What you need to know about capacity development for education

Last update: 16 June 2022

Why does UNESCO consider capacity-building so important?

UNESCO believes one of the best ways to transform education is from within by assisting countries to strengthen their education systems with an aim to achieve the targets of the 2030 Agenda and provide quality education for all. Its CapED programme is an effective mechanism to engage in country-level reforms and policy dialogue, bringing together the Organization’s expertise through its specialized institutes and field network. 

How does UNESCO work in this area?

UNESCO calls on its worldwide network of specialized institutes and offices and works with partners to assist countries as they develop and implement national plans to improve education quality. The programme’s tried and tested approach builds strong national ownership to drive development processes and draws on a wide variety of in-house technical expertise. The work includes training education officers in policy design, planning and analysis and teachers, curriculum developers and school principals in the development, adaptation, delivery and monitoring of education content, supporting distance learning and mobilizing funds. The programme has three priority areas, policy and planning, skills for life and work and teachers with girls, women, and population groups and regions most in need also targeted. It brings local actors, decentralized departments and ministries together, often for the first time, and reaches out to the development community to forge partnerships that complement efforts, share knowledge and spread innovative practices. 

How does UNESCO work in the three priority areas?

Reinforcing education sector-wide policies, planning and reforms 

UNESCO assists countries in mapping, revising and developing policies, strategies and plans for education systems all with the targets of SDG4 in mind. It works alongside stakeholders to reinforce their capacities to undertake evidence-based education reforms that fit into their national priorities. It supports countries in implementing education management information systems which help them to identify policy and implementation gaps holding back the development of their education systems.  

Skills for work and life 

CapED's support in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) focuses on helping countries develop holistic, evidence-based, inclusive and gender-responsive policies, plans and strategies to promote TVET, literacy and non-formal education. The work aims to ensure the acquisition of fundamental skills and flexible paths to learning as well as foster youth employment and entrepreneurship, in particular, for women, girls and vulnerable groups.  

Improving quality through teachers 

CapED focuses on comprehensive teacher policies and strengthening teacher training institutions through the development of quality assessment frameworks and improvement plans. It also builds capacities for pre- and in-service teacher training programmes, curricula development, pedagogical supervision for continuing support in the classroom, and the piloting and scaling-up of successful initiatives and teaching practices, with an emphasis on gender-sensitive approaches.  

How important is capacity-building in times of crises?

The flexibility of the CapED Programme allows UNESCO to quickly adapt to changing environments and priorities in response to emergencies. For example, when COVID-19 struck, the programme was able to quickly deploy support, expertise and resources where they were most needed including supporting countries to develop radio or television distance education programmes, robust COVID-19 Education Response plans, and training in new pedagogies and ICT skills for teachers to help them adapt to teaching remotely. 

Why does this programme have donors?

The CapED Programme functions with extrabudgetary funding and pools funds from various countries to benefit the work undertaken with the 26 least developed and crisis-effected countries. The funding model allows the programme to be flexible, adapting to ever-changing needs and priorities. Donors receive an Annual Report, as well as regular evaluations of the programme. 

How to donate?

The CapEDProgramme is currently financed by Finland, France, Iceland, Norway, Sweden. Former donors include Azerbaijan, Denmark, Dubai Cared and Switzerland.  

If you are interested in supporting the CapED Programme, please contact us for more information at caped@unesco.org.