Equitable opportunities and quality education for a better future

Project description

Project or programme title: Sector Programme Education
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2014 to 2017

Students in the library, Ethiopia. © GIZ / Heather Oh


Education is both a human right and a driver of sustainable development. Yet despite the successes achieved in recent decades, about 59 million children around the world are still denied access to education. Too few students make the transition to secondary or tertiary education or enter into vocational training.

Many education systems around the world face the twin challenges of inadequate access and poor quality. Even after attending school for a number of years, around 250 million children and young people lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. Low access to, and poor quality of education are often the result of inadequate education planning as well as underfunding of the education sector.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has made education a key area of German development policy. Germany supports its partner countries in pursuing national and international education objectives and is increasingly positioning itself in the global education agenda. BMZ has adopted an education strategy with a holistic approach that prioritises greater quality as well as equal opportunities for all in all areas of education.


BMZ’s enhanced positions on education in development cooperation are promoted at all levels of German and international development policy.

Schoolgirls at a primary school in Yemen. © GIZ / Nashwan Al-Sumari


BMZ’s enhanced positions on education in development cooperation are promoted at all levels of German and international development policy.


The Sector Programme Education advises BMZ’s ‘Education and digital world’ division on all areas of the education sector except technical and vocational education and training:

  • Core issues: gender equality, quality of education, inclusion and equity, strengthening the education system, education finance, the use of information and communication technologies
  • Multilateral topics, such as global education financing
  • Regional and country group-specific topics, in particular education in situations of displacement and migration
  • Wider basic education, including early childhood, primary and secondary education, non-formal education and literacy training
  • Higher education and research

Policy and strategy development
The programme supports BMZ in monitoring its education strategy, and it provides advice on the 2030 Education Agenda, which is part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Sustainable Development Goal 4 of the Agenda reads: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. How this can be achieved is described in UNESCO’s Education 2030 Framework for Action.

Technical advice
On behalf of BMZ, the programme develops background papers on current education topics. It provides advice on BMZ position papers, commissions and supervises research, and supports statements issued by the ministry.

National and international coordination and events
GIZ supports the preparation and implementation of national and international events. On behalf of BMZ, it contributes to committees and working groups.

Cooperation with multilateral actors
The programme advises BMZ on its work in the Global Partnership for Education. Among other multilateral activities, it also supports cooperation with the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies, with the Mobiles for Education Alliance and the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030.

Results achieved so far

The Sector Programme Education supported BMZ in producing its new education strategy. Since 2015, this strategy has provided a frame of reference for German development cooperation. The programme has also provided the ministry with in-depth advice regarding the Agenda 2030 in the context of national and international coordination processes. The German contributions to the formulation of the 2030 Education Agenda have been largely accepted. Germany was involved in establishing the strategic orientation of the Global Partnership for Education, and contributed to its 2020 strategic plan.

German development cooperation has assumed a leading role internationally with respect to digital technologies for education in the context of crises, conflicts and displacement. The programme has introduced this topic in international conferences and has published two studies in collaboration with its partners from the Mobiles for Education Alliance.

Schoolgirl at a primary school in Benin © GIZ / Olliver Girad