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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Water Security in the Middle East (Blue Peace)

01.04.2016 - 31.03.2021

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 - 31.07.2021

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 - 30.06.2021

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.


Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF)

01.11.2015 - 31.10.2024

Millions of Afghan women, men and children gained access to services and improved their income since the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund’s initiation (ARTF) in 2002. It also significantly contributed to the Afghan state’s capacity and legitimacy. ARTF constitutes a coordinated financing mechanism for the state's budget (Recurrent Cost Window) and for its priority national investment projects (Investment Window) in the areas of agriculture, rural development, infrastructure, education, health and governance.


Cartographie des Ressources en Eau

01.09.2015 - 30.09.2021

Une vaste partie du territoire tchadien souffre d’une pénurie chronique d’eau, alors que le pays dispose d’importantes ressources souterraines et de surface. Cette situation est due à un manque de connaissances des ressources et à l’absence d’une politique de l’eau au Tchad. Dans ce contexte, la DDC veut soutenir l’amélioration des connaissances sur les ressources en eau et renforcer les capacités des acteurs clés à établir une gestion active, durable et souveraine des ressources en eau au Tchad.


Empowering Media in Tanzania - EMT

01.08.2014 - 28.02.2021

Information provided by media contributes to improve government accountability and people’s livelihoods by providing relevant information to citizens. Yet, the media sector faces challenges including a restrictive legal environment, low professional standards and lack of economic viability. This is a contribution towards addressing those key challenges through partnering with UNESCO, Tanzania Media Foundation and the Media Council of Tanzania.


Polish-Swiss Research Programme (PSRP)

01.10.2009 - 30.06.2017

Under the Polish Swiss Research Programme, Switzerland contributes to enhancing Polish economic competitiveness by strengthening capacity in research. Swiss and Polish research institutions develop and implement joint research activities in the field of health, environment, ICT, renewable energy sources and nanotechnology.

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