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 25 – 36 of 88


Fostering Active Civic Engagement

01.07.2018 - 30.09.2030

Moldova’s democracy is still young and fragile. The population is hesitant to participate in decision-making and to demand their rights. Good-quality civic education is an essential element for promoting democratic values, raising awareness about the rights and responsibilities of every citizen, and for stimulating a stronger civic engagement. Switzerland supports Moldova in providing children and adolescents with opportunities to apply civic learning inside and outside the classroom.


Contribution to the UNESCO International Institute on Educational Planning (IIEP)

01.05.2018 - 31.12.2021

Sound educational planning and management allows national governments to help translate the right to education and principles defined in the Sustainable Development Goal 4 into policies and actionable plans and budget. IIEP assists countries translate the principles of inclusive, equitable quality education into credible policies and plans. It provides Ministries of Education technical expertise and capacity support and engages in applied research and knowledge sharing.


IBC-Improving protection, social cohesion and skills development services for Syrian and host communities in Kilis

01.04.2018 - 31.07.2019

There are almost 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, residing in different provinces across the country, mainly in non-camp settings. Their vulnerabilities are growing and tensions between them and host communities are on the rise. The national NGO IBC, active in humanitarian relief and emergency aid, aims with the proposed project to improve the living conditions of Syrian refugees, while focusing on strengthening social cohesion between host communities and refugees.


Programme d’Appui à la décentralisation et à la Participation Citoyenne (DEPAC)

01.03.2018 - 28.02.2022

La DDC, à travers DEPAC, permet à 30 collectivités territoriales (CT) de développer des services dans les domaines de l’eau potable, l’éducation, les pistes rurales, répondant aux droits fondamentaux de 6,2 millions de Burkinabè. Le programme renforce aussi la contribution des associations et médias à l’efficacité des mécanismes de redevabilité locale. Face à la forte demande citoyenne, en particulier des jeunes, la phase 2 mettra l’accent sur la construction de la démocratie locale et la promotion économique.


Enhance Balanced Education in Afghanistan (BALEDU)

01.03.2018 - 31.01.2020

The project works to improve the quality of teaching in Afghanistan. The rapid increase in enrolment numbers over the past fifteen years has led to a high demand for teachers which is not met. In rural areas, half of primary education teachers are underqualified, resulting in low learning achievements. The project engages Teacher Training Colleges and the competent line ministry to improve teacher’s subject-specific and methodological skills, so that children benefit from better education.


Programme d’appui à la décentralisation de l’éducation, PADE

01.02.2018 - 31.01.2022

Dans un contexte d’insécurité, où plusieurs écoles sont fermées au centre et au nord du Mali, offrir une éducation de base de qualité, équitable et inclusive pour tous, est l’objectif du programme d’appui à la décentralisation de l’éducation. Avec les collectivités, les services techniques et les communautés des régions de Mopti, Tombouctou et Sikasso, cette dernière phase du programme vise à consolider les acquis des phases précédentes et permettre à plus de 700'000 enfants d’accéder à l’école.


Research for action: Water, Behaviour Change and Environmental Sanitation: Sustainable Solutions to Research, Knowledge and Professionalization (WABES)

01.02.2018 - 31.12.2021

To answer the global challenge of improving access to safe water and adequate sanitation, essential for poverty reduction, health, economic development and a life in dignity, it is necessary to work at two levels: developing and using appropriate technology and techniques, but also working on the institutional frameworks and human capacities. To this aim, SDC has decided to partner with a Swiss Research Institute, long-term collaborator well recognised internationally.


Young People as Agents of Change in the Water Sector – Consolidation of SDC/GPW’s Pioneering Role

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2027

The project will facilitate the empowerment of young people in the water sector, which is essential to achieve the water-related SDG goals. The intervention will strengthen the current GPW/SDC portfolio, directly supports initiatives and projects, consolidate SDC’s institutional approach, and finally contribute to mainstream a young people approach into strategies and policies at all levels.


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.


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.


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.

Object 25 – 36 of 88