Basic education

Building basic work and life skills

Coloured pencils in a line

Poverty and educational deprivation are closely linked: a lack of educational is one of the main causes of material impoverishment. And poor people who have not received an education often pass on their poverty to the next generation.

A couple of years of kindergarten and primary school, however, are not enough to prepare someone to lead a self-determined life and enter the labour market. For the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), basic education comprises the following elements:

  • early-childhood education (kindergarten/preschool),
  • primary education (primary school),
  • lower secondary education (up to the first school-leaving certificate that allows students to begin vocational training)
  • and basic education for adults and young people geared towards helping them to catch up on missed schooling.

In order to ensure a smooth transition between the various levels of education, German development cooperation activities in the education sector may also include the upper secondary level.

Vocational education and training, which leads to the qualifications needed to pursue a specific trade, is a separate area of intervention altogether within German development cooperation. The following section deals with how German development cooperation supports primary and secondary education. More information on the support provided by the BMZ in the field of vocational training can be found here.

German activities

German development cooperation activities in this context are aimed at improving access to primary and secondary education and increasing the quality of the education on offer. Education is a priority area of cooperation in ten partner countries: Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Kosovo, Lebanon, Malawi, Mozambique, Togo and Yemen. In many other partner countries, education measures are integrated into projects in other priority areas, such as sustainable economic development or health.

In 2015, the BMZ disbursed 191 million euros for bilateral early-childhood, primary and secondary education programmes.

To find out more go to

BMZ glossary

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