This page was last modified on 3 March 2017, at 11:16.

Switzerland:Overview

From Eurydice

Jump to: navigation, search

Overview Switzerland

Contents

Switzerland:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Switzerland:Historical Development

Switzerland:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Switzerland:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Switzerland:Political and Economic Situation

Switzerland:Organisation and Governance

Switzerland:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Switzerland:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Switzerland:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Switzerland:Organisation of Private Education

Switzerland:National Qualifications Framework

Switzerland:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Switzerland:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Switzerland:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Switzerland:Funding in Education

Switzerland:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Switzerland:Higher Education Funding

Switzerland:Adult Education and Training Funding

Switzerland:Early Childhood Education and Care

Switzerland:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 4 years

Switzerland:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 4 years

Switzerland:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 4 years

Switzerland:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 4 years

Switzerland:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 4 years

Switzerland:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 4 years

Switzerland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Switzerland:Primary Education

Switzerland:Organisation of Primary Education

Switzerland:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Switzerland:Assessment in Primary Education

Switzerland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Switzerland:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Switzerland:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Switzerland:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Switzerland:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Switzerland:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Switzerland:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Switzerland:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Switzerland:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Switzerland:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Switzerland:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Switzerland:Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Switzerland:Higher Education

Switzerland:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Switzerland:First Cycle Programmes

Switzerland:Bachelor

Switzerland:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Switzerland:Second Cycle Programmes

Switzerland:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Switzerland:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Switzerland:Adult Education and Training

Switzerland:Institutions Providing Adult Education and Training

Switzerland:Main Programmes and Provision in Adult Education and Training

Switzerland:Teachers and Education Staff

Switzerland:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Switzerland:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Switzerland:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Switzerland:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Switzerland:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Switzerland:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Switzerland:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Switzerland:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Switzerland:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Switzerland:Management and Other Education Staff

Switzerland:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Switzerland:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Switzerland:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Switzerland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Switzerland:Management Staff for Higher Education

Switzerland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Switzerland:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Switzerland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Switzerland:Quality Assurance

Switzerland:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Switzerland:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Switzerland:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Switzerland:Educational Support and Guidance

Switzerland:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Switzerland:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Switzerland:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Switzerland:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Switzerland:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Switzerland:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Switzerland:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Switzerland:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Switzerland:Mobility and Internationalisation

Switzerland:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Switzerland:Mobility in Higher Education

Switzerland:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Switzerland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Switzerland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Switzerland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Switzerland:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Switzerland:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Switzerland:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Switzerland:National Reforms in School Education

Switzerland:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Switzerland:National Reforms in Higher Education

Switzerland:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Switzerland:European Perspective

Switzerland:Legislation

Switzerland:Institutions

Switzerland:Glossary

 

Key features of the education system

Switzerland is a federal and multilingual country with a decentralised education system. The primary responsibility for education lies with the 26 Cantons (states). 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 training, universities). Decentralisation is reflected in the fact that the cantons and their municipalities finance 90% of public expenditure on education.

The Confederation and the Cantons have a joint obligation to ensure a high degree of quality and permeability within the education system. In the performance of this duty, the entire education system in Switzerland is systematically monitored, key challenges are identified and the achievement of policy goals is evaluated on a regular basis. The Swiss Education Report, which is published every four years, is one result of this monitoring process.

In compulsory education 95% of all children attend public schools in their local municipality. There is no free choice of school in compulsory education. Public schools play an important role in integration. Children who have different social, linguistic and cultural backgrounds all attend the same school. Public schools in compulsory education are free of charge. Each Canton is responsible for drawing up the curriculum including the weekly teaching periods per subject and class. There is no national curriculum. However, the Federal Constitution obliges the Cantons to coordinate and harmonise their educational systems with regard to structure and objectives. The Cantons have, for instance, developed language-region curricula for compulsory education, which are currently being introduced.

The language of instruction is German, French, Italian or Romansh, depending on the language region. Traditionally, language learning is important in Switzerland. Students learn a second official language of Switzerland as well as English during their compulsory school years.

Switzerland has a strong vocational and professional education system (VET). It offers mostly dual-track VET programmes at upper secondary level (combining an apprenticeship in a training company with 1-2 days of classroom instruction at a vocational school) and broad tertiary-level professional education programmes.
Two thirds of all young people coming out of compulsory education enrol in VET, which provides them with a solid foundation in a given occupation (there are about 230 professions to choose from). Around one-third opts for continuing education at an upper secondary specialised or baccalaureate school, which prepare them for tertiary education at a university.

Open access to various types of education and a high degree of permeability between programmes play an important role: Anyone who has the necessary qualifications can generally attend the courses of his/her choice. With a few exceptions (numerus clausus in specific programmes) a baccalaureate diploma allows for free choice of the university as well as the study programme. VET is subject to some restrictions due to ceilings on apprenticeship positions. There are many ways to enter or transfer to a training programme or school or to attend a catch-up training programme. A federal VET-diploma combined with a federal vocational baccalaureate, for instance, opens the way to universities of applied sciences. By passing an additional aptitude test, students have the option of enrolling in a university or in a federal institute of technology.

More than 90% of all young people acquire a certificate or diploma at upper secondary level, which facilitates direct entry into the job market or enables them to continue education at tertiary level.

Stages of the education system

ECEC

ECEC offers various childcare facilities and services (Kindertagesstätten / crèches / nidi d’infanzia [day-care centres] and Tagesfamilien / familles de jour / famiglie diurne) as well as informal care arrangements such as care by private individuals (e.g. grandparents, neighbours, friends), playgroups etc. All these childcare services are voluntary and parents use them at their discretion. The share of informal care in Switzerland is comparatively high. Parents using formal childcare pay a share of the costs. There is no legal entitlement to an ECEC place for children under the age of four.

Compulsory education

Compulsory education sets in for children at the age of four and lasts eleven years. Primary level (Primarschule / école primaire / scuola elementare) includes two years of kindergarten (Kindergarten / école enfantine / scuola dell’infanzia) or a first learning cycle and comprises eight years (seven years in Canton Ticino). Lower secondary level (Sekundarstufe I / secondaire I / scuola media) takes three years (four years in Canton Ticino). In lower secondary education, teaching is realised at different performance levels (tracking). Pupils complete compulsory education at the age of 15/16.

Upper secondary education

Upper secondary education is subdivided into general education programmes and vocational education and training programmes (VET). The general education programmes include the Gymnasiale Maturitätsschulen / écoles de maturité / scuole di maturità [Baccalaureate schools] and the Fachmittelschulen / écoles de culture générale / scuole specializzate [upper secondary specialised schools]. They do not lead to professional qualifications, but prepare for tertiary level education programmes. In the berufliche Grundbildung / formation professionnelle initiale / formazione professionale di base [VET] adolescents learn a profession. VET is mostly completed at training companies (apprenticeship) combined with education at a Berufsfachschule / école professionnelle / scuola professionale [VET school]. The adolescents complete upper-secondary education at the age of 18/19. About one-third of adolescents acquire one form of baccalaureate (gymnasiale Maturität / maturité gymnasiale / maturità liceale; Fachmaturität / maturité specialisée / maturità specializzata; Berufsmaturität / maturité professionnelle / maturità professionale [baccalaureate, specialised baccalaureate or vocational baccalaureate]).

Tertiary level

Tertiary level comprises universitäre Hochschulen / hautes écoles universitaire / università; Fachhochschulen / hautes écoles specialisée / scuole universitarie professionali; Pädagogische Hochschulen / hautes écoles pédagogique / alte scuole pedagogiche [universities, universities of applied sciences, universities of teacher education] and, as a second important pillar, institutions providing professional education and training (PET). The latter is aimed at people with an upper secondary VET diploma and several years of professional experience, enabling them to gain specialist education and additional qualifications. It comprises diplomas from a höhere Fachschule / école supérieure / scuola specializzata superiore [PET college], an Eidgenössischer Fachausweis / brevet fédéral / attestato professionale federale [federal PET diploma] or an Eidgenössisches Diplom / diplôme fédéral / diploma federale [advanced federal PET diploma]. 45 % of adults obtain a tertiary education degree or diploma, 30% from a university, 15% from a PET institution.

Continuing education and training

Continuing education and training is characterised by heterogeneity, e.g. regarding responsibility, regulation, financing and types of programmes. Private parties perform a key role, bearing general responsibility, as well as providing and financing continuing education and training. The Confederation and the cantons mainly perform a subsidiary role. 

Structure of the national education system

2016 diagram CH.pngsource: Eurydice 2016

Useful links

While Eurydice’s description of national education systems provides comprehensive and comparable information, further information may also be found on the websites of the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education and the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation. A general overview on the education system is also provided by the Swiss Education Server educa.ch.

Common European Reference Tools Provided by the Eurydice Network