About the Education Sector

UNESCO’s Education Sector is the largest in UNESCO with some 400 staff working at the Paris headquarters and spread across a global network of 52 field offices and specialized institutes and centres.

Since 2015, UNESCO has a new role leading the coordination and monitoring of the Global Education 2030 Agenda. The vision of the Education Sector, under the authority of the Assistant Director-General for Education, is captured in Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. The roadmap for the agenda is the Framework for Action.

With its close links with education ministries and other partners in 193 countries, UNESCO is in a key position to press for action and change.


Some 120 staff members work in the Education Sector in Paris. The Sector is composed of the Executive Office and four Divisions (Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems; Inclusion, Peace and Sustainable Development; Education 2030 Support and Coordination and the Global Education Monitoring Report).

Field Offices

UNESCO has 52 field offices where staff devoted to education maintain close relations with governments, development partners and civil society. 

UNESCO Institutes and Centres for Education

Six Institutes and two Centres work as part of UNESCO’s Education Sector to assist countries in tackling their particular education challenges.

  • The International Bureau of Education (Geneva Switzerland): works to enhance curriculum development and education content. More.
  • The International Institute for Education Planning (Paris, France, Buenos Aires, Argentina and Dakar, Senegal): helps countries design, plan and manage their education systems. More.
  • The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (Hamburg, Germany): promotes lifelong learning policy and practice, with a focus on adult education literacy and non-formal education. More.
  • The Institute for Information Technologies in Education (Moscow, Russian Federation): assists countries in the use of information and communication technologies in education. More.
  • The International Institute for Higher Education in Latin American and the Caribbean (Caracas, Venezuela): promotes the development of higher education in the region. More.
  • The International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia): helps strengthen Africa’s educational institutions with a focus on teachers. More.
  • The Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (New Delhi, India): specialises in research, knowledge-sharing and policy formulation for peace, sustainability and global citizenship. More.
  • The International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (UNESCO-UNEVOC) (Bonn, Germany): assists Member States develop policies and practices concerning education for the world of work and skills development for employability and citizenship. More.

Category 2 Centres

Category 2 Centres are recognized as an important extension of UNESCO’s programme delivery arm and a means to raise UNESCO’s profile in Member States.  UNESCO’s Education Sector works closely with 11 Category 2 Centres. 

  • Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU). More.
  • International Centre for Girls’ and Women’s Education in Africa (CIEFFA). More.
  • International Centre for Higher Education Innovation. More.
  • International Mother Language Institute (IMLI). More.
  • International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (INRULED). More.
  • Regional Centre for Adult Education (ASFEC)
  • Regional Centre for Early Childhood Care and Education in the Arab States (RCECCE)
  • Regional Centre for Educational Planning (RCEP). More.
  • Regional Centre of Quality and Excellence in Education (RCQE). More.
  • South Asian Centre for Teacher Development (SACTD)
  • South-East Asian Centre for Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development (SEA-CLLSD)


UNESCO also works through its extensive global education networks including:

Education Partners

Partnerships are a key enabler to meet global challenges and generate sustainable change and long-lasting impact. UNESCO works with a variety of partners at national, regional and global levels. For the Education 2030 Agenda, the Organization’s co-convening agencies are UNICEF, the World Bank, the UN Development Programme, the UN High Commission for Refugees, the UN Population Fund, UN Women and the International Labour Organisation. UNESCO also works closely with development partners from bilateral and multinational donors to organizations such as the Global Partnership for Education and the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation.

The Organization maintains continuous dialogue with civil society through the Collective Consultation of NGOs on Education which has close to 300 national, regional and international member organizations. The private sector, including business enterprises, philanthropic and corporate foundations, and individuals, is also involved as a partner in programme delivery, advocacy and awareness-raising activities.