Education system in Switzerland



Switzerland has an excellent education system in the private, public and international schools. Expats relocating to this city will be glad that their children will have several great options for their studies while living abroad.

The local curriculum has many similarities with the one used in international schools. Education in Switzerland and across the country is free for all Swiss citizens, and foreign children age four to 15 years old. All local or state-funded schools are free while private and international schools are mostly pricey.

Switzerland is divided into several cantons, where each canton chooses the structure of education, dates of holidays and syllabus of the schools within their areas. But in general, the Swiss educational system is divided into these levels:

  • Scuola dell'infanzia (Pre-school or Kindergarten)
  • Primarschule (Primary)
  • Sekundarschule (Lower Secondary)
  • Secondary
  • Tertiary (University Level)

Switzerland implements nine years of compulsory education which starts in the primary until lower secondary levels. Most children in the city start school at the age of six or seven, but there are also some parents who enrol their kids in pre-school at least two years before entering the compulsory primary level.

Academic year usually starts in mid-August or September where the length of each school year varies with every commune. The typical school hours are two and a half in the morning and two more hours in the afternoon. State-funded schools in Switzerland use German as the primary language in teaching, but there are also several subjects or lessons in English and French. Expats who are planning to stay in Switzerland for an extended period or permanently can enrol their kids in public schools since they will be more incorporated into the local language and culture.  

Registered foreign children who are between the ages of 6 and 15 are required to be enrolled either in the primary or secondary level in any school in Switzerland. Admission requirements depend on each school and commune. Here are some of the most requested documents when enrolling a child:

  • livret de famille (birth certificate)
  • Residence Permit
  • Proof of Accident and Health Insurance