As a major factor for poverty reduction and sustainable development, education can make a key contribution to social, economic, political and cultural development. Well-trained people have better opportunities to find employment and take part in social development. In addition to raising and assuring quality in the education sector, Austria is also committed to inclusion. The Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation, aims at giving even more people equal access to vocational education and training and higher education.

Higher education, science and reasearch

A functioning and efficient higher education system is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and sustainable national social and economic development. Well-educated people meet the local need for qualified workforce and are prepared for the demands of the global knowledge society. This is why ADA attaches importance to strengthening educational institutions and building expert capacity.

Cooperation in the research sector seeks to free developing countries from scientific and technological dependence and narrow the North-South gap. ADA promotes South-South cooperation and networking between universities in Austria and its partner countries. In this context, the Austrian Partnership Programme in Higher Education and Research for Development (APPEAR) strengthens the capacities of higher education institutions in teaching, research and management. 


Vocational education and training affords access to adequately paid work and prospects for productive employment. ADA therefore supports the establishment and further development of modern national VET systems, with cooperation among the education sector, business and industry and special interest groups playing a growing role.

ADA supports tailor-made training courses at school and out-of-school level geared to practice and labour-market needs. Learning directly in enterprises is an important aspect of this. Gaining occupational skills and knowledge plays an important role for marginalized population groups and regions in particular.

Principles of cooperation

ADA aligns its programmes and projects with the development, educational and science strategies of its partner countries and collaborates with other bilateral donors, multilateral organisations, the European Union, expert bodies, educational institutions, private sector and the academic community. To guarantee long-term development, Austria pays particular attention to designing needs-based and sustainable programmes.