Switzerland increases funding to IIEP-UNESCO

13 November 2018


Suzanne Grant Lewis, Director of IIEP-UNESCO, His Excellency Martin Michelet, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Switzerland to UNESCO, and Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO, on 13 October 2018.

The UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP-UNESCO) welcomed on 13 November 2018 a significant increase in funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to support its efforts in helping countries efficiently plan and manage their education systems.

Over the next four years, Switzerland will provide IIEP-UNESCO with CHF 15 million (US $14.9 million), more than doubling its previous contribution of 6 million CHF for 2014-2017.

Recalling Switzerland’s full commitment to the Agenda 2030, Ambassador Martin Michelet, Permanent Delegate of Switzerland to UNESCO, underlined that “there is no development without education. The ambitious targets the Agenda 2030 set for education require joint and complementary action. UNESCO and IIEP along with other partners play a crucial role in the implementation of SDG 4.”

Sabina Handschin, SDC’s Education focal point, added, “Switzerland’s engagement in education includes enhanced policy dialogue and practice for effective, efficient, and resilient national education systems, inclusive and equitable for all. IIEP’s effectiveness and convincing results in developing sound education sector plans and respective national capacities are to be supported.”

“We’re extremely grateful for this substantial increase in financial support from our valued partner, the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation,” said IIEP Director Suzanne Grant Lewis. “This renewed commitment will let us push forward with our mission to support countries in planning and managing inclusive and resilient education systems that will help prepare today’s youth for an ever-changing tomorrow.” 

SDC’s support will enhance IIEP’s integrated approach to capacity development, which includes a variety of training programmes for educational planners and managers, evidenced-based research, and technical support to countries worldwide.

The new Swiss funds will also strengthen IIEP’s response to its five thematic priorities, which include reducing educational disparities, improving learning outcomes, enhancing the resilience of education systems in the face of crises, improving governance and accountability, and securing equitable and sustainable financing for education.

In the coming years, the support from Switzerland will enable IIEP-UNESCO to maintain multi-year engagements with governments across the world from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, to Haiti. New applied research projects will also cover teachers for refugees, understanding the barriers to putting learning assessment data to use in the planning cycle, the role of open school data, as well as foresight research to anticipate some of the challenges ministries of education and other stakeholders may face in the future.

Education, and more specifically basic education and vocational skills development, is a top priority for the SDC. The new contribution to IIEP is also in line with Agency’s current strategy and commitment to supporting countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). IIEP-UNESCO will also help Switzerland pursue its strategy through regular substantive exchanges, collaboration with other key SDC partners such as the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), NORRAG, and the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), and by building synergies in country programmes.

The continuation of the IIEP-UNESCO and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s partnership comes at a critical time for education worldwide. While global statistics show that more people than ever before are benefiting from an education, 263 million young people are out of school, 617 million are not proficient in reading, writing, or mathematics, and at least 750 million adults are illiterate. Large disparities also remain in quality, equity, and learning outcomes within and between countries.

Educational planning, which embraces a participatory approach and is not just a one-off activity but consistently revisited, is key to achieving all of the targets of SDG 4 for education.