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

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

01.12.2014 - 31.12.2019

L’éducation au Niger est dans un état déplorable : étudiants en décrochage ou sortant de l’école sans les acquis de base, enseignants non formés et rencontrant les mêmes difficultés que leurs élèves, encadrement pédagogique inexistant, etc. La seconde phase du Programme d’Appui à la Qualité de l’Education Formelle permettra de réformer le système éducatif en soutenant la mise en place de dispositifs efficaces pour la formation et l’encadrement des enseignants.


Empowering Media in Tanzania - EMT

01.08.2014 - 31.12.2020

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.


Skills Development Programme (SDP)

01.05.2014 - 30.06.2020

Skills development is a key driver for inclusive growth in Cambodia, but delivery is poor. Through the Skills Development Program (SDP), SDC supports the rural poor and disadvantaged youth in northern provinces to have better access to more gainful and decent employment and contributes to strengthening the TVET national regulatory framework for better inclusion, more effective deliv­ery and higher relevance of vocational skills to labour market needs. 


Contribution au Programme d’Education du LARES

01.04.2014 - 31.12.2019

La contribution au Programme d’Education du LARES (ex-RECADEL) est un outil d’amélioration de la réussite éducative des filles et des jeunes femmes qui favorise leur insertion socio-professionnelle. Il vise à influencer les politiques et pratiques éducatives au Bénin. En effet, l’équité dans l’accès à l’éducation de base et à la formation professionnelle des jeunes femmes et leur maintien dans le système, notamment dans le département du Borgou, ne sont pas toujours assurés par l’Etat. 


Programme d’éducation alternative des jeunes (PEAJ) - Phase I

01.09.2012 - 31.12.2019

Au Niger, plus de 2 millions d’enfants et de jeunes, déscolarisés ou non scolarisés, soit deux tiers de la population de 9 à14 ans, n’accèdent pas à l’éducation. Ce programme mettra en place 200 centres d’éducation alternative au bénéfice de 12’000 jeunes dans les régions de Dosso et Maradi afin de produire des résultats pouvant constituer un effet levier sur l’ensemble du pays. Les jeunes issus de ces centres pourront intégrer le cursus scolaire, la vie active ou une formation professionnelle.


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.

Object 85 – 90 of 90