Inclusive and equitable quality education (SDG 4) is a human right and basis for sustainable development, the reduction of global poverty and peaceful coexistence. Education serves the full development of the personality. It can also close the gap between rich and poor and reduce inequalities.

Investing in education means investing in the future.


Despite positive developments in enrolment and completion rates, as well as in gender equality, the international community continues to face challenges. Globally, 258 million children are out of school, a figure that has stagnated in primary education since 2007 and in secondary education since 2012. Conflicts are a major reason for this stagnation.

The highest goal of SDG 4 is universal completion of secondary education. The world is still far from completing primary education by 2030, let alone secondary education. There are still high levels of educational inequality between countries, as well as within countries and between groups (such as girls and boys or between the poorest and the richest).

1 out of 5 children do not have adequate learning outcomes. This is mainly due to a lack of good quality education. Too many children are lacking adequately trained teachers, good school infrastructure or a safe, violence-free learning environment.

In many developing countries, there are not enough good educational opportunities. The situation is particularly difficult for people living in war and crisis zones and refugees, who are often completely cut off from education. Children who grow up without attending school are at risk of becoming a ‘lost generation’. Education is therefore particularly important in regions affected by violence, conflict and instability. Here educational projects can reduce conflict, restore stability and support reconstruction.

One of the biggest threats to achieving SDG 4 is the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis has brought education systems around the world to a standstill. School closures have affected more than 1.6 billion learners. The pandemic and school closures not only endangered children's health and safety, as domestic violence and child labour increased, but also significantly affected student learning. The proportion of children living in learning poverty - which was already over 50 percent before the pandemic - could reach 70 percent. This generation of students risks losing $17 trillion in lifetime income due to COVID-19-related school closures and economic shocks, equivalent to about 14 percent of today's global GDP.

GIZ supports ministries and school authorities in education sector reforms from early childhood education through primary and secondary education to TVET and higher education. The aim is to develop sustainable and high-performing education policies to ensure that all students - regardless of gender, income or physical conditions – can get an education that prepares them with the skills they need for the 21st century and the changing future of work.

We promote the strengthening of education governance in the sector, advising on early childhood education and the training of teachers and education personnel, as well as in the context of education, fragility and forced displacement. We complement support to other sectors through education and health and digitalization in education. We are guided by the principles of gender-sensitive education and girls’ education and leave no one behind (LNOB).

Additional information