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 13 – 24 of 28

Cultural Programme Tanzania (CPT)

01.09.2016 - 31.12.2019

This programme uses a comprehensive approach to promote local culture and livelihood opportunities for young artists, and for social cohesion. It aims to do so through institutional and specific projects’ support. The programme is in alignment with SDC’s Culture and Development Policy that supports devoting a minimum of 1% of SDC’s operational budget in a country to initiatives in the local artistic and culture sector.


Vocational Skills Development in Macedonia

01.09.2016 - 28.02.2022

Macedonia has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe (25%), especially among youth (48%). One of the key factors for youth unemployment is that the education and training system does not provide skills needed by the economy. The Vocational Skills Development project aims to address youth unemployment through supporting market relevant skills development by strengthening the engagement of the private sector (e.g. through systematised internships), thus increasing the employability of vocational training graduates.



Application of Migration Policy for Decent Work of Migrant Workers

01.04.2016 - 30.06.2019

Men and women who opt for migrating abroad in search of employment will benefit from better protection (pre-departure orientation, international standard contracts, etc.) as the project will improve the overall migration policy and migration governance framework of Bangladesh. The project will also strengthen institutions responsible for managing migration, by building the capacity of the government and private sector to expand and improve services for migrant workers.


Water Security in the Middle East (Blue Peace)

01.04.2016 - 31.05.2020

In the Middle East, the increasingly precarious situation of water resources demands stronger regional cooperation than ever before. Set against this background, the Blue Peace approach aims at contributing to peace building through combined political and technical dialogues, which are substantiated in concrete regional projects and direct impact activities on the ground. Together with the Strategic Foresight Group (SFG) and local partners from academia, international organisations, civil society and private sector, SDC is able to promote policy and concrete solutions for sustainable development serving those threatened by water scarcity and conflict.


Rehabiltiation of public schools accomodating Syrian refugee children

01.04.2016 - 31.12.2019

Education is one of the public sectors particularly under pressure due to the influx of refugees. There are currently 143,000 school-aged Syrian refugees enrolled in public schools in Jordan, another approx. 83,000 remain out of school. Overstretched infrastructure and lack of space are major challenges. SDC will continue to support the Ministry of Education (MoE) in non-structural rehabilitation of schools accommodating Syrian refugees, including water and sanitation facilities, contributing to increase the accommodating capacities. The project will also include an awareness component addressing maintenance issues.


Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI)

01.01.2016 - 30.06.2020

The Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI) supports policy development and provides technical support for the improvement of psychosocial wellbeing and mental wellness of children and young people to mitigate the negative impact of HIV and AIDS, poverty, and other vulnerabilities. It provides technical assistance to governments and non-governmental organizations to integrate and implement psychosocial support into social services, health and education in East and southern Africa.


Contribution to the Roma Education Fund (REF)

01.12.2015 - 31.12.2020

REF is the lead organization for Roma education. SDC is supporting REF from its inception, contributing in a relevant way to the Roma decade. REF recently defined a strategy (2015-20) and is strengthening its results orientation. By continuing the partnership with REF, with a focus on pro-inclusion policy dialogue, SDC ensures coherence and consistence of its position in the Roma inclusion agenda. REF's focus on children from early childhood is crucial for the social inclusion of the next generation of Roma.


Medical Education Reform in Tajikistan

01.10.2015 - 30.09.2019

Switzerland has been supporting Medical Education Reforms in Tajikistan since 2009 with the aim to ensure availability of appropriately trained, well-deployed and motivated workers in the health sector. With support of the project the standards of undergraduate education have been revised and learning environment along with the teaching process at medical schools have been significantly improved. The current phase of the project will target quality of postgraduate éducation and unite all levels of medical education in one global continuum.


Opportunities For Youth Employment

01.07.2015 - 30.09.2019

SDC contributes to the existing project Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) implemented by SNV since September 2013, for its upscaling in Tanzania. OYE aims to improve the livelihoods of young women and men by developing and expanding their set of skills and by matching them with existing rural job markets and opportunities for self-employment in agri-business, renewable energy, sanitation and hygiene in 5 regions of the Central Corridor (CC). Co-funding donor of OYE besides SDC is the MasterCard Foundation.


Skills Development in Uzbekistan

Apprentices standing in a park learn how to use a theodolite

01.03.2015 - 29.02.2020

The fourth Phase of the Skills Development Project (SDP) in Uzbekistan contributes to the improvement and further development of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system by introducing and strengthening the systemic approach to cooperation among stakeholders in the water sector within the cycle “Demand-Training-Job Placement”. The systemic approach to be followed in this Phase of SDP is going to serve as a blueprint for other sectors of the economy and be replicated accordingly.


Programme d’Appui à l’Education non formelle

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2019

Classé 22ème sur 28 pays par l’indice de l’éducation pour tous au niveau africain, le Mali compte plus de 60% d’adultes analphabètes dont les 2/3 sont des femmes et environ 70% des jeunes de 15 à 24 ans ne savent ni lire, ni écrire, selon l’UNESCO. Ce programme permet de former et d’insérer plus de 10'000  jeunes et des adultes. Les résultats des nouvelles approches pédagogiques obtenus par le programme sont partagés au niveau central en vue de leur mise à l’échelle.

Object 13 – 24 of 28