Demand for education is soaring. The number of higher education students is projected to more than double by 2025. Most of this growth will come from the emerging markets. While the number of children out of school globally may have dropped sharply during the 1990s, it remains unacceptably high in some regions, especially for girls. Meanwhile, youth unemployment continues to grow globally, even as employers report difficulty in finding workers with the right skills.

To advance Sustainable Development Goal 4 in higher education, IFC is hosting its 9th Global Education Conference on March 6-7, 2024, in Mexico City, where we explore the private sector’s role in promoting digital innovation, new operating models, and learning solutions to ensure students in low- and middle-income countries can succeed in today’s competitive labor market. Learn more and register today.

The impact of IFC clients in 2021:

  • 816 K
    Students reached
  • 412 K
    Female students reached

At a Glance

In FY22, our new long-term commitments in health and education totaled about $978 million, including $168 million mobilized from other investors.

Focus Areas


IFC's helps universities create a customized strategy for digitalization, integrating global best practices, decision-making frameworks, and potential financing opportunities to thrive in a digital world.


To help students flourish during times of change and increased digitalization, IFC helps institutions better match the skills they teach to the demands of the labor market, while preparing students for the global workforce of tomorrow.

Thought Leadership

IFC works to spread awareness of innovative strategies and industry best practices that can help post-secondary institutions fulfill their critical role in supporting global education goals.

Public Private Partnerships

IFC helps public tertiary institutions thrive by making use of the expertise and efficiency of the private sector. We help governments raise capital and spur development. 


Insights & Reports


Stories of Impact


IFC freeze on investment in K-12 private, fee-charging education

IFC has decided to maintain its freeze on investments in K-12 private, fee-charging schools, in line with a June, 2022 recommendation by the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) . This decision applies to our direct investments, advisory work, and indirect investments in K-12 schools resulting from new investments in private equity funds. We initially took this step in response to concerns by external stakeholders about the impact of private schools on education quality and access and we requested that the IEG evaluate IFC investments in K-12 schools, reviewing impacts on educational outcomes, access, poverty and inequality. In its report, released in June, 2022, the IEG concluded that investments should not resume unless IFC makes changes in how it approaches investing in this sector. We support this conclusion.

This freeze does not impact our work to invest in education technology, the provision of ancillary services to K-12 schools and the development of infrastructure PPPs in K-12 that can help improve access and learning for all students, with a focus on the most vulnerable. IFC also continues its work in tertiary education, including universities and vocational schools, and in early childhood services.