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. 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 37 – 48 of 88

Long-term support to UNRWA’s reform

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2020

Through this contribution, Switzerland enables UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) to pursue the implementation of two key reform areas from its Medium-Term Strategy 2016-21, namely: the Resource Mobilization Strategy and the Protection Framework. These reforms will improve UNRWA’s ability to deliver its core services by stabilizing the Agency’s financial situation and by strengthening its capacities to deliver its protection mandate.


Contribution ciblée au réseau de politiques internationales et de coopération en éducation et formation - NORRAG

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2020

Le réseau de politiques internationales et de coopération en éducation (NORRAG) est un des partenaires stratégiques de la Suisse. En collaboration avec les acteurs  impliqués dans l’éducation et la coopération au développement, il contribue à la production et la dissémination de connaissances afin de soutenir le développement des politiques éducatives basées sur des données factuelles.


Contribution au Réseau suisse pour l’Education et la Coopération Internationale (RECI)

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2020

Dans le cadre de sa nouvelle Stratégie Education, la DDC souhaite renforcer le Réseau suisse Education et Coopération Internationale (RECI) – qui regroupe des ONG, fédérations, hautes écoles pédagogiques, etc. actives dans les domaines de l’éducation et la coopération au développement – afin de mieux mettre en commun leurs compétences et expériences, améliorer la complémentarité des appuis dans les différents pays d’intervention et mieux répondre à la demande éducative des populations.


UNICEF Core Contribution 2018-2020

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2020

Despite important progress for children over the last 15 years, child rights violations and inequities persist. UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Switzerland supports UNICEF because it is the main UN organization with a comprehensive mandate on child protection & development.


UNFPA Core Contribution 2018-2020

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2020

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) works to address questions related to population and development, with an emphasis on sexual and reproductive health, gender equality, and youth. UNFPA is a key partner for Switzerland to ensure progress on its priorities of sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as gender equality and women’s empowerment.


Young People as Agents of Change in the Water Sector

01.01.2018 - 30.04.2021

Young people and their innovative ideas play an important role in addressing some of the largest water challenges. SDC supports the Young Water Fellowship Programme that builds the capacities of young water entrepreneurs, provides technical as well as financial support to implement their ideas and engages with stakeholders and decision-makers to exchange knowledge and create an enabling environment for young people willing to be engaged in the water sector.


Appui au Focal Point et au Réseau Education

19.12.2017 - 31.12.2021

Ce programme vise à assurer au Point Focal éducation et à son équipe les ressources et appuis nécessaires afin d’assurer la mise en œuvre effective de la nouvelle stratégie éducation, de renforcer et animer le réseau éducation et la capacité de ses membres (internes et externes à la DDC), et d’assurer le positionnement stratégique de la DDC sur la scène internationale et en particulier au sein du Partenariat Mondial pour l’Education.


Global Energy Efficiency and Construction Outreach Programme (GLECOP)

01.12.2017 - 31.12.2021

GLECOP contributes to low-emission, energy-efficient and resilient development at a global scale. It supports two multilateral initiatives, the Energy Efficiency in Emerging Economies (E4) Programme implemented by the International Energy Agency and the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction. Through its support, Switzerland aims to enhance knowledge and capacities, to leverage successful practices and to strengthen policies on energy efficiency with a focus on the construction sector.


Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF)

01.12.2017 - 31.12.2020

ARTF is a coordinated on-budget financing mechanism for the state, administered by the World Bank. Its priority national investment projects focus on agriculture, rural development, infrastructure, education, health and governance. Since the initiation of the Trust Fund in 2002, Millions of Afghan women, men and children have gained access to services and improved their income. It also significantly contributed to the Afghan state’s capacity.


Strengthening the resilience and reintegration of children formerly associated with armed groups and other conflict-affected children in north-east Nigeria

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2019

Millions of children suffer from the ongoing conflict in north-eastern Nigeria. Girls and boys are exposed to extreme levels of violence including the recruitment and use, sexual violence, killing and maiming. Many children have lost their families and friends and suffer from the harsh living conditions as a result of the conflict. The project will provide mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) as well as educational and socio-economic reintegration services to victims of violence, with a special focus on child recruits and survivors of sexual violence. It will also provide child protection services to the larger communities to strengthen their resilience and protection environment. The project will strengthen Switzerland’s overall positioning regarding the children and armed conflict thematic debate in the Lake Chad region.


Inclusion financière dans l'Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA)

01.12.2017 - 31.12.2023

En Afrique de l’Ouest, le faible accès aux services financiers ne permet pas de moderniser les exploitations familiales et de développer des activités productives. La DDC soutient la stratégie régionale d’inclusion financière de l’Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine et la Swiss Capacity Building Facility pour accroitre l’accès à de nombreux jeunes et femmes aux services financiers et leur offrir des opportunités économiques permettant ainsi de s’attaquer aux causes de la migration et de l’insécurité.


Strengthening the Climate Adaptation Capacities in the South Caucasus

10.11.2017 - 14.11.2023

The project will (i) facilitate the development of multi-hazard mapping and risk assessment methodology enabling 1.7 million inhabitants’ reduced exposure towards climate-induced hazards in Georgia; (ii) contribute to the safer livelihoods and infrastructure of 373’800 residents in ten municipalities by developing response and preparedness plans; and (iii) foster evidence-based policymaking and advocacy on climate adaptation, natural hazards and mountain development in the South Caucasus.

Object 37 – 48 of 88