Navigation on swiss-education-system

Content navigation

You are here: Home / General information

General information

The Swiss education system comprises the following educational levels:

  • primary level  (including Kindergarten or first learning cycle)
  • upper secondary level:  vocational education and training (VET) and general education schools (Baccalaureate schools and upper secondary specialised schools)
  • tertiary level education:  tertiary level professional education in the non-university sector (Federal Diploma of Higher Education Examinations, Advanced Federal Diploma of Higher Education Examinations and colleges of higher education) and universities (universities, universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education)

The main responsibility for the education system resides with the 26 cantons: the cantons are responsible for the education system wherever the Federal Constitution does not stipulate that the Confederation is responsible. The responsibilities of the Confederation apply to post-compulsory education: with regard to Baccalaureate schools, vocational and professional education and training, and universities, the Confederation and the cantons are partners, sharing responsibility for the public education system. The municipalities perform various tasks, particularly regarding compulsory education.

At federal level all matters relating to education, research and innovation have been brought together in the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER). The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, (SERI), is the federal government's specialised agency for national and international matters concerning education, research and innovation policy.

Responsibilities in the education system

The responsibilities for regulation, financing, execution and supervision vary according to educational level and educational institution.

Cooperation in the education system

Coordination and cooperation are of central importance to the coherence of the Swiss education system. The Federal Constitution obliges the Confederation and the cantons to cooperate with each other, and also obliges the cantons to cooperate with one another. Since 1970, intercantonal cooperation has been based on the Intercantonal Agreement on Education Coordination.