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Switzerland's education system

The Swiss education system can be divided roughly into four levels: primary, secondary,
tertiary and quaternary.

• Compulsory education (primary level and secondary level I): The system
varies from canton to canton with primary education constituting from four to six
years of the nine-year compulsory education period. The admission age
throughout Switzerland is six. Pre-school children attend kindergartens for one to
two years. After four to six years of primary tuition pupils complete their
compulsory education at secondary level I.
• Secondary level II constitutes the first phase of non-compulsory education. There
are four types of education open to students:
o An apprenticeship with on-the-job training and theoretical courses at a
vocational school. There are more than 300 recognised trades open to
school leavers. Another less usual method of learning a trade is full-time
education at a vocational school. On completing this type of vocational
education and training, graduates receive a diploma called the advanced
federal certificate.
o Either during or after their apprenticeship, students can attend further
courses to qualify for a professional baccalaureate. On the basis of this
certificate they can be admitted to the universities of applied sciences
without the necessity of sitting an entry exam, and by taking a
supplementary examination it is possible to study at a university.
o Matura schools (cantonal school, grammar school, lycée) give pupils a
broad general education in seven basic subjects, a major subject and a
minor. Matura schools are the usual route taken by those who wish to go
to university.
o Specialised middle schools teach both general and specific subjects such
as those required for certain professions in health and social work,
education, music and arts. In addition students can earn a professional
graduating certificate after taking additional practical training or courses.
• Tertiary level: At the Tertiary A level there are two types of higher education
institutes with differing educational thrusts: firstly the traditional universities
including the cantonal universities and the federal institutes of technology, where
instruction is centered on basic research. Secondly there are the universities of
applied sciences whose teaching is based on applied research. In addition there
are many options in the field of higher vocational education and training (Tertiary

Sole responsibility for pre-school facilities and compulsory schooling (primary and secondary level I) also lies with the cantons. B level) with the practically oriented certificate and diploma exams and courses at the colleges of higher vocational education and training. This task is fulfilled in close cooperation with the municipalities. Competence for vocational education and training lies with the . cantons and communes (municipalities) share supervisory responsibility for various parts of the system. Diagram of the Swiss Education System Federalist organisation The education system is a reflection of Switzerland's federal system. They have to ensure that all children receive adequate basic education. The Constitution places responsibility for education in the hands of the cantons. Confederation. Either the Confederation or the cantons regulate secondary level II depending on the sector concerned.

. the cantons and professional organisations. Competence at the tertiary level is also clearly defined: this is shared by the Confederation. The cantons are responsible for basic professional education such as vocational schools and vocational guidance. The cantons are also responsible for the courses at matura schools and general education institutes. The Confederation recognises their diplomas if they meet the set requirements.Confederation which regulates the legal requirements for all trades and professions and cooperates with the cantons and professional organisations in developing ordinances for vocational education. employers and professional organisations are responsible for certificate and diploma exams of higher vocational education and training and some of the colleges of higher vocational education and training. the universities of applied sciences and cantonal universities The cantons: • are responsible for the universities and are their main source of financial support • run the universities of applied sciences and many colleges of higher vocational education and training • supervise the universities of applied sciences Finally. The Confederation: • supervises and funds the federal institutes of technology • is responsible for promotion of research • legislates on higher vocational education and training and the universities of applied sciences • funds vocational education and training.