The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) is the federal body overseeing education in Switzerland. Your email address will not be published. Most students learn at a state school in the local area. Lower secondary education usually lasts for three years except in Italian-speaking Ticino, when it lasts for four years. There can also be end-of-year tests as well. More than 65% of students in upper secondary education are enrolled in pre-vocational or vocational programmes at the upper secondary level, compared with an average of only % across OECD 44 countries. If your canton allows homeschooling, you’ll have to register annually/notify the education department and work within their guidelines. Close. The exact dates are set by the canton and can vary; you can find contact details for the education department in your canton here. Geography. Other subjects like history, civic education, music, art and design, physical education and health, home economics, career guidance, and vocational preparation are also taught. The decentralization has it’s perks, although it can make it hard for people to move their children from one canton to another. Home schooling is uncommon in Switzerland. Depending on their performance, they are granted a certificate called Matura and are then eligible to start cantonal universities, institutes of technologies, and teacher-training universities. Switzerland's diverse and permeable education system in essence offers a choice between an academic or vocational education. Click below to consent to the use of this technology on our website – and don’t worry, we respect your privacy. Some children start compulsory education when they are four years old and others at six years until about 15 years old. Switzerland is a federal and multilingual country with a decentralised education system. The two countries to rank higher overall were Norway and Finland (Finland finishing in first). Switzerland is one of several European countries with a so-called “dual” vocational education and training (VET) system in which students combine learning in school with learning in workplace settings. Contact the education department in your own canton to confirm what happens in your region. Being from Switzerland is not normally a pre-requisite for the position. Upper secondary school is regulated jointly by the Confederation and the cantons so there are variations in organization and curricula across the country. A baccalaureate program consists of core subjects, a main specialism, and a secondary specialism plus a baccalaureate essay. University is the logical choice for the students with a Matura, while Fachhochschule or Höhere Fachschule is the choice of students with a VET certificate. All three top countries were effectively developing and utilizing about 85 percent of their full human capital potential, the report noted. High school in Switzerland is not compulsory, and its structure is unique. Swiss higher education system is top for connectivity. Furthermore, universities in Switzerland are known for their BBAs and MBAs, and they tend to be some of the best in the world. The three-year specialized school program ends with a final exam (written and/or oral) in at least six subjects, at least one of which must be related to the specific occupation. How well the child does at primary level determines the level the child goes to in the lower secondary level. On a per-capita basis, this level of spending puts Switzerland in first … It has two terms or semesters and around 12 weeks of holiday per year. 2. Mandatory secondary education … The difference between a University and a Fachhochschule is that the latter generally doesn’t award a doctoral degree. The curriculum includes IGCSE and International A-Level and offers students an education in the English language while learning in a friendly, international environment. There is one private and eight public Universities of Applied Sciences. It is highly recommended to register as soon as possible because of limited places in some cantons. Many of these courses also give them an opportunity to improve their knowledge of a national language. In Switzerland, the higher education system at University-level consists of ten cantonal Universities, two federal Institutes of Technology and seven Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen), as well as the recently founded Schools for Teacher Education and many Advanced Vocational Colleges. Some primary schools are closed one day or one afternoon in the week (for example, Wednesday). In German-speaking cantons, some municipalities combine kindergarten and the first two years of primary school into the first learning cycle called Grundstufe or Basisstufe. Subjects include the first language, a second national language, English, mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, humanities (e.g., geography, history, ethics, religion), music, art, physical education, and health. In kindergarten, children are taught about basic manners and knowledge. In Switzerland, it’s the 26 cantons – not the federal government – who are responsible for their compulsory education system. The higher education system in Switzerland is internationally renowned for its high academic standards, well-regarded research outputs and student-centered teaching methods. Applicants with the required qualifications can generally attend their chosen course. Baccalaureate programs usually last for four years but three years in some cantons and six years in others. Generally, pupils receive either an ungraded or graded school report twice a year at the end of each term. Public schools are free of charge, and kids are not required to wear uniforms. Switzerland’s education ranking has regularly been among the top 100 worldwide when it comes to higher education. Responsibility for post-compulsory education is shared between the Swiss Confederation and the cantons. After the students finish their lower secondary education, they can choose what kind of career they want to pursue. There are upper secondary specialized schools in 22 cantons, both canton and privately run. They provide a school-based general education and preparation for professional education and training (PET) in specific occupations – like healthcare, social work, and education – at PET colleges and universities of applied sciences. Students who pass earn the baccalaureate certificate (Matura / Maturité). Kindergarten, primary and secondary schools are free. Core subjects are: first national language, second national language and a third language (a third national language, English, Latin or Greek), mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, history, geography and visual arts/music. Still, it is very much different from an American high school. primary education – kindergarten or a first learning cycle; upper secondary level education – vocational education and training (VET), baccalaureate schools and upper-secondary specialized schools; tertiary level education – professional training, university. Higher education includes technical and vocational schools, as well as universities, spread across cantons such as Basel, Berne, Fribourg, Geneva, Neuchatel, Lausanne, Lugano, Zurich, Lucerne, and St Gallen. “Your child’s age and length of time in Switzerland are some factors to consider.” For even more information on how to choose a school in Switzerland, see Expatica’s guide to Swiss schools. Upper secondary education in Switzerland is optional although more than 90 percent of Swiss students do decide to continue their education around the age of 15/16. Each of the 26 cantons has primary responsibility for their education and, in fact, run their own education systems. Even though there are private schools in Switzerland, most students attend public schools in the local area. Some of the best-known universities in Switzerland are the federal institutes of tertiary technology and the universities of teacher education. Laws regarding it vary from canton to canton – in some cantons it’s possible, in others it’s not. Vocational education plays a major role in the Swiss education system. Have a cookie “This can make moving a child from a school in one canton to one in another quite difficult”, advises Daniel. There’s a wide range of subjects offered to study at Swiss universities. Primary education in most of Switzerland is considered kindergarten and the first learning cycle. The program lasts three years, and in the end, the students must take a final exam in six of their subjects. About a third of Swiss students go onto baccalaureate school, which provide a general education in preparation for admission to university. There are VET programs for around 230 different professions. Vocational education and training (VET) schools. Expatica uses technology such as cookies and scripts to personalize content and ads, provide social media features, and analyze our traffic. Around 5 percent of students go onto upper secondary specialized schools. Close. View the Dutch comparison of the most common diplomas from Switzerland, the duration of schooling, the type of education … State school system. There are no school uniforms in Switzerland. Fachhochschule also differs from the traditional university in Switzerland because of its practical-based teaching as opposed to a theory-based orientation. The Italian-speaking cantons children attend kindergarten from the age of four. Compulsory Education: Education in Switzerland is compulsory for all who reside in the country, regardless of legal residency status. “Some schools offer induction courses or intensive language courses to help students reach the standard required for them to join regular classes, or will receive language lessons alongside normal classes.” He adds that sometimes, the school might recommend that a pupil repeat a year in order to catch up. Special needs education in Switzerland implies that general compulsory education applies also to children and youngsters with visual or hearing impairments, physical and learning disabilities, mental retardation, and speech and behavioral disorders. There are many ways to begin or to change to a different education programme. At the end of the year, depending on performance, students either continue to the next year or repeat the previous one. What level is equivalent to a high school diploma that does not have good grades to admit in a swiss institution? Most students in Switzerland attend local schools, which are of high standard and free. The basic structure of the Swiss education system is as follows: primary education – kindergarten or a first learning cycle; lower secondary education; upper secondary level education – vocational education and training (VET), baccalaureate schools and upper-secondary specialized schools; tertiary level education – professional training, university. Lower secondary schools in Switzerland are called Gymnasiums or Kantonsschule. Even where pre-school is not compulsory, most children attend kindergarten before primary school. If you want to study in Switzerland, then you need to know which of its universities are right for you. The primary responsibility for education lies with the 26 Cantons (states). In most cantons, students get a graded report twice a year. Education system Switzerland. They also take tests at the end of the school year, where they get to test their gathered knowledge. I feel very well informed about the education system in Switzerland. A Baccalaureate school is the choice of ⅓ Swiss students. Students are graded with numbers from 6 (being the highest) to 1 (the lowest). Switzerland has three main geographic regions: the Alps covering around 60% of the country's total surface area, the Swiss Plateau (30%) and the Jura (10%). Switzerland is the go-to choice for many students looking to study internationally. Students are graded with the same grading system as previously and study the core subjects related to the specific occupation. The Swiss education system is characterised by a high degree of flexibility. “Within a basic overall framework, the cantons decide what they teach, when, and how. This site uses functional cookies and external scripts to improve your experience. Kindergarten is not compulsory in all of the cantons, but primary school is. Which cookies and scripts are used and how they impact your visit is specified on the left. This allows admission to universities of applied science and pre-school and primary teacher courses at teacher training universities. Scholars, and those particularly from French, German and Italian-speaking backgrounds work right across the higher education system. The Swiss education system Education in a multilingual and federalist country In Switzerland, education is government responsibility (cantonal and/or federal) from the beginning of compulsory education up to and including tertiary level (universities and professional education and training). Switzerland heavily invests in its education system: In 2014, public-sector spending on education in Switzerland was just under 36 billion Swiss francs That’s 5.6% of the gross domestic product. This brings diversity so children can experience many different backgrounds, including, sometimes, linguistic backgrounds. This guide has been written by a practitioner for parents. Like Switzerland itself, education has a multilingual focus. Your choices will not impact your visit. Successful candidates earn the upper-secondary specialized school certificate and can go onto further study at PET colleges. The three types of upper secondary education include: Most students in Switzerland go onto vocational education and training (VET) programs after lower secondary education. Children and young people with special educational needs in Switzerland have a right to schooling and support from specialists from birth up to their 20th birthday. Those who do not may progress to the next year at a lower grade or have to repeat a year. It can be considered a continuation of the lower secondary education, where the subjects are similar to the previous ones in lower secondary education, plus law and economics. Children start compulsory education when they are about four to six years old until about when they turn 15 years old. Most cantons and municipalities have core times with children usually going to school in the morning from around 8.30am until 11.30am and then from 13.30pm until 16.00pm. Compulsory Education Pre-school level (Kindergarten, 1 or 2 years) At least one year of kindergarten compulsory in 15 cantons, optional in 11 cantons Starting age: 4 years old Focus on social issues Training of pre-school teachers now at Universities of Teacher Education (B.A.) 1. Natural sciences are also given a lot of importance where math, biology, chemistry, physics, and geography are taught as some of the main subjects. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Swiss education system on educa.ch Description of the Swiss education system with information about all educational levels (legal situation, statistical data, course content, terms of admission etc.) “During enrolment at a school, your child’s ability in the local national language will be assessed,” says Daniel. Switzerland is a confederation of cantons with a surprising degree of administrative independence. Education. These dual-track programs combine classroom lessons at a VET school with an apprenticeship at a training company. The Swiss education system. Switzerland is internationally recognised as a center of excellence for education, its attraction for studying and research is well-established. Primary education in Switzerland Thus, there are actually 26 school systems in Switzerland; however, the main features are roughly the same in all cantons: Attending primary and secondary schools is mandatory; in some cantons, kindergarten, too, is compulsory. Each canton has its own education department, school calendar, education structure, methods of teaching, and curricula. Pre-school children attend kin- dergartens for one to two years. The Education System(s) in Switzerland Source: www.educa.ch . Upper secondary specialized schools provide specialized preparation for a career in healthcare, social work, and education. Many of these students attend top universities in Switzerland for their advanced degrees. Through VET school, students get a federal VET diploma or a federal VET certificate that will enable them to work and continue further education. You may change your settings at any time. In the French-speaking cantons, two years of kindergarten are combined with two other years and make the first cycle of primary education. Primary level, including two years of kindergarten or a first learning cycle, can last for eight years. The overall education system in Switzerland is split into three categories: compulsory education, upper-secondary education and tertiary education, with higher education being concentrated completely at the tertiary … In Switzerland and in Germany, Austria, Denmark and Norway between 30 and 70 percent of students in upper secondary school participate in Resources encompasses government and private sector expenditure on tertiary institutions and on research as a share of GDP. The administration and regulation of the school system in Switzerland is made by the cantons while having a set framework by the central government. The upper secondary education is equivalent to the high schools in American education systems regarding the age of the students. Education in Switzerland: Here’s What You Need To Know, State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). Kids start their lower secondary education around the ages of 11 to 12, and it lasts 3 to 4 years. Kindergarten aims to teach children social skills and basic mannerisms through play-based learning. Daniel explains: “The aim is to stimulate the development and social skills of the children mainly through play-based learning – lots of music, crafts and games – and in the last year, the rudiments of reading, writing, and mathematics.” He adds that “pre-schools are a great way for expat children to pick up a new language and start integrating with Swiss culture.” For more information, see the Expatica’s guide to childcare in Switzerland. In Switzerland, the school year starts between mid-August and mid-September. Education is compulsory for all children and young people from 9 to 11 years. Tertiary education is a continuation of the higher secondary education a student chooses. Hence what follows is just a generic summary. The website of the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education offers a good introduction to the complex Swiss education system: Swiss education system. Grades are from one to six with six being the best grade and one being insufficient. However, there are agreements in place to coordinate the latter across the country. The system varies from canton to canton with primary education constitut- ing from four to six years of the nine-year compulsory education period. VET programs can lead to a Federal VET certificate, a Federal VET diploma, or the Federal vocational baccalaureate (Berufsmaturität /maturité professionelle) which allows admission to universities of applied science. COPYRIGHT © 2020 STUDYING IN SWITZERLAND. Primary school lasts for between 4 to 6 years most likely following 2 to 3 years in kindergarten. Here, pupils have a variety of abilities and come from a range of different backgrounds including, sometimes, linguistic backgrounds. In the canton of Bern, mandatory schooling lasts 11 years beginning with kindergarten (2 years), followed by primary school (6 years) and secondary level I (3 years). Download the pdf with detailed information about the Swiss education system: Education system Switzerland (298.35 kB) Common diplomas of Switzerland. The enrollment is based on the student’s previous performance, and the grading system is the same as in lower secondary education. Languages are given quite the emphasis in the Swiss education system, and therefore most of the people there speak at least a second language. Topics taught at the lower secondary level are usually: the language of the school, a second national language (and an optional third), English, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geography, history, civic education, music, art and design, physical education and health, home economics, career guidance, and vocational preparation. The grades determine whether the students progress to the next year or not. A vocational school is a preferred choice for most young Swiss students. Swiss Education System (PDF, 1 MB, 03.07.2019) SERI 2019 Vocational and professional education and training in Switzerland – Facts and figures 2020 (PDF, 3 MB, 17.04.2020) Top of page My questions are: The structure of the educational system starts with preschool education. In the German-speaking cantons, kindergarten and two years of primary education are combined into the first learning cycle, and students aged four to eight years are in the same class. At some schools, children go home for lunch, “which can be awkward for working parents,” says Daniel. This is where kids learn their mother language, a second language spoken in Switzerland and English. In Switzerland, lessons are in the language of the region: German, French, Italian, or Romansh. All Swiss universities offer their courses in accordance with the Bologna system: undergraduate studies culminate in a Bachelor’s degree, which can be further advanced with a Master’s degree, in compliance with international agreements. French-speaking cantons differ. Successful candidates earn the specialized baccalaureate (Fachmaturität/maturité spécialisée). However, schooling can vary across the country”, explains Daniel. The system is well established and functional with delegated accountability and administration. Children receive assessments by specialist agencies within the canton and may attend a mainstream school with support, or a special needs school. There is no national exam or school leaving certificate or diploma in Switzerland although some cantons do set a final exam at the end of lower secondary education and some award school-leaving certificates. They receive a grade at the end of term and/or year; satisfactory grades determine whether a student progresses to the next year or not. Only about 5% of Swiss children go to a private school. “Others offer parents supervised lunch hours as well as after school childcare for a fee.”. Nature. Cantons set their own timetables. 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