Education is an essential factor for poverty reduction and development. For this reason, inclusive, equitable and quality education is anchored in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as Goal 4. Education can have a sustainable impact at the social, economic, political and cultural levels. Hence well-educated people also have better opportunities for employment and participation in society. In addition to developing and ensuring quality in the education sector, Austria is committed to inclusion. Enabling even more people to have equal access to vocational and higher education is therefore an objective of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the agency of Austrian Development Cooperation.

Higher Education, Science and Research
A well-functioning and efficient higher education system is essential both for sustainable national social and economic development and for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). People with a higher education degree are well positioned to fill key leadership and expert positions, contribute to scientific research and innovation and are better prepared for the skills requirements of the global knowledge society. This is why ADA strengthens educational institutions and builds local expert capacity.

Cooperation in the areas of higher education and research aims to support partner countries in gaining scientific and technological independence and in narrowing the North-South divide. ADA promotes both South-South cooperation and networking between universities in Austria and its partner countries. The Austrian Partnership Programme in Higher Education and Research for Development (APPEAR) showcases how Austrian Development Cooperation strengthens the capacities of higher education institutions in teaching, research and management.

Vocational Education and Training (VET) and the Labour Market
Vocational education and training (VET) facilitates access to adequately paid work and opens up prospects for productive employment. A well-educated and qualified population often leads to greater social stabilit, as education gives people the opportunity to create better living conditions and actively participate in economic and social life. In pursuit of these outcomes, ADA promotes the development of modern educational services and the establishment of effective national VET systems. Close cooperation among the education sector, the private sector and social partner organisations plays an increasingly important role in fostering the economic benefits of VET system reform.

ADA supports formal and non-formal training and education, aligned with actual labour-market needs and combined with work-based learning elements. Gaining occupational skills and knowledge is essential especially for marginalized population groups and regions.

Principles of Cooperation
ADA aligns its programmes and projects with both the development as well as educational and science strategies of its partner countries and collaborates with other bilateral donors, multilateral organisations, the European Union, expert bodies, educational institutions, the private sector and academic community. Austrian Development Cooperation pays particular attention to designing needs-based and sustainable programmes in order to ensure long-term development. Within the framework of the Donor Committee for dual VET, Austria cooperates with Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein in developing and disseminating dual VET approaches in development cooperation.