The CapED Programme


© UNESCO/M.Hofer

About the CapED Programme

As part of its mandate to lead and coordinate global efforts for SDG4 and as set out in the Education 2030 Framework for Action, UNESCO is tasked with capacity development, facilitating policy dialogue and knowledge-sharing, providing policy advice and promoting normative instruments and South-South and triangular cooperation to assist countries to deliver on SDG4. The CapED programme is one of UNESCO’s key operational responses to assist countries achieve key national priorities in the context of SDG4. The Programme focuses on three priority areas to strengthen key components for SDG4: sector-wide policy and planning, skills for life and work, and teachers.

Reinforcing Education Sector-Wide Policies, Planning and Reforms

Evidence-based policy dialogue and the elaboration and implementation of solid education development plans are key to achieving nationally contextualized SDG4 targets.

CapED supports the operationalization of SDG4 through a focused pilot component in selected countries while maintaining its continuing comprehensive support to guide educational planning and shape reform agendas more generally. This is carried out through:

  • SDG4 Pilot: From commitment to action in 10 countries

The SDG4 pilot of the CapED Programme began in 2016 in ten selected countries with the aim to operationalize SDG4 commitments at the national level. Its objective is to review existing policies and plans in light of the SDG4 targets (component 1) and improve national data collection and analysis systems to better monitor progress towards them (component 2). CapED is working closely with UIS to implement the latter data component, whose key output will be the development of a national strategy for the development of education statistics (NSDES).

  • National Education Reforms, Plans and Policies

Beyond the pilot countries, CapED continues to support selected countries to conduct systematic and evidence-based planning and management processes of education systems. It also helps countries embark on broader reforms, including curricula reform and decentralization of education management.

Fostering skills for life and work

Lifelong learning is vital to millions of youth and adults who lack the necessary skills to improve their lives. To ensure it becomes a reality, countries must develop an inclusive approach to formal, non-formal and informal learning opportunities, with TVET and literacy and adult education as the main instruments, as highlighted by SDG 4 Targets 4.3, 4.4 and 4.6.

This priority area focuses on policy development for the creation of lifelong learning systems, and the effective delivery of relevant TVET and literacy and foundational skills programmes catering to disadvantaged groups, particularly girls and women. There are three priority intervention areas:

  • Policy development for TVET and literacy and Non Formal Education (NFE)

CapED supports educational reforms for the development and review of TVET policies. Similar support is extended to literacy and NFE policies to provide quality lifelong learning opportunities for people of all ages. It also works on the development of statistical frameworks and databases as well as the enhancement of the National Education Management Information System (EMIS) framework for effective monitoring.

  • Youth employment and entrepreneurship

CapED responds to the challenge of youth unemployment by developing capacities to tighten coordination and linkages between TVET provision and the labour market. It supports the design and delivery of innovative TVET programmes that cater to specific needs, especially girls and women and young people not in employment, education or training in disadvantaged areas.

  • Literacy skills for girls’ and women’s empowerment

CapED provides a targeted investment for gender-focused literacy interventions within a lifelong learning perspective. It works with beneficiary countries to develop, implement and scale up good quality, relevant and innovative adult education programmes targeting girls and women.


Improving quality through teachers

Teachers are the driving force for the provision of good quality education and one of the key means of implementation of SDG4 (Target 4.c). They are thus at the centre of CapED’s focus through three priority intervention areas:

  • Teacher policy development

CapED engages stakeholders and supports countries to develop and implement comprehensive policies that provide continuous professional development to better attract, train, allocate, manage and retain teaching personnel.

  • Training of teachers

CapED supports the strengthening of teacher-training institutions through the development of quality assessment frameworks and improvement plans, building 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.

  • Gender-sensitive approaches

CapED supports the review of programmes for the professional development of teachers from a gender-equality perspective. It seeks to equip teachers with gender training to enhance the chances of girls to learn effectively with a focus on adolescent girls’ access to and progress through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.