Education in Switzerland: Basic and Secondary

The Swiss people are known worldwide for being a highly skilled and qualified workforce. The country itself is known for developing potentially innovative ways through their education system; several Swiss universities are at the TOP of the international rankings.

The Swiss education system is able to adapt to various economic conditions mainly because of its diversification. According to the Constitution, school regulations are based on cantonal laws; however, the basic education is mandatory and free for every child. According to a 2018 education and research report, 95% of students complete their mandatory education at a local state school. Only 5% of students attend private schools. Not only do Swiss public schools provide an education, but they also provide an opportunity for integration – children of different social, linguistic, and/or cultural backgrounds all learning under one roof.

The Swiss education system is split into 4 stages: primary, lower secondary, higher secondary, and tertiary.

The Swiss primary school begins with kindergarten from the ages of 4 to 6. A child at this age would have his/her first class in a playful manner. By the age of 7, a child would be going to a primary school for about 6 years, followed up with a lower secondary school (secondary school level 1) for a total of 11 years. This would correspond with the child’s personal abilities. The type of education varies from school to school. Both are mandatory and are financed by the cantons and communities. The Swiss are multilingual by nature, and are taught a second language, as well as English, from primary school onward.

 After completing compulsory education, students will begin their post-compulsory courses, which relate to secondary level 2. From the ages of 15 to 16, students begin making a choice about their future profession. This period of maturity is known as Matura (otherwise known as Abitur or Baccalaureate), and covers 12 basic subjects, major subjects, and additional subjects. It’s important to note that some cantons may charge fees for major subjects and additional subjects.

Apart from school, students also have the option of starting an apprenticeship, and can choose from more than 230 jobs. The apprentice would spend 2 days a week in a vocational school and the remaining 3 days with the company that hired them. Apart from learning on the job, the apprentice would also receive a small salary during their first year of their tradecraft.

According to the Switzerland Global Enterprise:

“Aside from apprenticeship and high school, students can continue their education beyond the statutory minimum by attending an intermediate diploma school to earn a specialized diploma”. 
The Education and research report

 TO BE CONTINUED

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