Home schooling is uncommon in Switzerland. After three years (four in Ticino) lower secondary and compulsory education ends in Switzerland. These higher education institutions offer students degrees in topical areas such as engineering, technology, or business, and they prepare students for the Swiss and global labor markets. The admission age throughout Switzerland is six. They call this Grundstufe or Basisstufe. The central government has established the principle that all children must attend school for a total of 9 years and that primary school is free. Primary education in most of Switzerland is considered kindergarten and the first learning cycle. In kindergarten, children are taught about basic manners and knowledge. A vocational school is a preferred choice for most young Swiss students. It has two terms or semesters and around 12 weeks of holiday per year. Vocational education plays a major role in the Swiss education system. Similarly, the day to day structure of schooling might be different from one place to the next, making switching … Through music, games, art, and lots of crafts, they are introduced to basic reading and math. Still, it is very much different from an American high school. The difference between a University and a Fachhochschule is that the latter generally doesn’t award a doctoral degree. Students with an upper-secondary specialized school certificate will continue their education in PET colleges. There is also usually a meeting with pupils and parents to discuss the student’s performance, which will include behavior and attitude towards learning. If your canton allows homeschooling, you’ll have to register annually/notify the education department and work within their guidelines. Although the cantons administer the education system, a thing they all have in common is that they have this diversity. 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. 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. Education in Switzerland is a largely decentralized system. 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 … At this level, children are not divided into achievement groups. 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. The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) is the federal body overseeing education in Switzerland. Scholars, and those particularly from French, German and Italian-speaking backgrounds work right across the higher education system. There, it’s optional for children to go to kindergarten from the age of three and then compulsory from the age of four, for two years. 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. A distinctive characteristic of the Swiss education system is taking into account the wishes and the abilities of students. Around 5 percent of students go onto upper secondary specialized schools. Many of these students attend top universities in Switzerland for their advanced degrees. Switzerland's diverse and permeable education system in essence offers a choice between an academic or vocational education. Basic vocational education lasts between two and four years and provides practical and technical training. It is called kindergarten in German-speaking Switzerland, école enfantine in the French-speaking area, and scuola dell'infanzia in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino. You can of course change your mind and withdraw your consent at any time, by returning to this site after clearing the cookies on your computer or device. The children learn in the language of the region (German, French, Italian, or Romansh). The curriculum includes IGCSE and International A-Level and offers students an education in the English language while learning in a friendly, international environment. Pupils usually enroll at baccalaureate schools in the last year of lower secondary education. A baccalaureate program consists of core subjects, a main specialism, and a secondary specialism plus a baccalaureate essay. The administration and regulation of the school system in Switzerland is made by the cantons while having a set framework by the central government. 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. In Switzerland and in Germany, Austria, Denmark and Norway between 30 and 70 percent of students in upper secondary school participate in 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. They also take tests at the end of the school year, where they get to test their gathered knowledge. On a per-capita basis, this level of spending puts Switzerland in first … Cantonal qualifications are valid across Switzerland. Pupils who have overall average grades can progress to the next year of school. Some primary schools are closed one day or one afternoon in the week (for example, Wednesday). Primary level, including two years of kindergarten or a first learning cycle, can last for eight years. Education in Switzerland: Here’s What You Need To Know, State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). The Swiss education system is decentralised and you can find the exact details for schooling in your area on the canton’s education department website. Kindergarten, primary and secondary schools are free. This attribute is done by diversifying the different directions a student can take once they’re done with their primary education. 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. Pre-school children attend kin- dergartens for one to two years. Public schools are free of charge, and kids are not required to wear uniforms. “This can make moving a child from a school in one canton to one in another quite difficult”, advises Daniel. These dual-track programs combine classroom lessons at a VET school with an apprenticeship at a training company. Each of the 26 cantons has primary responsibility for their education and, in fact, run their own education systems. Kindergarten is not compulsory in all of the cantons, but primary school is. Some children start compulsory education when they are four years old and others at six years until about 15 years old. If you’re moving to Switzerland with family, you’ll find an array of schools that cater to international families, including public, private, and international schools. Applicants with the required qualifications can generally attend their chosen course. The highest level, tertiary level education, is university level or higher education. Students who take the additional one-year specialized baccalaureate course (not available in all cantons) usually have to complete traineeships or practical experience in their particular field as well as course work. Switzerland is a federal and multilingual country with a decentralised education system. Have a cookie They also have to present a baccalaureate essay. That is where they get to learn skills in school and see how it is done through the first-hand experience in companies that provide apprenticeships and cross-company courses. Admission criteria varies but may include an entrance exam or interview. Here, pupils have a variety of abilities and come from a range of different backgrounds including, sometimes, linguistic backgrounds. Expatica helps make your expat journey the experience you've always wanted. Primary school lasts for between 4 to 6 years most likely following 2 to 3 years in kindergarten. 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. Kindergarten aims to teach children social skills and basic mannerisms through play-based learning. Laws regarding it vary from canton to canton – in some cantons it’s possible, in others it’s not. Hence what follows is just a generic summary. There are many ways to begin or to change to a different education programme. Compulsory Education: Education in Switzerland is compulsory for all who reside in the country, regardless of legal residency status. Working in higher education in Switzerland. The upper secondary education is equivalent to the high schools in American education systems regarding the age of the students. Natural sciences are also given a lot of importance where math, biology, chemistry, physics, and geography are taught as some of the main subjects. The cantons also regulate this. Responsibility for post-compulsory education is shared between the Swiss Confederation and the cantons. They last from 2 to 4 years and allow the students to gain technical and practical knowledge. Preschool was first introduced in the first half of the nineteenth century in a few large cities, in Geneva in 1826 and Zurich in 1845. Contact the education department in your own canton to confirm what happens in your region. Many of these courses also give them an opportunity to improve their knowledge of a national language. Baccalaureate programs usually last for four years but three years in some cantons and six years in others. Tertiary education is a continuation of the higher secondary education a student chooses. High school in Switzerland is not compulsory, and its structure is unique. Students receive a grade at the end of term and/or year; how well students do determines whether they progress to the next year or not. 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. Around the age of six, children go to primary school. In Switzerland, the school year starts between mid-August and mid-September. The system and rules vary by region, with some cantons starting mandatory schooling at age four and others at six. This brings diversity so children can experience many different backgrounds, including, sometimes, linguistic backgrounds. A guide to special needs education in Switzerland, including the legal and financial needs of those with disabilities. The basic structure of the Swiss education system is as follows: In Switzerland, primary education usually consists of pre-school (kindergarten) and primary school. This guide to the Swiss schooling system – from primary to secondary – will help enroll your child into education in Switzerland. In Switzerland, lessons are in the language of the region: German, French, Italian, or Romansh. Only about 5% of Swiss children go to a private school. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Primary school days are shorter than secondary school days. Mandatory secondary education … “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. “However, foreign families may consider an international school to ease their child’s transition by continuing education in a familiar language,” says Daniel. Some of the best-known universities in Switzerland are the federal institutes of tertiary technology and the universities of teacher education. The system varies from canton to canton with primary education constitut- ing from four to six years of the nine-year compulsory education period. You may change your settings at any time. Successful candidates earn the upper-secondary specialized school certificate and can go onto further study at PET colleges. At the end of the program, students must take a test and present a baccalaureate essay. The Swiss education system is characterised by a high degree of flexibility. “During enrolment at a school, your child’s ability in the local national language will be assessed,” says Daniel. According to Daniel Sarbach, director of the International School Zurich North – who welcomes students from the international community from early years (3-6 years old) to the upper secondary –, Swiss education standards are high. The Education System(s) in Switzerland Source: www.educa.ch . The Swiss school system as a trajectory for educational inequality: an objectivist and subjectivist exploration Children aged four to eight years are in the same class. 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. There may also be end-of-year tests as well. Switzerland is the go-to choice for many students looking to study internationally. 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. Pupil assessment varies from canton to canton. The International School Zurich North teaches students aged between three years (nursery) and 17 years old (grade 12). In fact, laws addressing it vary from canton … If they finish that successfully, they get the upper-secondary specialized school certificate and continue their education in PET colleges. This allows admission to universities of applied science and pre-school and primary teacher courses at teacher training universities. That’s when they are introduced to other languages and Swiss culture. The system is well established and functional with delegated accountability and administration. What level is equivalent to a high school diploma that does not have good grades to admit in a swiss institution? My questions are: View the Dutch comparison of the most common diplomas from Switzerland, the duration of schooling, the type of education … Those who do not may progress to the next year at a lower grade or have to repeat a year. This system is overseen by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). Children begin schooling anywhere from ages 4 to 6 and must stay in school until about the age of 15. After the students finish their lower secondary education, they can choose what kind of career they want to pursue. 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. Primary school lasts eight years; however, only six of them are mandatory. Depending on the cantons, the combinations might differ. Environment. Upper secondary specialized schools provide specialized preparation for a career in healthcare, social work, and education. Secondary education in Switzerland is divided into two stages. The enrollment is based on the student’s previous performance, and the grading system is the same as in lower secondary education. The Swiss education system. 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. In Switzerland there are many courses which prepare young people for education in the shape of an apprenticeship or studies. 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. Primary education in Switzerland Kids start their lower secondary education around the ages of 11 to 12, and it lasts 3 to 4 years. Switzerland is internationally recognised as a center of excellence for education, its attraction for studying and research is well-established. About a third of Swiss students go onto baccalaureate school, which provide a general education in preparation for admission to university. The Italian-speaking canton Ticino also differs. These courses are not always entitled to scholarships. Students are graded with the same grading system as previously and study the core subjects related to the specific occupation. The higher education systems are rated based on four main criteria. However, there are agreements in place to coordinate the latter across the country. Download the pdf with detailed information about the Swiss education system: Education system Switzerland‌ (298.35 kB) Common diplomas of Switzerland. Vocational education and training (VET) schools. Fachhochschule also differs from the traditional university in Switzerland because of its practical-based teaching as opposed to a theory-based orientation. NOTE: These settings will only apply to the browser and device you are currently using. 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. 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. Here, two kindergarten years are included in a four-year ‘cycle 1’ or cycle primaire 1. 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.) This site uses functional cookies and external scripts to improve your experience. Switzerland is the highest ranked country worldwide in the two categories of Resources and Connectivity. If you want to study in Switzerland, then you need to know which of its universities are right for you. Expatica uses technology such as cookies and scripts to personalize content and ads, provide social media features, and analyze our traffic. Click below to consent to the use of this technology on our website – and don’t worry, we respect your privacy. In most cantons, students get a graded report twice a year. Even though there are private schools in Switzerland, most students attend public schools in the local area. You can enquire about your canton’s specific education requirements at one of the cantonal education departments. 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. Swiss Education System: Detailed descriptions. They can then enroll at cantonal universities, institutes of technology, and teacher training universities. At the end of the year, depending on performance, students either continue to the next year or repeat the previous one. Switzerland is a confederation of cantons with a surprising degree of administrative independence. The two countries to rank higher overall were Norway and Finland (Finland finishing in first). This has resulted in a considerable number of international students in the country. Your email address will not be published. Upper secondary school is regulated jointly by the Confederation and the cantons so there are variations in organization and curricula across the country. “Within a basic overall framework, the cantons decide what they teach, when, and how. Education. The grades determine whether the students progress to the next year or not. 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. The structure of Switzerland’s system begins with primary education (a sort of kindergarten), then a lower secondary education followed by an upper secondary education, which may even include vocational training. Depending on a pupil’s performance, they may promote to the next level, receive extra support, or repeat a year. Keystone / Peter Klaunzer. Here is the intention is to provide a basic academic education, while assessing the future path of each child individually. 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. Geography. How well the child does at primary level determines the level the child goes to in the lower secondary level. Education is compulsory for all children in Switzerland, even those who do not have legal residency status. Students who pass earn the baccalaureate certificate (Matura / Maturité). At the end of the baccalaureate program, students have exams in at least five subjects: first language, a second national language, mathematics, the main specialism, and one further subject. 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.) Students are graded with numbers from 6 (being the highest) to 1 (the lowest). However, schooling can vary across the country”, explains Daniel. The structure of the educational system starts with preschool education. Cantons set their own timetables. Most students in Switzerland attend local schools, which are of high standard and free. The program lasts three years, and in the end, the students must take a final exam in six of their subjects. The higher education system in Switzerland is internationally renowned for its high academic standards, well-regarded research outputs and student-centered teaching methods. 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 Close. It is highly recommended to register as soon as possible because of limited places in some cantons. Switzerland has 12 universities in total, 10 of which are run and regulated by the cantons and offer theory-oriented mayors. Most students learn at a state school in the local area. Lower secondary schools in Switzerland are called Gymnasiums or Kantonsschule. 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 education system is one of the world’s most strict and meticulous protection for students, for more course detils kindly contact us Children usually move onto lower secondary level at the age of 11 or 12 at a middle school called either a Gymnasium or Kantonsschule. Though it varies by canton, most children have mandatory education for 9 to 11 years. Generally, pupils receive either an ungraded or graded school report twice a year at the end of each term. 1. While the Cantons are responsible for compulsory education, the Cantons and the Federal Government share responsibilities for post-compulsory education (general education schools, vocational and professional education and … Other subjects like history, civic education, music, art and design, physical education and health, home economics, career guidance, and vocational preparation are also taught. Like Switzerland itself, education has a multilingual focus. This guide has been written by a practitioner for parents. 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). In the French-speaking cantons, two years of kindergarten are combined with two other years and make the first cycle of primary education. These schools usually last from 3 to 6 years, depending on the canton. Find out how to apply to a program at a Swiss university with Expatica’s guide to studying in Switzerland. 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). 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. Each canton sets its school calendar, curriculum, and criteria. Your choices will not impact your visit. 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. State education is free of charge, but schools may ask for payments for school supplies, books, and school trips. Successful candidates earn the specialized baccalaureate (Fachmaturität/maturité spécialisée). Among those who choose vocational programmes, about 93% of them are enrolled in joint vocational programmes … The decentralization has it’s perks, although it can make it hard for people to move their children from one canton to another. “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. The primary responsibility for education lies with the 26 Cantons (states). Connectivity assesses the … Children start compulsory education when they are about four to six years old until about when they turn 15 years old. They get to choose from a Vocational education and training (VET), Baccalaureate, or Upper secondary specialized school. Languages are given quite the emphasis in the Swiss education system, and therefore most of the people there speak at least a second language. “Admission may be based on students’ grades, teachers’ recommendations and/or an entrance exam”, advises Daniel. 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. Lower secondary education usually lasts for three years except in Italian-speaking Ticino, when it lasts for four years. Education is compulsory for all children and young people from 9 to 11 years. State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education, Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training SFIVET, Swiss Institute for Special Educational Needs. For more information, contact your canton’s education department and the Home School Association of Switzerland. In most cantons, children must begin primary school at age six. For parents with a UK or international background. Switzerland’s education system is one of the most advanced in the world. Nature. There are VET programs for around 230 different professions. 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. Which cookies and scripts are used and how they impact your visit is specified on the left. The specialisms are available from lists of subjects that each canton determines. The Swiss education system. I feel very well informed about the education system in Switzerland. There is no stigma with repeating a year, however. Homeschooling is not common in Switzerland. This is where kids learn their mother language, a second language spoken in Switzerland and English. The lower secondary education and upper secondary education. 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. All three top countries were effectively developing and utilizing about 85 percent of their full human capital potential, the report noted. Theory-Based orientation this attribute is done by diversifying the different directions a student.. Being from Switzerland is not normally a pre-requisite for the next level, children to... 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