Basic education and vocational skills development

African girls raising 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. 

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

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UN Joint Programme on Youth Employment

01.01.2025 - 31.12.2028

Cambodia is the most youthful country in South East Asia with more than 50% of the population below 25 years. The key challenge of Cambodia is to create decent and productive employment opportunities for new entrants to the labour market. With its contribution, SDC addresses the challenge by enabling young people to have access to skills and quality education and employment whilst promoting rightful and decent working conditions.

Support to Safe Spaces for Women, Youth and Children in Gaza Strip

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2024

Switzerland promotes social cohesion and civic peace through creating safe spaces for women, youth, and persons with disabilities in the Gaza Strip. By fostering local capacities and promoting community-led initiatives Safe Spaces strengthens the resilience of vulnerable groups. This second phase puts a stronger accent on skills and economic empowerment for youth in line with the Cooperation Programme 2021-24. By advocating for inclusive societies it contributes to mitigate the spread of extremism and radicalization.

Soutien aux acteurs suisses de la coopération internationale en éducation (NORRAG et RECI)

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2025

L’éducation joue un rôle clé pour les objectifs de l’Agenda 2030. La contribution aux deux institutions Suisses, le Réseau sur les politiques et la coopération internationale en éducation et en formation (NORRAG), institut spécialisé en recherche appliquée en éducation, et le Réseau suisse éducation et coopération internationale (RECI), réseau de la société civile engagé en éducation dans la coopération internationale, vise à renforcer leurs interventions dans les pays en développement et le positionnement suisse en éducation à l’international.  

LEB Access and Quality Education for refugee and vulnerable host community children

01.10.2021 - 30.09.2024

The education sector in Lebanon is facing multiple crises, leading to the discontinuity of learning for many children. Switzerland’s contribution to Plan International and Save the Children will provide children in the Bekaa and Baalbek-Hermel governorates with improved access to and retention in quality, safe and inclusive education. The project follows a triple nexus approach by considering immediate humanitarian needs and aiming at the reintegration of out-of-school children while fostering social cohesion in a context of mounting tensions. 

PAGEDA - Programme d’Appui à la Gestion Décentralisée de l’Alphabétisation

01.10.2021 - 30.09.2025

La phase 2 du  Programme d’Appui à la Gestion Décentralisée de l’Alphabétisation vise à renforcer les efforts du gouvernement du Bénin et des communes  pour  permettre à 30’000 citoyen:nes dont 50% de femmes, principalement les jeunes entre 15 - 30 ans, exclus du système éducatif formel, d’acquérir des compétences de vie courante, d’exercer pleinement leur droit de citoyenneté et promouvoir leur insertion professionnelle.

Impact of Innovative Financing for Education to Leave No One Behind (IFE-2-LNOB)

01.10.2021 - 31.03.2032

Innovative financing mechanisms for education are expected to help reaching SDG 4 on inclusive and equitable quality education. However, limited research has been conducted on these mechanisms. IFE-2-LNOB will assess specific innovative financing mechanisms such as impact bonds and a social lending scheme with regards to their effectiveness and cost efficiency towards quality education of marginalized children and young adults.

UN CC:Learn – The One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership – Phase V

15.09.2021 - 31.12.2025

UN CC:Learn is the partnership of key multilateral organizations assisting member states in designing and implementing learning to address climate change. It supports countries in developing national strategies and designs and promotes learning materials to strengthen human resources and skills for climate resilient-development and global climate literacy. Switzerland’s focus therein is on further advancing the youth component and strengthening the sustainability aspects of the initiative.

Medical Education Reform

01.09.2021 - 31.08.2024

The project is improving the quality of health services through well-trained health professionals. The exit phase will strengthen professional associations, modernize nursing education and establish an independent competency assessment centre. The Ministry of Health and Social Development delegated the competency development and assessment role to the Professional Associations, which are the key partners to implement the project’s interventions.

ILFF 4 Education - Impact Linked Financing for Education to accelerate inclusive quality education through private sector engagement

01.08.2021 - 31.12.2025

Many countries face challenges and a considerable funding gap to meet the SDG 4. Covid-19 has aggravated this situation. Impact linked finance is an innovative way to leverage private-sector engagement in the education sector for the inclusion and quality learning of vulnerable groups. In collaboration with foundations, the project will pilot impact linked financing in education in SDC priority regions in order to accelerate learning, inclusiveness and quality of basic education.

PAEFE - Programme d’Appui à l’Education et à la Formation des Enfants exclus du système éducatif

01.08.2021 - 31.07.2025

Au Bénin, près de 35% des enfants âgés de 5 à 17 ans ne sont jamais allés à l’école ou en sont trop tôt sortis. Le système éducatif est élitiste et pyramidal, excluant ainsi un nombre élevé d’enfants. La Suisse à travers le PAEFE (phases 1 et 2), a développé avec succès un modèle pédagogique bilingue qui permet aux enfants d’être rescolarisés ou d’accéder à la formation professionnelle. La phase 3 vise le passage à l’échelle du modèle en responsabilisant l’Etat et les communes. 

Financial contribution to the World Bank Trust Fund Global Evaluation Initiative (GEI)

01.05.2021 - 31.12.2025

Switzerland is supporting the newly created Trust Fund Global Evaluation Initiative (GEI). Through coordination and providing quality services, the GEI aims at strengthening monitoring and evaluation systems in developing countries for improved evidence-based policy making for better achieving national and global (SDGs) goals. Switzerland is committed to provide access to its partner countries and partner organizations to this initiative.

Partenariat Mondial pour l’Education – Global Partnership for Education (PME – GPE)

01.01.2021 - 31.12.2025

Le Partenariat Mondial pour l’Education (PME) est le plus grand fonds en faveur de l’éducation dans les pays à faibles revenus. Il vise à soutenir les gouvernements dans le renforcement de leurs systèmes éducatifs. L’objectif de l’éducation universelle dans les pays en développement subit un déficit financier qui selon des projections alarmantes pourrait s’accroître de 200 milliards/USD supplémentaires en raison de la crise du Covid-19. Les effets sur les perspectives des jeunes sont dévastateurs. La contribution de la Suisse reflète l’accent mis sur l’éducation dans son Message sur la stratégie de coopération internationale 21-24.  

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