Education and Development

Promoting education has been a priority field of intervention since the beginning of international development cooperation after the Second World War. On the one hand, access to education is a human right; on the other, education is seen as an important instrument for achieving poverty reduction, economic development, health and empowerment.

Decades of efforts have produced only mixed results. Although progress has been made in the area of primary education, there are still around 250 million out-of-school children globally. The adult illiteracy remains very high in some regions, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, while attendance rates at secondary and tertiary education level are low. There are also major educational disparities. Poor, underprivileged and rural population groups as well as women and girls are more restricted in their access to education and benefit less from participation in education than other social groups.

Overall, the education systems in many countries of the Global South are strongly characterised by their colonial past, which often makes them instruments of social selection. Globalisation and educational commodification tend to exacerbate educational inequalities both in a North-South dimension and within the countries of the Global South, which has become clear not least during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our main areas of work are:

  • Analysing current international education strategies in development cooperation
  • Analysing global and regional education policy
  • Vocational education and skills development
  • (Vocational) education, sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

For more information contact:

Margarita Langthaler

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

more information