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Switzerland Education Facts


All pre-college education is the responsibility of the cantons. Therefore, there are 26 different education systems in the country. Responsibility for higher education is shared between the cantons and the federal government.

The lack of a uniform school system poses a number of problems, including for students who move and in admission to higher education. Work is underway to increase national coordination and federal influence over the school.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Switzerland, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.

In most cantons, compulsory schooling comprises a few years of preschool, followed by a first six-year stage and three years corresponding to high school. About 90 percent of young people finish high school. Most of them go on vocational courses with internships, while just over a third of high school graduates go to programs that provide access to universities. Almost half of the adults have studied at a university or college.

Switzerland has many private schools, several of them with boarding schools and a large number of foreign students. The vast majority of Swiss children attend public schools.

Ten cantons have universities, five of which are German-speaking, three French-speaking, one bilingual and one Italian-speaking. The country also has two federal technical colleges, a couple of private universities and a number of music and art schools. Several schools are considered to be of very high quality and attract many students from abroad. This applies not least to both the university and the Technical University of Zurich.

  • Educationvv: Provides school and education information in Switzerland, covering middle school, high school and college education.


Proportion of children starting primary school

93.5 percent (2016)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

10 (2016)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP

15.5 percent (2015)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget

15.5 percent (2015)



Tightened asylum rules

After a sharp increase in asylum seekers, the government decides on stricter asylum laws. Among other things, the right of asylum for war deserters is abolished, and the possibility of seeking asylum at Swiss embassies ends.


Bank secrecy is eased

After hard pressure from the United States, the government is forced to relieve the bank secrecy somewhat. The United States is pushing for access to American citizens’ bank accounts in so-called tax havens.



Elections to the Federal Assembly

SVP backs slightly after a long period of success, to 26.6 percent (which gives 60 seats in both houses). SP gets 57 seats, CVP 44 seats, FDP 41 and Green Liberals 14 and BDP 10.


Ceilings are introduced for the franc

The central bank decides that the Swiss franc should not cost more than EUR 1.20.


Two bilateral tax treaties are concluded

Switzerland concludes an agreement with Germany and the UK to tax the accounts of its citizens in Switzerland from 2013. The historical agreement also decides on large sums that Germany and the UK will receive as compensation for the accounts not previously taxed.


Nuclear decommissioning decision

The government decides that the country’s five nuclear power plants should be decommissioned when the reactors served, between 2019 and 2035. The nuclear power disaster in Fukushima, Japan a few months earlier is behind the decision.

No to euthanasia

In the canton of Zurich, voters vote down proposals to ban the right to assisted suicide.


No to a weapons ban

Voters are stopping in a referendum a proposal to ban military weapons in the homes. The Swiss have the right to keep their weapons after their military service.



Yes to automatic deportation

In a referendum, an SVP proposal is approved that foreign citizens who are convicted of serious crimes should be automatically expelled. 52.3 percent of voters support the proposal. Again, Switzerland is being criticized abroad for what is perceived as an xenophobic attitude.


Woman-dominated government

Two new members of government have been appointed since the representatives resigned. As Simonetta Sommaruga becomes Minister, Switzerland for the first time gets a government with more women than men. In the relatively conservative country, it is referred to as startling.


Relations with Libya are normalized

This can happen after the last of the two arrested Swiss businessmen were released and allowed to leave Libya (September 2008 and August 2009). The first businessman was allowed to return home in February, while his colleague was then handed over to Libyan authorities. The conflict had come to include the EU as well, when Libya introduced visa halt for all citizens of the EU passport Schengen, which also includes Switzerland.


Try to stop strong currency

The central bank buys large amounts of foreign currency in an attempt to bring down the exchange rate on the Swiss franc.


Conflict with Germany

Relationships crackle when it is discovered that German authorities have purchased a list containing bank account information, and stolen by a bank employee in Switzerland. The bank accounts belong to German taxpayers.

Switzerland Best Colleges and Universities