Highlighted results

1.9 million children accessed basic education

61,000 children with new learning materials

107,000 girls reached in emergency settings

1,760 mid-career professionals with scholarships

Introduction

Despite impressive gains in recent decades, challenges persist in accessing inclusive and good-quality education. Some 263 million children do not attend primary or secondary education. There are also increasing concerns that even if children and young people attend school, they learn very little or acquire skills that fail to match labour market demands. Inequalities in education persist, characterised mainly by poverty, gender, disability, location, and migrant or refugee status. Moreover, young people increasingly find themselves lacking employment and future prospects.

To address these challenges, the Netherlands pledges itself to the vision of the SDG4 with six key policy objectives:

1. Improving universal access to primary and secondary education.

2. Improving learning outcomes in mathematics, reading and other relevant skills.

3. Improving educational opportunities in conflict-affected countries and emergencies.

4. Investing in young people’s skills development for empowerment and increased opportunities for economic and civic participation.

5. Improving equity and inclusion within education.

6. Improving individual and institutional knowledge and capacity development in higher education.

The Netherlands seeks to achieve these objectives through diplomacy and investments through global funds and bilateral programmes. In all of its activities, the Netherlands seeks close co-operation with a diverse set of actors.

Results 2019

The Netherlands invested in education and training through its support to two global funds – the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) - and the bilateral Orange Knowledge Program (OKP). Moreover, to support young people in meeting their educational and training needs and facilitate their transition to the labour market, a Youth Strategy was developed and a bilateral programme, NEXUS Skills and Jobs, was created. Since the programmes are in their initial phase, no results are yet reported (Read more).

In the ‘Universal Primary and Secondary Education’ results area, the Dutch contribution to the GPE benefited 1.9 million children in receiving basic education (primary and lower secondary) for a year. Furthermore, Dutch financing to the ECW contributed to 230,312 children receiving educational assistance.

In the ‘Improved Education Quality’ result area, through the Netherlands’ contribution to the GPE and the ECW, 61,035 children received learning materials, 930 classrooms were supported with infrastructure, 517 teachers were recruited and 1,683 teachers/administrators were trained.

Result areas

Universal primary and secondary education Improved education quality Equitable and inclusive education Higher education

Featured project education

Global Partnership for Education in the Sahel Region

The Netherlands supports the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in ensuring that even the most vulnerable children receive good quality education in the Sahel region. There are millions of children in this region who cannot go to school due to conflict, natural disasters or because they live in remote areas. The region also has a severe lack of qualified teachers.

The GPE invests in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, and works with their governments and development partners. Since 2003, the GPE has allocated close to $500 million to support children’s education in these countries. In Burkina Faso and Niger, the GPE has supported a curriculum reform to improve learning outcomes. In Mali, the GPE supported the government in re-opening schools in conflict-affected areas. GPE funding helped to rehabilitate and construct classrooms, provide meals to students, train teachers in psychosocial support and offer remedial teaching to displaced students.

Global Partnership for Education in the Sahel Region
Learn more at the GPE website

Girl raises her hand to participate in class. Photo credit: GPE/Michelle Mesen

Universal primary and secondary education

At the age of 11, Juliana is studying in the fifth grade. Each morning and evening, she travels four kilometres on foot to get to school and return home. She is motivated and loves learning. She wants to become a teacher. Photo credit: GPE

Universal access to primary and secondary education

The Netherlands is committed to the provision of 12 years of free, publicly funded, inclusive and quality primary and secondary education to all children. The percentage of children who completed primary education increased from 72% to 77% in developing countries in which the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is active and the percentage of children who completed lower secondary education increased from 48% to 52%. In addition, through our contribution to the GPE, 1.9 million children received basic education (primary and lower secondary) for a year. Furthermore, our contribution to the Education Cannot Wait programme enabled 230,312 children to receive educational assistance.

Open result area

At the age of 11, Juliana is studying in the fifth grade. Each morning and evening, she travels four kilometres on foot to get to school and return home. She is motivated and loves learning. She wants to become a teacher. Photo credit: GPE

In the past two decades, access to primary and secondary education has increased in many developing countries. Since 2000, some 89 million more children enrolled in primary education and 138 million more in secondary education. Nonetheless, in 2017, 64 million children of primary school age (corresponding to 9%), 61 million adolescents of lower secondary school age (16%) and 138 million youths of upper secondary school age (36%) were not in school. Hence, the total out-of-school population (aged 6-17) was 262 million (one in five). This challenge is most pronounced in sub-Saharan Africa, where the projected population increase is also the highest, exacerbating the pressure on education systems. Regrettably, progress in decreasing the number of out-of-school children at primary level has stalled since 2008, most notably in low income countries. In some countries, primary completion rates have even been reversed.

The Netherlands is committed to ensuring that all children have access to free primary and secondary education irrespective of their gender, location, wealth and ethnic or religious background. Increasing access to secondary education is essential to achieve the wider social and economic benefits of education. The Netherlands contributed to improving children and youth’s access to formal and non-formal education through the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) programmes. As a result of the GPE investments, the percentage of children who completed primary education increased from 72% to 77% in developing countries in which the GPE is active and the percentage of children who completed lower secondary education increased from 48% to 52%. In addition, 1.9 million children were supported for a year of basic education (primary and lower secondary) through Dutch funding. Furthermore, our support to the ECW programme enabled 230,312 children (aged 3-18 years) to receive educational assistance.

Education Cannot Wait – Initial Investment in Yemen

Education Cannot Wait – Initial Investment in Yemen

The situation in Yemen is considered the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today with approximately 80% of the population in need of humanitarian or protection assistance. Approximately 4.7 million children (of the total of 7.5 million children) need humanitarian assistance to ensure continuation of their education. More than 2,500 schools are no longer in a functional state and around 2 million children are out-of-school. Almost three quarters of public school teachers have not received their salaries for more than two years.

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) launched the Initial Investment in Yemen in 2017 (US$ 15 million). Since then it has reached 1.3 million children and youths (45% of whom are girls). The programme has provided safe learning spaces to children, supported 1.2 million students in preparing and taking national exams, and provided incentives for teachers whose salaries were not paid in conflict-affected regions. Moreover, the ECW has provided school feeding and educational materials to aid learning.

Read more about the programme on the ECW website

Education Cannot Wait’s funds have helped to provide safe learning spaces to girls and boys in Yemen. Photo credit: UNICEF Yemen

The Global Partnership for Education - Support to Ethiopia’s Education Sector Development Program V

Ethiopia joined the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in 2004. At the time, less than half of the country’s children were enrolled in primary school and those in school were not receiving quality education. GPE has been working closely with the Ethiopian government and development partners to strengthen the education system and improve educational opportunities. Today, 85% of Ethiopia’s children are enrolled in primary school. According to UNESCO projections, Ethiopia is making the fastest progress in improving the primary school completion rate in sub-Saharan Africa.

To further accelerate these positive developments, Ethiopia developed its fifth education sector plan for the period between 2015/16 and 2019/20. The sector plan focuses in particular on improving management of the education sector, increasing access to good quality pre-primary, primary and secondary education, and expanding life-long learning opportunities among youths for social and economic development.

Read more about the programme on the GPE website

Ethiopia's education system is getting stronger. Source: GPE

Externe link

UNESCO (2019) Global Education Monitoring Report. ‘Migration, displacement & education: Building bridges, not walls’. Paris: UNESCO.

Improved education quality

A teacher goes around the temporary classroom while correcting South Sudanese refugee students in grade two learning at the ECW-supported Tierkidi School No. 3, Refugee Camp, Itang Woreda, Gambella Region. Photo credit: UNICEF Ethiopia/Mersha

Improved education quality

There are increasing concerns that even if children and young people are at school, they are not learning enough or the knowledge and skills they learn are not relevant for the labour market. In fact, 53% of children in low- and lower-middle income countries cannot read at the age of 10. Hence, improving educational quality at all levels is an imperative. Our support to the Global Partnership for Education and the Education Cannot Wait contributed to the provision of individual learning materials to 61,035 children, support to 930 classrooms in the form of infrastructure or materials, recruitment and financial support to 479 teachers, and the training of 1,683 teachers.

Open result area

A teacher goes around the temporary classroom while correcting South Sudanese refugee students in grade two learning at the ECW-supported Tierkidi School No. 3, Refugee Camp, Itang Woreda, Gambella Region. Photo credit: UNICEF Ethiopia/Mersha

National and international efforts in the past two decades have led to substantial gains in access to education in many developing countries. Nonetheless, there are increasing concerns that even if children attend school, they are learning very little with millions lacking basic literacy and numeracy skills. Around 387 million primary school-aged children and 230 million lower-secondary school-aged adolescents are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics. [For further reference: please see UNICEF (2019). Every Child Learns & UNESCO (2019). Global Monitoring Report].

The pressing concerns over low education quality and the ongoing ‘learning crisis’ imply that increasing completion rates have had limited impact on children and young people’s learning outcomes in terms of numeracy, literacy and life skills. For education to have the expected impact on society and the economy, it must be of good quality. Good quality education is key to realising education’s promise for employment, earnings, health, poverty reduction, innovation, strengthening institutions and fostering social cohesion. Furthermore, low quality education tends to amplify socio-economic inequalities and divisions. This is because children and youths who are already disadvantaged in society due to poverty, ethnicity, gender, disability or location, learn the least. Such inequitable access to knowledge in schooling contexts is likely to result in further social and economic exclusion.

The Netherlands aims to promote the development of foundational, transferable, technical and vocational and digital skills. Foundational skills refer to fundamental academic knowledge and comprehension, including literacy and numeracy. Transferable skills include higher-order cognitive skills as well as socio-emotional skills, such as critical thinking, analysis, problem solving, communication, resilience, leadership, empathy, emotional awareness and honesty. Technical and vocational skills can be defined as the specific knowledge required to carry out an occupation and are often equated with “job skills” in policy circles. These skills are most relevant to the main purpose of the occupation. Changes in technology mean that people need to be able to use information and technology equipment and systems. Hence, digital skills are also increasingly listed among technical skills.

The Netherlands considers education quality as a key policy issue and aims to contribute to the development of knowledge and a range of contextually relevant skills and competencies. To improve student learning outcomes, our contribution to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and Education Cannot Wait (ECW) enabled 61,035 children to receive individual learning materials; 930 classrooms were supported with infrastructure or classroom materials in an effort to enhance the learning environment; 479 teachers/administrators were recruited and financially supported; and 1,683 teachers/administrators were trained. Furthermore, 30% of the GPE partner countries had fewer than 40 pupils per trained teacher (a key quality indicator) and 84 % of national education plans had teaching and learning strategies that met quality standards.

Mother-tongue curriculum to improve literacy in Niger

Mother-tongue curriculum to improve literacy in Niger

Niger has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. There are 10 ethnic groups in Niger with 10 different local languages. However, under Niger’s traditional primary school curriculum, students learn in French from teachers who only speak French and not the local languages. A teacher comments: ‘It is really difficult to teach students who understand nothing but their own local language… It is painful, frustrating and challenging because I have to ask a question so many times before they start to understand.’

The government introduced a new curriculum which uses local language almost exclusively in the early grades and gradually introduces more and more French over the students’ six years of primary school. A grant from the Global Partnership for Education has been helping Niger to improve the quality of teaching and learning by developing textbooks and teacher guides in three local languages, reviewing the curriculum and providing pre-service and in-service training for teachers.

Read more about the programme on the GPE website

Ecole Madina III, Niamey, Niger. Kadidia has been a teacher for 19 years and for all but the last two years she has taught using the traditional Francophone curriculum. Photo Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch

Getting it right; building strong foundations for learning, Sierra Leone

The Global Partnership for Education is supporting the "Getting it right; building strong foundations for learning" programme in Sierra Leone. A key objective of the programme is to improve learning outcomes in reading, writing and mathematics for early grade 1-3 students. For this purpose, the programme provides in-service teacher training.

Teacher education is indispensable for improving education quality in Sierra Leone because many teachers are unqualified. In 2016, 41% of male teachers and 28% of female teachers lacked formal teaching qualification or were teaching with a qualification below the required standard. As Sierra Leone operates a classroom teacher approach, a whole school approach is necessary with sufficient implementation time required to upskill teachers, shift behaviours and improve pedagogy. The programme will target all public schools, given the pervasiveness of challenges and poor indicators in learning outcomes.

Read more about the programme on the GPE website

Sierra Leone, the power of great teaching. Source: GPE

External link

UNESCO (2014). ‘Teaching and learning: achieving quality for all; EFA global monitoring report, 2013-2014’. Paris: UNESCO.

Equitable and inclusive education

Colette is 19 and lost her right arm after the roof of her house fell onto her due to heavy rain. She's in 12th grade at the Tchaourou high school and would like to become a social worker. Photo credit: GPE

Equitable and inclusive education

The Netherlands views equity and inclusion for all as a key priority in its policy approach and an integral part of good-quality education. Hence, the Netherlands is committed to making sure that all girls and boys have equal educational opportunities, irrespective of their socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity, disability, location or migrant and refugee status. Within this policy framework, special emphasis is given to gender equality at all levels of education. Through our investments in the Global Partnership for Education and Educational Cannot Wait, 107,772 girls were reached in emergency settings and 150 gender-sensitive latrines were built or rehabilitated.

Open result area

Colette is 19 and lost her right arm after the roof of her house fell onto her due to heavy rain. She's in 12th grade at the Tchaourou high school and would like to become a social worker. Photo credit: GPE

Inequalities in education have been a persistent challenge in low-income contexts, as well as many middle- and-high-income countries, characterised mainly by poverty, gender, ethnicity, disability, location, language and migrant and refugee status. Moreover, half of all children with disabilities in developing countries are excluded from school. Only 19% of low-income countries (LICs) and 17% of lower- middle-income countries (LMICs) have achieved gender parity. Girls are disadvantaged in 62% of LICs while it is boys who are disadvantaged in 63% of LMICs. There are also gender disparities in learning outcomes and leadership positions in favour of boys. [For further reference: please see UNICEF (2019). Every Child Learns & UNESCO (2019). Global Monitoring Report].

The Netherlands views equity as an integral part of good-quality education. Equity concerns not only access, enrolment, retention and completion rates. For an education system to be equitable, it needs to mobilise the potential of education to address economic, political and social inequalities, and advance the opportunities available to disadvantaged groups. The Netherlands is specifically committed to empowering women and girls, not only by strengthening their rights to good-quality education but also their rights within and through education. This policy focus requires attention to the quality of girls and women’s experiences in educational settings (e.g. addressing gender-based violence in schools), as well as the opportunities they realise through education (e.g. employment and greater influence in private and public spheres).

Through our contribution to the GPE and the ECW programmes 107,772 girls were reached in emergency settings and 150 gender-sensitive latrines were built or rehabilitated. In the reporting period, the percentage of girls in the out-of-school children and youths segment reached through the ECW increased from 46% to 49%, while the percentage of partner countries within the GPE programme at or close to gender parity in primary completion increased from 66% to only 67%. Children with disabilities are a key target group in those programmes as they are among the most disadvantaged. Within ECW, for example, the percentage of countries in protracted crises targeted with inclusive education for children and youth with disabilities increased from 23% to 26%.

Overcoming Education Challenges for The Most Disadvantaged Children in Eritrea

Overcoming Education Challenges for The Most Disadvantaged Children in Eritrea

Eritrea is a multicultural country with approximately 65% of the population living in rural areas. Eritrea’s complex geographical terrain coupled with the population’s nomadic lifestyle and austere economic conditions pose a challenge for the delivery of quality education for all children and young people. The most marginalised groups are girls, children living in remote or nomadic areas and children with disabilities. Several challenges hinder their education, including long distances to school aggravated by severe temperatures or strong dusty winds. Schools in rural areas face difficulties in securing teachers and lack adequate learning materials.

To improve educational inclusivity, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) has been implementing a programme that focuses on three pillars: classroom construction, teaching and learning materials, and adult education. As a result of this initiative, around 19,000 children - of whom 42% are girls - are now in school.

Read more about the programme on the GPE website

Thanks to the support of a GPE grant, communities in several districts in Eritrea are participating in school construction to build newer classrooms. Photo credit: GPE/Fazle Rabbani

Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda

In recent years, Uganda was impacted by three parallel emergencies in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi. Currently, Uganda hosts approximately 1.3 million refugees (60% of which are children), making it Africa’s largest refugee hosting country. To ensure improved learning outcomes for increasing numbers of refugee and host-community children and youths, the government of Uganda developed the ‘Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host-Communities in Uganda’. Education Cannot Wait (ECW) has provided financial support and technical expertise.

The overall objective of the plan is to ensure that children and youths from the refugee and host communities access quality learning opportunities. The plan also seeks to develop skills and livelihood opportunities for out-of-school adolescents and youths. It is targeting an average of 567,500 refugees and host community members per school calendar year, between January 2018 and June 2021.

Read more about the programme on the ECW website

Delivering education to refugee children in Uganda. Source: ECW

External link

UNESCO (2020). Inclusion and Education, The Global Monitoring Report. Paris: UNESCO.

Higher education

In a pilot at two TVET schools, Dutch and Indonesian education institutions have been collaborating to revise the curriculum to better align horticultural education to private sector – through practical skills education. Photo credit: Nuffic

Higher education

Higher education is key to improving education quality at all educational levels and to stimulating innovation, knowledge acquisition and skills development. The Netherlands supports individual and institutional knowledge development, and contributes to building research capacity and strengthening co-operation between Dutch higher education institutions and those in the partner countries. Through the Orange Knowledge Program (OKP), 1,760 mid-career professionals received scholarships for Master's degrees and short courses, 1,460 individuals benefited from group training, 420 graduates took refresher courses and 13 institutional collaboration projects were supported.

Open result area

In a pilot at two TVET schools, Dutch and Indonesian education institutions have been collaborating to revise the curriculum to better align horticultural education to private sector – through practical skills education. Photo credit: Nuffic

Although education in general is key to achieving many SDGs, higher education in particular has a distinctive position in leading the implementation of many internationally agreed goals and creating a sustainable future through their core activities – teaching, research and dissemination. Higher education institutions stimulate innovation, knowledge acquisition and the development of a range of skills, attitudes and values among youths who will eventually hold key positions in society. They produce research that can provide an empirical basis for contextually relevant policies and strategic approaches to achieve the SDGs. Higher education institutions are also important for promoting dialogue and spaces for collaboration between diverse national and international stakeholders, and they play a significant role in disseminating knowledge and good practices. Nonetheless, higher education cannot fulfil these roles effectively in many low-income countries due to low-quality education and concerns about institutional development and research capacity.

The Netherlands’ commitment to higher education encompasses support to individual and institutional knowledge development, building research capacity and strengthening bilateral contacts and co-operation between higher education institutions in the Netherlands and those in the partner countries. On a more individual level, providing scholarships to professionals from partner countries helps to raise international knowledge and expertise levels – and to build a strong Ambassador’s network of Holland alumni. Through the Orange Knowledge Program (OKP), managed by Nuffic, the Netherlands offers scholarships, training and institutional partnerships between education institutions in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and higher education. All of these activities relate to the four priority themes of Dutch development co-operation: i) Food and nutrition security, ii) Water, energy and climate, iii) Sexual and reproductive health and rights, and iv) Security and the rule of law.

As a result of our investments made through the Orange Knowledge Program, 1,760 mid-career professionals received scholarships for Master's degrees and short courses, 1,460 individuals benefited from group training, 420 graduates benefited from refresher courses and 13 institutional collaboration projects were supported.

When the sky is the limit.

When the sky is the limit.

Drones are already being used by the Jordanian military for security measures but they have not yet been put to use in other sectors, like agriculture and water. The University of Jordan and the University of Twente have set up a joint program to explore the ways in which these drones can aid the protection, production and sustainable management of forests and agricultural areas in Jordan.

Through funding by the Orange Knowledge Program, the Netherlands supports a three-phase Tailor-Made Training programme that reaches 23 participants from 7 institutions (such as the Ministry of Agriculture, the University of Jordan and the Ministry of Water and Irrigation). The training programme consists of lectures, practical sessions and case studies on innovation and drone usage for forestry and agriculture. This knowledge and expertise is of high importance in a region that struggles with drought and water waste and will create more research and job opportunities for the Jordanian population in the future.

Read more about the project on Nuffic website

In collaboration with the University of Twente, agricultural organisations in Jordan are exploring how remote sensing applications can contribute to sustainable food production and water management. Photo credit: Nuffic

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Yemen

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Yemen

“In my country, sexual and reproductive rights are luxuries we don’t talk about,” says Maha Ahmed Abdulla Basodan, one of the participants in the Tailor-Made Training Plus programme on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in Yemen. This longer-term training programme, which runs over a two-year period, focuses on Yemeni health care providers and other health and social development officials to make them more aware of SRHR and how to improve and protect these rights in times of war and conflict. Together with the Dutch KIT Royal Tropical Institute, the participants explore ways to improve SRHR through a combined human rights and health care-based approach.

The Netherlands supports these group training sessions through the Orange Knowledge Program, which gives local health consultants like Maha the opportunity to address sexual violence in her home country and to ultimately find sustainable solutions.

Read more about these and other training courses on Nuffic website

The Tailor-Made Training Plus course in Jordan was especially made for Yemeni health care providers. Photo credit: Nuffic

External Link

Orange Knowledge Program – Nuffic

Students at a primary school in Kenya. Photo credit: GPE

Background information theme education

Additional sources

You can find exactly how the budget was allocated in 2019 and which projects were funded on our budget website.

  1. Visit the website
    Programme budget Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
  2. Select financial year 2019

Expenditure by channel

Metric

The budget in this figure is for the year 2019 and does not completely correspond with the results on this page, which have been collected between Oct 2018 and Oct 2019. More information on this can be found on the 'About the results report' page.