Strengthening education systems in the poorest countries: Switzerland supports the efforts of the Global Partnership for Education

Press release, 05.07.2017

At its meeting on 5 July 2017, the Federal Council approved the continuation of Switzerland's financial contribution to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) for the 2017 to 2020 period, in the amount of CHF 36 million. The GPE is a priority fund for the SDC's multilateral cooperation work. Through its support for the education systems of the world's poorest countries, it is helping to ensure that everyone can attend school, and thanks to its backing, an additional 64 million children were enrolled in school in 2014.

Education plays a central role in reducing poverty by giving children and young people brighter prospects to improve their living conditions and get a firm foothold in the labour market. Improving education thus provides answers to the global challenges of population growth, urbanisation, climate change, and conflicts. Education is also a means of improving the socio-economic conditions of the poorest countries, as well as those of migrant populations, refugees and internally displaced persons, both in their host countries and in their countries of origin. Progress has been made in primary schooling, but challenges still remain to ensure universal access to quality basic education. About 263 million children and youth worldwide do not attend school, nearly half of whom live in conflict zones. With the support of the GPE, 64 million additional children were enrolled in school in 2014. The proportion of children completing primary school increased by 7.6% in the GPE partner countries (2008–12). The number of out-of-school children declined by 4.4% in the GPE partner countries, compared to 2.9% in all developing countries. The primary completion rate for girls increased from 56% in 2002 to 71% in 2014.

Switzerland supports the Global Partnership for Education in order to strengthen education systems in the poorest countries. By strengthening education systems to improve access and the quality of education, the GPE responds to current educational challenges. The GPE raises funds from public and private sources and encourages the countries that benefit from them to increase their own funding for basic education. Over the past decade, the GPE has directly invested more than CHF 4.6 billion in education in partner developing countries. Furthermore, public spending on education in GPE partner countries increased from 3.9% to 4.8% of GDP between 2000 and 2011. The GPE targets the poorest countries and fragile contexts, to which it allocates nearly 50% of its funds. Switzerland is an influential member of the GPE and has been a member of its board of directors since 2015. The objectives of the GPE are aligned with the sustainable development goal (SDG) for education and thus contribute to "ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning"(SDG 4).

Switzerland's contribution to the GPE will amount to CHF 36 million for the 2017–20 period. This contribution is in line with the Dispatch on Switzerland's International Cooperation 2017–2020, which recognises education as a priority theme and which provides for a 50% increase in resources allocated to education – the GPE's primary focus.

Address for enquiries:

FDFA Information
Tel. +41 58 462 31 53


The Federal Council
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs