Switzerland’s education system reflects the country’s federal structure. The 26 cantons are responsible for compulsory education, whereas the cantons and the Confederation share responsibilities for continuing education (vocational training, upper-secondary schooling, universities and professional education and training).
Education – Facts and Figures
Most children receive their compulsory education (nine or ten years) at their local state-run school. Afterwards, 90% of young people continue their education for a period of two, three or four years. Once they have obtained their post-compulsory qualifications, they either enter professional working life, embark on a higher vocational education course or enrol at university.
- In each academic year, there are around 167,000 children in pre-school, around 467,000 in primary school and around 255,000 in lower-secondary school.
- Around 366,000 young people are enrolled in upper-secondary education each year. Around two-thirds opt for a basic vocational education and training programme, known as an apprenticeship. All others attend a general education school (baccalaureate or specialised school).
- In each academic year around 238,000 students are enrolled in Swiss universities. Of these, 61% are enrolled in a cantonal university or a federal institute of technology, 30% at a university of applied sciences and 8% at a teacher training university.
- Today 41% of people aged between 25 and 64 have a higher-education qualification (university or vocational education).
- In Switzerland, public spending on education totals around CHF 35 billion a year, the equivalent of 5.6% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
- Business invests CHF 2.8 billion annually in vocational education and training.