EDUCATION IN SWITZERLAND

In Switzerland, the 26 Cantons are responsible for compulsory education. This is the reason why the schools have different school calendar, education structure, curriculum, number of lessons per subject and teaching methods.

The Cantons and the Confederation are responsible for post-compulsory education.

The compulsory education starts at the age of 4 and last 11 years, or starts at the age of 6 and last 9 years (depending on the Canton) and includes:

  • 8 years of primary level, including 2 years of kindergarten. (In Canton Ticino are 7 years of primary level);
  • 3 years of lower secondary level. (In Canton Ticino are 4 years of lower secondary).

The language of instruction is dictated by the region where the school is located: German, French, Italian or Romansh. During the compulsory education, besides English, students learn a second official language of Switzerland.

The grading scale is from 1 to 6, where 6 = best grade, 4 = sufficient, below 4 = insufficient.

Swiss education system

After kindergarten, students are studying:

  • Languages: language of schooling, English and a second national language;
  • Mathematics and Natural Sciences;
  • Social Sciences and Humanities: History, Geography, Ethics and Religions;
  • Music, Art and Design (Visual Arts, Textile Design and Technical Design);
  • Physical Education and Health.

The assessmet of students is different from one Canton to another but, the promotion to the next grade and the transition to the next study level, are based on student academic performance.

In generally, the transition from primary level to lower secondary level is made at the age of 11.

The transition procedure from primary level to lower secondary level are different from one Canton to another but, in generally, students starts lower secondary level at the age of 11.

Based on academic performance during the primary level, teachers’ recommendations, transition examination, students are assigned in lower secondary level.

In lower secondary students are studying:

  • Languages: language of schooling, English, a second national language and a third national language (optional);
  • Mathematics;
  • Natural Sciences: Biology, Chemistry, Physics;
  • Social Sciences and Humanities: History, Geography, Civic Education;
  • Music, Art and Design (Visual Arts, Textile Design and Technical Design);
  • Physical Education and Health;
  • Home Economics;
  • Career guidance and vocational preparation.

Besides the academic reports, learning behaviour, social behaviour and work attitude are part of student assessment.

There is no school leaving certificate at the end of lower secondary level, which is the end compulsory education.

Based on academic performance and interest, application documents and interview, after lower secondary level, most of the students continue their studies on upper secondary level. They may enroll in one of the following types of schools:

  • Baccalaureate schools or the upper secondary specialised schools, which prepare them for university but do not lead to professional qualifications;
  • Vocational education and training schools (VET), where they learn a profession.

Students complete upper secondary education at the age of 18/19 and achieve one form of baccalaureate (baccalaureate, specialised baccalaureate or vocational baccalaureate). 

After upper secondary level, depending on what type of diploma they have, students may get a job or may continue their studies at a college of higher education or at univeristy.


LANGUAGES OF SWITZERLAND:

GERMAN
FRENCH
ITALIAN
ROMANSH
SWISS PRIVATE SCHOOLS ALSO OFFER:

RO

ES