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Building peace in the minds of men and women

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 53 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 53 field offices where staff devoted to education maintain close relations with governments, development partners and civil society. 

UNESCO Category 1 Institutes

UNESCO Category 1 Institutes work as part of UNESCO’s Education Sector to assist countries in tackling their particular education challenges.

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 15 Category 2 Centres. 


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, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and Education International.

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.