In Switzerland, most children go to public schools. Private schools usually are expensive and people tend to think that students of private schools probably didn’t make it at the public school. Public schools include Kindergarten, Volksschule (“elementary school”), Gymnasium (“secondary school”), and Universitäten (“universities”).
Switzerland is home to some of the world’s best-ranked academic institutions. You can set your (Swiss-made) watch to the country’s unbeatable public transportation system, which provides easy access between major cities, including Berne, Basel, Geneva, Lucerne, Zurich, and Lugano, as well as to other parts of Europe.
Why Study in Switzerland?
World-leading research environment
Low tuition fees
study programs in English
Low student/faculty ratio and small working groups
Education System in Switzerland
School: In Switzerland, every child must attend at least the elementary school. Our country provides various schools at different levels. Because the cantons are responsible for the educational system, the names, the subjects, the starting age of the students and the duration vary significantly between the cantons. The rest of this document, therefore, focuses on how it works in the canton Zürich.
Kindergarten: Unlike school, children are not required to attend Kindergarten, but most children do go to Kindergarten. Children may attend Kindergarten for one year or two years. Because they are supposed to start school at the age of seven, they go to Kindergarten when they are five and six years old.
Volksschule “Elementary school”: The Volksschule (“elementary school”) is mandatory for all Swiss children. They must either attend public school or must go to a private school. Elementary school starts at the age of seven and lasts at least eight, but usually nine years.
Berufslehre “Apprenticeship”: In Switzerland, most kids start a Berufslehre (“apprenticeship”) after elementary school. Depending on the profession, an apprenticeship takes two to four years. Apprentice will get trained at a company or organization, but also attend school for one or two days a week. Some companies also provide additional classes on their own. After an apprenticeship and depending on their education, young people can either start a job or join other schools for further education.
Universität “University”: There are eleven Universitäten (“universities”) in Switzerland, nine of them are run by a canton, two are run by the confederation. In general, the universities run by the cantons provide non-technical subjects, whereas the universities run by the confederation provide technical subjects. The later are therefore called “Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology”.
The education is now broken up into two parts similar to the education in the USA:
Bachelor study (three to four years)
Masters study (one and a half or two years)