ahead. In accordance with the Dispatch on Switzerland's International Cooperation 2017–2020, which has been adopted by Parliament, Switzerland will increase funding for basic education and vocational skills development by 50% compared with the 2013–16 period.

Basic education

The SDC promotes quality basic education that is adapted to the needs of each population and accessible to as many people as possible. To this end, it works with several partner countries in reforming their education systems.

Vocational skills development

By working with the public authorities and the private sector, the SDC is able to develop training programmes tailored to the needs of the market. It thereby enables growing numbers of young people to find decent employment and to contribute to their country’s development.

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 274

Rehabilitation of schools in northern Lebanon

The rehabilitated schools are providing a better learning environment for Lebanese as well as Syrian pupils. © SDC

16.11.2015 - 31.07.2018

Following the rehabilitation of 28 schools in northern Lebanon in the first phases of the project, the SDC is expanding its engagement to 24 other schools in the same region. The rehabilitation works are being carried out in cooperation with the Lebanese authorities to help them cope with the large influx of refugee children from Syria.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Lebanon
Humanitarian Assistance
Education
Formal basic education (primary and lower secondary)
Reconstruction and Rehabilitation

16.11.2015 - 31.07.2018


CHF 3'690'000



Forging a common ‘Nile culture’ through music and academic training

Nile Project musicians on a boat.

01.05.2015 - 31.07.2017

To make the Nile Basin a common ground and shared ecosystem for the inhabitants of the eleven countries through which the Nile River flows, the SDC supports the innovative musical and educational Nile Project. The project brings together artists, students and concerned citizens. A series of acclaimed concerts has taken place since 2013; at the same time, students are developing initiatives to foster a better use of water resources.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Egypt
Economy and Employment
Education
Migration
Environment
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Economy and Employment
Culture
Disaster Risk Reduction – Preparedness
Education policy
Environment protection
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) development
Mitigation of the effects of climate change
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Migration generally (development aspects and partnerships)

01.05.2015 - 31.07.2017


CHF 750'000



Developing skills for better employment

A student screwing a solar panel together.

15.12.2014 - 31.12.2018

Unequal access to employment and the mismatch between education and labour market requirements are among the reasons for the high youth-unemployment in Albania. The Vocational Education and Training (VET) system therefore is undergoing a reorientation in order to meet labour market needs. Through the Skills Development for Employment Programme Switzerland is supporting these reforms.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Albania
Education
Economy and Employment
Vocational training and skills development
Labor market development
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)

15.12.2014 - 31.12.2018


CHF 3'000'000



Expanding the vocational education and training system and teaching skills relevant to the labour market

01.11.2014 - 31.10.2018

The SDC is working to ensure that jobseekers and insufficiently skilled workers are taught skills relevant to the labour market within the formal and non-formal vocational education and training system in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The training is geared to the needs of the various economic sectors, so that workers can be deployed in a targeted manner.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Education
Vocational training and skills development
Education policy

01.11.2014 - 31.10.2018


CHF 7'192'400



Project completed

Syrian refugee children welcomed by Jordanian classmates

Children playing in the courtyard

01.11.2014 - 29.02.2016

The SDC partners with the Jordanian Ministry of Education in rehabilitating public schools in the north of the country. The renovated schools enable a large proportion of Syrian refugee children to attend school with Jordan classmates. After the first 29 schools were rehabilitated the programme has been expanded to another 28 buildings.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Jordan
Education
Migration
Formal basic education (primary and lower secondary)
Forced migration (refugees, IDP, human trafficking)

01.11.2014 - 29.02.2016


CHF 1'200'000



Rehabilitation of schools in northern Lebanon

a classroom full of girls and boys.

15.07.2014 - 31.03.2016

Following the rehabilitation of 13 schools in northern Lebanon in the first phase of the project, the SDC is expanding its engagement to 15 other schools in the same region. The rehabilitation works are being carried out in cooperation with the Lebanese authorities to help them cope with the large influx of refugee children from Syria.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Lebanon
Humanitarian Assistance
Education
Formal basic education (primary and lower secondary)
Reconstruction and Rehabilitation

15.07.2014 - 31.03.2016


CHF 1'350'000



Public Private Partnership to Improved Sanitary Education in Ukraine

Two plumbers are cutting a pipe with a machine in a workshop.

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2018

This public-private partnership, developed in collaboration with the company Geberit, aims to improve vocational training in the field of sanitary technology in Ukraine, which will provide more employment opportunities for young plumbers. A new model will be developed to achieve this, based more on practical training and market needs, and will be tested in pilot schools before being rolled out across the country with support from the Ministry of Education.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Ukraine
Education
Drinking water and basic sanitation (WASH - Water for people)
Vocational training and skills development

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2018


CHF 400'000



Good schools for all Malian children

Children sitting at school desks inside a large tent.

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2017

The Government of Mali has reaffirmed its commitment to improving the quality of education as a priority. The SDC is providing support in this area in two respects: improving the quality of primary school education and decentralising education in general. This concerns three peripheral regions of the country. The SDC is also encouraging the creation of programmes adapted to children who have interrupted their schooling and to nomadic populations.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Mali
Education
Formal basic education (primary and lower secondary)
Education policy

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2017


CHF 9'900'000



Programme d’Appui à la Formation Professionnelle

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2017

Le marché du travail au Mali est caractérisé par une main d’œuvre peu qualifiée. Dans ce contexte, 300'000 jeunes arrivent chaque année sur ce marché sans compétences. L’offre de formation par domaine et/ou filière est en deçà des attentes du secteur productif. La formation professionnelle e 40'000 personnes dont 50% de femmes à l’horizon 2017, améliore la qualité des ouvrages et augmente la compétitivité des entreprises en contribuant à l’augmentation des revenus dans les régions prioritaires de la DDC et de la coopération danoise.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Mali
Education
Agriculture and Food Security
Vocational training and skills development
Labor market development
Agriculture value-chain development

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2017


CHF 12'667'000



Quality apprenticeships for disadvantaged populations

01.12.2013 - 30.04.2018

The SDC is committed to developing quality vocational training that is adapted to the market in Myanmar. With this aim in mind, Swiss experts from the hotel industry have become involved. Apprenticeships for disadvantaged groups are funded in the capital and in the south-east of the country.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Myanmar
Education
Vocational training and skills development

01.12.2013 - 30.04.2018


CHF 18'900'000



Regeneration of neglected villages in south-east Myanmar

A nurse receives patients at the entrance to a health centre.

01.09.2013 - 14.08.2017

In Myanmar, the villages close to the Thai border have seen more than six decades of conflict. Geographically isolated, and in some cases under the control of armed indigenous ethnic groups, these villages are beyond the reach of central government authority. Their inhabitants must do with infrastructures that are in a perilous state. Working alongside the affected communities and other partners, the SDC is committed to restoring basic services, with the particular involvement of the young people in the region.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Myanmar
Conflict prevention and transformation
Health
Education
Civilian peace-building and conflict resolution
Formal basic education (primary and lower secondary)
Primary health care

01.09.2013 - 14.08.2017


CHF 5'091'000



Roma take an active role in improving their living conditions

A Roma family building the walls of their house.

01.05.2013 - 31.12.2017

Roma in Serbia live in difficult social and economic conditions. Some 60% of them are categorised as "very poor". In many Roma settlements the people live in cramped conditions with poor infrastructure and inadequate levels of hygiene. The project's objectives are to improve living conditions for Roma in the areas of housing, employment and income, and to guarantee and strengthen their rights.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Serbia
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Health
Education
Decentralisation - local governance - democratization (incl. accountability)
Education policy
Health system strengthening

01.05.2013 - 31.12.2017


CHF 4'538'000


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