Schooling in Switzerland

A country and 26 school systems
The education system in Switzerland is that of a federalist structure. This means each canton has its own school system and there are therefore 26 different school systems in Switzerland. The cantons of Switzerland (i.e. the legislation) have the main responsibility of the school system, whereas the municipality’s responsibility is the operational part. For vocational educations, the state has the responsibility. It should be noted that currently a new educational reform is being worked on which will affect all educational levels. See www.educa.ch

Childcare in Switzerland
For pre-school aged children, there are the following options for day-care nurseries: ”Kinderkrippe”, “Kinderhort”, “Tagesfamilien” or so-called “Spielgruppen”. The day-care is organised by the municipality or privately and is paid in the end by the parents and not through taxes as seen in other European countries.

Kindergarten in Switzerland
Children aged 4-6 years throughout Switzerland have the right to go to kindergarten (“Kindergarten”) for 1-2 years. In kindergarten, children learn through different games to prepare for schooling and to integrate with other children.

Primary schooling in Switzerland
The compulsory education in Switzerland is 9 years. School starts with “Primarschule” the first 4 – 6 years depending on the canton. “Sekundarstufe” is followed for 3 – 5 years. In this school the children are prepared for the transition to a vocational education or higher education.

Apprenticeship in Switzerland
There are many young people who after the compulsory education begin a vocational training (“Betriebslehre”) which is the most popular vocational education in Switzerland. There are in Switzerland more than 400 educational directions which last 3-4 years. The vocational training is a combination of theory and practice, which finishes with a test.

Upper secondary schooling in Switzerland
After 6th grade, it is possible to visit an upper secondary school, which is a preparatory education to further study at university or at a technical school. Only the students with the high grades are accepted into upper secondary schools since the further process of study is significantly demanding.