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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Programme d’Education Alternative des Jeunes (PEAJ) Phase 3

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2027

Plus de 50% d’enfants de moins de 15 ans, majoritairement des filles, sont hors école au Niger. La Suisse soutient, depuis 2015, le droit à une éducation de qualité inclusive pour ce public à travers une offre d’éducation alternative, adoptée par l’Etat nigérien en avril 2022. La troisième phase du programme mettra l’accent sur la mise à l’échelle du modèle et les stratégies de rétention des élèves défavorisés, via la responsabilisation des acteurs locaux et l’adaptation du milieu scolaire.


Strengthening Vocational Education and Training - SVET

01.07.2023 - 30.06.2026

The project will enhance the employability of young people by improving the Technical Vocational Education and Training System (TVET) of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This will be achieved by ensuring that practical training is conducted on the job and that collaboration among employers, TVET schools and education authorities is institutionalised and anchored in the regulatory framework. TVET students will acquire labour market relevant skills that will allow them to find decent jobs, while private sector will be more competitive with skilled labour. 


Contribution to UNICEF Transition and Resilience Education Fund (TREF)

01.07.2023 - 31.12.2024

Switzerland’s contribution to UNICEF’s Transition and Resilience Education Fund (TREF) in Lebanon ensures access to relevant quality public education for the most vulnerable children of all nationalities to avoid the scenario of a lost generation after 4 years of disrupted education. Amidst Lebanon’s economic crisis, TREF further contributes to improving the governance, efficiency, inclusiveness, and overall resilience of Lebanon public education system.


System Strengthening Partnership Programme of the Ministry of Education Jordan and through UNESCO

01.07.2023 - 31.12.2025

In Jordan, the access to inclusive, protective quality education for vulnerable young people is impacted by natural and human-made hazards, including the protracted Syria crisis and climate change. Switzerland’s contribution to UNESCO for the System Strengthening Partnership Programme of the Ministry of Education enhances governance for evidence-based and crisis-sensitive education planning and delivery, as per Jordan’s Education Strategic Plan 2018-2025.


Multisectoral response to the humanitarian needs and protection risks of children, adolescents, and their families in the Orinoco Mining Arc.

15.06.2023 - 31.12.2024

The NRC intervention seeks to provide assistance in the sectors of Protection, Education, Food Security and Livelihoods, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, to 6,483 direct beneficiaries, including children, adolescents, and their families in communities and schools of the Orinoco Mining Arc; a hotspot area for illegal mining and high levels of violence in Bolivar state, near the border between Venezuela and Brazil, a priority area for the SDC Guidance Note for Venezuela 2022-2024.


Provide support to multi-sectoral needs for vulnerable families in the states of Bolivar and Sucre States

01.06.2023 - 31.12.2024

In cooperation with national and international stakeholders, RET will provide multi sectorial assistance for a total of 7’331 direct beneficiaries in Sucre and Bolívar states, by addressing their basic needs and strengthening opportunities in the sectors of food security and livelihoods, nutrition and health services, as well as in water, sanitation and hygiene; in line with the Humanitarian Response Plan for Venezuela 2022 – 2023 and the SDC Guidance Note for Venezuela 2022 – 2024.


Opinion Makers

01.04.2023 - 31.10.2025

Le projet soutient l'institutionnalisation d'une culture de débat factuel et axé sur les défis sociales, économiques et politiques pertinentes dans la région MENA. Il adopte une approche constructive et inclusive des communautés marginalisées de jeunes, de femmes et d'autres groupes sociaux, y compris les réfugiés et les minorités, afin de leur offrir un espace de liberté d’expression. Le projet est mis en oeuvre par l'Initiative Munadhara (MI), une organisation de débat et formation des leaders d’opinion public.


PROMOST IV - Promoting Market-Oriented Skills Training in the Great Lakes Region

01.02.2023 - 31.12.2025

Le manque de perspectives d’emploi est un défi majeur au Burundi et en RDC. Le programme PROMOST a contribué depuis 2012 à améliorer l’employabilité des jeunes (filles et garçons) issus des milieux défavorisés en favorisant leur accès à une formation professionnelle de qualité. Ce projet a jusqu’ici connu trois phases dont la dernière se termine le 31.01.2023 au Burundi et en RDC-Sud Kivu et le 31.12.2023 après prolongation au Rwanda. Tout en capitalisant sur les acquis des phases précédentes, cette phase de sortie mettra un accent sur l’institutionnalisation des dispositifs formation, la durabilité des systèmes d’EFTP et la qualité des emplois et revenus créés au Burundi et en RDC.


JOR NRC Safe and Inclusive Schools (SIS) Programme

01.02.2023 - 31.12.2025

Switzerland aims to reduce barriers to sustainable solutions for children and adolescents through education programming in Jordan. With the project planned initiatives, capacity strengthening, evidence-based research and training, the school community will be mobilized for positive action within their schools and the improved knowledge and practices will increase the overall quality of teaching and learning, which in turn will improve retention rates in formal schools.


Contribution to UNRWA's Programme Budget 2023-2024

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2024

UNRWA is one of Switzerland’s key multilateral partners in the Middle East, due to its important contributions towards stability and peace in the region and its role in providing services and humanitarian assistance to people in need. Under its Programme Budget, UNRWA ensures universal access to quality primary health care and to basic education to 5.8 million registered Palestine refugees. It also provides targeted relief and social services to vulnerable refugees.


DiploFoundation – Phasing-out 2023 - 2025

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2025

Digitalisation is a cross-cutting theme across all 17 SDGs – from health, energy and education to sustainability and the environment. Digitalisation has therefore become an essential part of the work of development institutions. With this phasing out contribution DiploFoundation supports SDC to shift to a more holistic and institutionally relevant approach with regard to digitalisation for development.


Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies - Contribution 2023-2024

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2024

The Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies (GCHS) aims at enhancing the capacity of individual and institutional humanitarian actors to bring relevant, adapted and timely responses to the needs of populations affected by armed conflict, disasters or social exclusion. It aims at strengthening the competencies of humanitarian professionals through education, training, research and it advances systematisation and professionalization of humanitarian activities and actors.

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