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

Object 37 – 48 of 85

Decentralization for Improved Democratic Education (DECIDE)

01.01.2020 - 31.01.2025

Decentralisation and education reforms are key components to the ongoing national reforms that need to be pursued in a coordinated manner. Capitalizing on experience in decentralisation reform and in citizenship education, Switzerland will support the development of efficient, transparent and participatory education governance in rural areas of Ukraine, where it will aim at fostering trust between local authorities and citizens through improved education service and greater civic engagement of youth.

Contribution to Education Cannot Wait Fund – earmarked to Africa/MENA

01.12.2019 - 31.12.2021

75 million children in emergency and protracted crisis situations are being deprived of their education and the chance to prepare for a productive adulthood. Yet, education remains the least funded sector during crises. Complementary to other initiatives and established in 2016, the global fund Education Cannot Wait is geared at putting quality education for conflict and natural disaster affected children at the center, advancing SDG 4 also in such contexts and bridging the gap between humanitarian and development. 

Programme de Renforcement de l’Éducation de Base au Batha (PREBatha)

01.12.2019 - 30.11.2023

Au Tchad, la situation de l’éducation primaire est alarmante. Les taux de scolarisation et d’achèvement y sont très faibles, y compris au Batha, province d’intervention prioritaire de la Suisse. A travers le PREBatha et en complémentarité avec son programme « Promotion de la Qualité de l'Education de Base » (ProQEB), la Suisse contribue à l’amélioration de l’environnement et des conditions d’accès à l’éducation et d’apprentissage des enfants du Batha, particulièrement des filles.

Master of Advanced Studies in Development Cooperation (MAS) - NADEL

01.12.2019 - 30.11.2023

Mit der Unterstützung des “Master of Advanced Studies“ des «NADEL- Center for Development and Cooperation» an der ETHZ leistet die DEZA einen Beitrag an die Ausbildung von Nachwuchskräften für die Entwicklungs-zusammenarbeit. Diese praktisch ausgerichtete akademische Aus- und Weiterbildung von Fachkräften hat zum Ziel, Wirksamkeit, Effizienz und Innovation der Schweizer Entwicklungszusammenarbeit dauerhaft zu sichern und zu steigern.

GEMR - Global Education Monitoring Report

01.12.2019 - 31.12.2022

Depuis 2002, la communauté internationale confie au Rapport mondial de suivi sur l’éducation le mandat de rendre compte des avancées en matière d’éducation en vue de la réalisation de l’Objectif pour le Dévelopement Durable 4 relatif à l’éducation. Ses analyses rigoureuses et recommendations stratégiques permettent d’animer et d’alimenter de manière fiable et pertinente les débats concernant les politiques éducatives et d’influencer leurs orientations, en soutien au dialogue politique suisse. 

Programme d’Appui à la Qualité de l’Education (PAQUE)

15.11.2019 - 31.10.2023

L’éducation au Bénin souffre d’un manque de qualité : enseignants en nombre insuffisant et pas bien formés, matériel scolaire et encadrement pédagogique insuffisants. La Suisse s’est fortement engagée pour la formulation du nouveau Plan sectoriel de l’éducation 2018-2030. Forte de son expertise en matière d’éducation et sur la base des résultats clés obtenus à travers les autres programmes du portefeuille éducation, sa contribution au PAQUE vise à améliorer la qualité de l’éducation au. Bénin

DiploFoundation – Digital Governance

01.11.2019 - 31.12.2022

As digital transformation has accelerated, the mechanisms for digital governance (shared norms and standards) failed to keep pace. With this contribution DiploFoundation (Diplo) supports digital governance in general and developing countries in building capacities to participate in inclusive digital policy processes. Diplo has made a significant contribution that Geneva is today one of the main hubs for digital policies and more developing countries are participating in the discussions.

IDB TVET Multidonor Trust Fund

01.10.2019 - 30.06.2024

The Fund’s objective is for IDB to support the initiatives transforming the TVET through the creation of modern, private-sector driven training ecosystems that endow people with the necessary skills to develop successful lifelong learning labor trajectories and boost the region's economic development. SDC’s contribution finances the Fund and facilitates the access to highly valued Swiss and SDC expertise.

Kenya: Promoting Life Skills and Livelihoods in Kakuma Refugee Camp

01.09.2019 - 31.08.2022

The Horn of Africa is marked by large numbers of displaced people[1] of whom almost 189’000 are living in Kakuma, Northern Kenya. The project Promoting Life Skills and Livelihoods contributes to enhanced capacities and economic opportunities, self-esteem, dignity and empowerment for refugees and host community through the provision of technical, life and basic skills training to youth. This provides them with improved opportunities for socio economic integration.


[1] IDPs and refugees



Promoting Market Oriented Skills Training in the Great Lakes region (PROMOST)

01.07.2019 - 31.12.2023

PROMOST contributed to increased employment and income generation in the Great Lakes region by providing access and enhancing quality of vocational training. Building on the achievements of the previous two phases, the third phase will focus on the sustainability of the interventions, on the labor market insertion of graduates and on the institutionalization of short-term training and apprentice-ships, thus permitting the phasing-out of Swiss contributions and the continuous increasing of national and regional commitments to professional skills education, especially in Rwanda.

Contribution à l’organisation internationale de la Francophonie OIF

01.07.2019 - 31.12.2022

Conjuguant une double mission de diplomatie politique et de coopération, l’OIF donne corps à une solidarité et à une coopération actives entre les 84 États qui la composent. En soutenant la mise en œuvre du programme de l’OIF, la Suisse contribue au renforcement de la gouvernance démocratique, à la prévention des conflits, à l’accès à une éducation de qualité et à une croissance durable et inclusive en Afrique de l’Ouest, en particulier pour les femmes et les jeunes.

Ifakara Health Institute: Scaling up of research results and innovations for public health impact

'Young changemakers'

15.06.2019 - 31.12.2024

Investment in health research and innovation in Tanzania is a national policy priority but receives irregular public support. This contribution aims to strengthen the Ifakara Health Institute, a successful research institution with Swiss roots, to improve its research impact at policy and community levels. The intervention will also bring together researchers and end-users in an innovation hub to identify livelihood challenges of youths and innovative approaches to address these. Private sector partnerships with Swiss innovators will be primary clients of the innovation hub.

Object 37 – 48 of 85