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2018-07-30 11:56:59

School education in Switzerland: schools in Switzerland

School education in Switzerland: schools in Switzerland

School education in Switzerland in the modern world is highly sought after by students from all over the world who wish to receive a prestigious and quality secondary education in schools in Switzerland. The certificate of obtaining a complete secondary education in Switzerland - a weighty advantage in the future when entering any university, not only Switzerland, but the whole world !. If you have already decided to send your child to study in Switzerland, then start the process of choosing the right educational institution in Switzerland right now - this article was created especially for you!

To date, school education in Switzerland is very prestigious and even elite, but it is no less accessible than secondary education in the UK, the US or Australia; schools in Switzerland accept girls and boys from all over the world for education and offer high-quality education, experienced and professional teachers and a wonderful infrastructure. Middle-level educational institutions in Switzerland around the world are considered synonymous with quality and reliability - however, like many other phenomena that can be found in Switzerland: all the known accurate and quality hours, banking services, food products and much more. It is worth noting that rank-and-file schools in Switzerland are essentially one of the most prestigious and rating private educational institutions with a boarding among the countries of the European Union, and indeed the whole world! However, prestige and elitism should not frighten those who want to get a school education in Switzerland, since absolutely all foreign students have equal chances to enter the country's secondary schools. Of course, for successful entry it is necessary to prepare very well, and preparation can take many years - after all, the education systems of foreign and Switzerland are different, not to mention the language of instruction. In this article, we will examine the unique features of the Swiss education system, its structure, and also tell you which aspects you should first pay attention to when choosing a private educational institution with a boarding house, preparing for admission; we will also pay attention to the cost of school education in Switzerland. All this information will allow you to begin today the selection of a suitable educational institution in Switzerland for your child.

Swiss education system: features and structure

It should be noted that the structure of the Swiss education system is quite interesting and in some ways even unique, since in fact there are many education systems for each of the Swiss cantons. The fact is that Switzerland is a federation, divided into actors, cantons, which are endowed with a large degree of independence. As a result, each of them develops its own education system, and the Swiss government is responsible for the overall quality and accessibility of schooling for students. Separately, it is worth mentioning the direction of the federal government's actions to increase the accessibility of education for children and their parents in terms of financial opportunities. Thus, for Swiss citizens, students of primary and secondary schools receive free education , which they receive from 6 to 16-17 years. A distinctive feature of the Swiss education system is also the lack of a national sample of the certificate of complete secondary education (as well as diplomas of higher education) - in each canton establishes its own sample of this document, but the Swiss government has decided to mutually recognize the documents on school education and higher education , obtained in different cantons.

And yet the main advantage and feature of school education in Switzerland is its worldwide recognition and high popularity among students from all over the world, as well as quality. As early as the 16th century, experienced teachers from Europe and then the world began to come to Switzerland, and for many centuries these teachers created unique teaching methods and educational traditions that are still held in schools in Switzerland:

  • School education in Switzerland is primarily aimed at realizing the potential of each student, developing skills - both existing and newly acquired;
  • The educational system in Switzerland is quite diverse and flexible, as we have already seen before; this circumstance allows the teaching staff to create and try in practice new teaching methods, to draw up specialized educational programs, while they use the rich experience of education abroad in the most prestigious and rating educational institutions of the world, adapting the world experience to Switzerland.
  • In the educational process, the emphasis is on the personality of each of the students: in order for the learning to be most effective and useful for children, each of the students needs to be interested in learning - for this the teachers use an individual approach and give each student as much time as he may need for mastering a particular material. As a result, all the students in the group successfully pass the final exams, because the teachers are working with each of them, individual gaps in knowledge.

Features of school education in Switzerland for  schoolchildren

School education in Switzerland, like in any other country, consists of primary and secondary links , but secondary education is both primary and secondary school (three to four years of schooling). Thus, school education in Switzerland - this is the secondary education.

In primary school children from five to six years old are trained. As a rule, children enter primary school after graduating from a pre-school educational institution at the same institution (that is, a kindergarten). It is worth mentioning that unlike the overwhelming majority of countries, any foreign student can enter primary school, since entrance examinations are not required for private educational institutions. During primary schooling, students are mainly engaged in the study of a foreign language, which depends on the location of the school (canton). The canton also affects the workload of students - it can vary from 20 to 32 academic hours per week (a five-day school week is established). Finally, an important aspect of education in Switzerland's elementary school is that all disciplines are taught by one teacher, which makes it possible to achieve even greater efficiency in school education in Switzerland through more frequent and close communication between the teacher and the student.

In elementary school, children in Switzerland spend about 6 years, after which they move to the middle classes. The middle link is also difficult, because it consists of two stages - Secondaire I and Secondaire II. The first stage of Secondaire I includes from 3 to 4 years of study, at the end of which students are divided into two groups depending on their academic performance: one group (usually consisting of successful students) continues to study at the middle level, but in the second stage - Secondaire II, while the second group (consisting of students who failed to pass the final exams) leaves the secondary school and moves to vocational colleges to get a secondary vocational education (Maturité professionnelle) in the future.

This circumstance also exists in the education system: some students prefer to leave school after the ninth grade and enter a vocational college or technical school in order to get a professional education. Later in Switzerland, students who have received secondary vocational education can enter higher education institutions, but not all, but only those that offer professional higher education.

So, those students who have demonstrated a decent level of achievement go to the second stage of secondary school education in Switzerland Secondaire II, which lasts three more years and consists in preparing students for the final examinations for the long-awaited document - the certificate of secondary general education (Maturité gymnasiale).

Another important aspect of school education in Switzerland is the lack of a single state language, instead of which Switzerland is equally "officially" in French, German and Italian. The English language does not have such a distribution, but the overwhelming majority of the country's population is still able to speak it. Moreover, the schools of Switzerland have the right to accept as the basis of their activities the education system or the standards of teaching and methodology of any country in the world, therefore in German cantons one can see educational institutions similar to German schools. This fact can be explained by the fact that during history a large number of foreign teachers and people of related professions came to Switzerland who developed an educational system in the respective cantons in accordance with the system in their country. And today, Switzerland has an unofficial division into three parts, depending on the language in which each part is spoken: Italian , French and German cantons.

One way or another, the language of instruction in schools in Switzerland is not so important for further steps in the field of education, since the certificates of secondary education of different educational institutions of Switzerland are mutually recognized throughout the country in different cantons, as well as in other European states, the USA, Canada and many others. In this case, students who graduated from secondary school in Switzerland can enter Switzerland's higher education institutions without having to pass the entrance examinations. If the plans for admission to universities abroad Switzerland, then the entrance test can not be avoided, and it will be much better if the language of instruction at the university coincides with the language of instruction in the Swiss secondary school. The same rule also applies in the reverse order: when graduating from a private high school in Switzerland based on the educational standards of another country, students must pass an additional examination when entering the universities of Switzerland, a passing and a language test is necessary.

As for the beginning of the school year in the schools of Switzerland, then there are also specific aspects. The fact is that in every canton in Switzerland the academic year can start in its term - from mid-August to mid-September, but in most educational institutions the international knowledge day is taken as the starting point - September 1. However, it is better to specify this information further when selecting an educational institution, if, of course, your plans depend on this date.

Specificity of secondary vocational education in schools in Switzerland

Those students in Swiss secondary schools who failed to demonstrate a high level of achievement in the first stage of secondary education Secondaire II, go to vocational schools to get a full professional education. I must say that vocational education is very popular among the Swiss, for them there is nothing shameful in leaving the secondary school and getting education in the analogues of  vocational schools (it need not be said that even the most ordinary professional college in Switzerland will give odds to many universities and institutes ). Vocational education is an academic lesson in a college or college two days a week, combined with a three-day practice, or internship, in an enterprise in Switzerland, which is selected depending on the profile of the training. At the end of training in a college or a technical school, graduates are awarded a certificate of secondary vocational education (which in Switzerland is called Maturité professionnelle). This document grants graduates the right to receive higher professional education at the university, but not in any: it must necessarily be a professional higher education institution. In such institutions, holders of secondary vocational education certificates do not need to pass entrance exams at admission, but the most prestigious and elite applied universities require the passing of certain examinations.

So, one part of the students continues their education in the second stage of the secondary school, which includes, among other things, preparation for entering Swiss leading and prestigious higher educational institutions . The second part of students can either be trained for the same educational program, but with a lower academic load, or go to colleges for professional secondary education. It is necessary to mention the possibility of transition of students showing some progress in terms of academic achievement, from groups with a relatively lower level of academic achievement to other groups. However, it is very difficult.

The order of admission to schools in Switzerland

Despite the fact that Switzerland's educational system is rather confusing and peculiar, it is the right and opportunity for any foreign student from any country in the world to enter and receive secondary education in Switzerland, including  students. Private boarding schools accept for training girls and boys from all over the world, including free of charge (however, it's almost impossible to enroll in a free place, unless, of course, you have Swiss citizenship).

When a foreign student enters primary school or at the first stage of the secondary level of Secondaire I, the vast majority of private schools in Switzerland provide him with absolutely free courses necessary for enrolling a foreign language (the choice of language directly depends on the location of the institution and the language of instruction). These foreign language educational courses are held directly in the building of a particular private boarding school so that students can see and know the place where they are to study, and also get acquainted with other students and teachers.

If a foreign student arrives at the second stage of secondary school Secondaire II, then for a successful entry the student must also take educational courses of a foreign language. At these language courses the student will be able to improve his level of proficiency with one or another foreign language in order to successfully pass the entrance test. This is necessary in order to adapt the foreign pupil to the language environment, to give him basic knowledge of the subjects in a foreign language, to introduce the terminology. Every year, schooling in Switzerland is trying to get more and more foreign students. The teaching staff of most schools in this regard have developed introductory tests in a foreign language, which allows to "weed out" children who need additional preparation before direct education in a secondary school in Switzerland.

Thus, compulsory schooling in Switzerland involves the training of schoolchildren between the ages of six to 16-17, with the secondary school in Switzerland being understood as primary classes and secondary education itself. The middle link consists of two stages - Secondaire I and Secondaire II, as a result of which a student at the age of 18 already has a certificate of complete secondary education and a Swiss model.

Schooling in Switzerland around the world enjoys well-deserved recognition due to its high efficiency and unrivaled quality. It should also be mentioned that, according to many eminent international education associations, the level of training in Swiss educational institutions is at a higher level than the average of the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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