Education and Development

Education has been a priority intervention area ever since the start of international development cooperation after World War II. Access to education is a human right and furthermore, education is seen as an important instrument for achieving poverty reduction, economic development, health and empowerment.

Still, decades of efforts are only showing mixed results and disparities in education are strongly pronounced. Despite substantial progress, not all children in countries in the Global South attend primary school and the adult illiteracy rate in many of these countries is still very high, while attendance rates at secondary and tertiary education institutions are low.

Part of the problem lies with the fact that poor, underprivileged and rural populations are more restricted in their access to education and thus benefit less from education participation than other social groups. This is particularly true for women and girls. Overall, in many developing countries education systems are strongly influenced by the country's colonial past, thus turning them into an instrument of social selection. Furthermore, globalisation and the commodification of education tend to exacerbate the disparities in education in both a north-south context as well as between different social groups within countries in the Global South.

ÖFSE analyses both current international education strategies in the context of development cooperation as well as the ambivalent role of education in international development. On this basis, it makes proposals and recommendations on the conditions under which education can contribute to inclusive and sustainable development. The current focus lies on the topics of vocational education and skills development as well as education and the Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information contact:

Margarita Langthaler

Ms. Margarita Langthaler
Senior Researcher
Tel.: +43 1 317 40 10 – 112  

more information