Education

Education and training are among the first Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined by the United Nations in 2015. AFD takes action in the field, alongside its partners, to ensure access to quality education for all: from primary school to higher education, from vocational training to employment.
Young girls at the Amoronimania public school , Madagascar
Youth at the heart of development
Young girls at the Amoronimania public school , Madagascar

Improving access to education

A little girl closes the classroom door in Uganda

Improving access to education

First the good news: thanks to the concerted action of developing countries and the international community, net primary school enrolment around the world rose from 84 to 91% between 1999 and 2014. In spite of this, however, over 57 million children and 69 million adolescents, mainly girls and children living in rural areas, still did not have access to effective basic education (primary and secondary school) in 2014. There are many reasons for this: high population pressure and persistent inequalities related to gender, age, territories, ethnicity and disability. 

AFD works to facilitate access to basic, universal, equitable and valuable education for all. Its action targets: improving the quality of teaching, school curricula and vocational training, and working on training and professionalization for teachers, head teachers and supervisory staff.

Strengthening vocational training systems

National Institute of Judicial Training of Côte d'Ivoire

Strengthening vocational training systems

We can see from the example of Asian countries: technical vocational education and training (TVET) is essential for the economic development of countries. However, it remains the poor relation in sectoral policies in a number of countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa: lack of equipment and qualified trainers, outdated curricula and equipment, insufficient budgets… The result: training remains largely confined to poor quality informal learning.  

AFD helps the least developed countries increase the level of technical and vocational education. It improves the quality of curricula and ensures they match the needs of the labor market. To do so, it diversifies the range of educational provision and creates high-level vocational training centers. AFD’s approach pays special attention to courses in the agricultural sector – an economic pillar in many developing countries.  

Promoting employment and integration policies

Infotep, vocational training in Dominican Republic

Promoting employment and integration policies

It is a fact: countries which invest the most in employment see their standard of living increase more rapidly. This is shown by the findings of a study of the past twenty years commissioned by the World Bank (4). However, 201 million people around the world were still unemployed in 2014, a situation which affects over a third of the young population. One particularly alarming phenomenon is the increase in the number of adolescents Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), which reached 260 million in 2015.

AFD helps developing countries promote job creation policies and private sector participation. It develops dialogue with all stakeholders, with the aim of improving working conditions, improving knowledge of labor markets, and developing programs which meet the needs of territories. It establishes lifelong learning systems.

Overhauling higher education

Truong Quoc Vi, student at the Industrial university of Ho Chi Minh city

Overhauling higher education

There are some 200 million students around the world, 50% of whom are women, a figure which has doubled in 15 years. These dynamics can be seen in all parts of the world, including in Africa, despite the fact that only 8% of young people achieved this level in 2014, when the global average stood at 34%. The challenge lies in managing the explosion in student numbers. 

AFD supports its partners’ initiatives to develop higher education provision that is more equitable, of better quality and more in line with the labor market. It supports industry sectors which have strong potential for occupations of the future and ensures there are exchanges between the sectors of higher education, research, innovation and the private sector.

2.5
billion euros committed by AFD since 2000
1
million children enrolled in school every year
13,0000
young people in training every year

AFD’s action is based on the fact that youth is a great asset and knowledge is today widely shared and accessible to the vast majority of people. At the same time, new forms of work are being created, alternative development models are being established, and civil society is having greater influence in the public debate. AFD supports and assists these movements via education, training and employment.

With EUR 326m, i.e. 70% of the budget AFD earmarks for this sector, Sub-Saharan Africa is the main region to benefit from our financing. 

On the economic front, education and training are essential investments for building green economies, which are prosperous because they are inclusive, dynamic, competitive, diversified and innovative. 

On the environmental front, one of the potential avenues for the future of education, training and employment lies in new energy and digital technologies. They will also ensure the transition towards a low-carbon economy, which the United Nations is calling for with the SDGs.
But education and training issues go well beyond the economic aspect. We know that education and training reduce inequalities – a breeding ground for the feeling of exclusion and factors which fuel crises –, while strengthening social cohesion and increasing resilience. They provide a common foundation on which the sense that everyone has of belonging to society is built. 
 

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