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2018-07-30 11:57:12

Secondary schools in Switzerland for foreign students

Secondary schools in Switzerland for foreign students

Secondary schools in Switzerland in the modern dynamic world enjoy great popularity among students from around the world, and education in high school in Switzerland is very effective and prestigious. A certificate of secondary complete education, obtained in any educational institution in Switzerland, today can be considered a guarantee of a successful career in the future, as well as a good tool for admission to higher education institutions, not only in Switzerland, but all over the world. In this article, you can now learn more about studying in a secondary school in Switzerland.

Secondary schools in Switzerland today are deservedly considered to be the leaders in the world in terms of the quality and effectiveness of education, and education in high school in Switzerland is highly valued and very prestigious. When mentioning Switzerland, the words "reliability", "quality", "efficiency" come to mind. So they say about the banking services sector, developed in Switzerland, as in no other country in the world, about clockwork. These descriptions are also suitable for studying in a secondary school in Switzerland. Here are located one of the most prestigious and ranking private schools with the boarding of not only the countries of the European Union, but the whole world! It is here that students from all over the world prefer to receive a high-quality secondary education. Swiss boarding schools accept for the education of children of absolutely any nationality. Of course, in order to get into the desired educational institution, you need to prepare well beforehand, because the students take the entrance examinations.

Below, SMAPSE experts will explain to you, which features of the Swiss education system should be taken into account when choosing an educational institution, and also tell what to look for directly when choosing a secondary school in Switzerland.

Specific features of the education system in Switzerland

What distinguishes the Swiss educational system from the systems of other countries of the European Union? The main difference is that the Swiss education system as such is not formed (in the generally accepted sense of the word) - the fact is that the Swiss state system provides for the division of the country into oblasts, or cantons that have broad powers of self-government, including in sphere of education. It turns out that each canton has its own mini-system of education, and the state in the sphere of education performs only supervisory and controlling functions. However, this does not mean that each canton is taught in its own way; nevertheless, there are national standards, as well as common sense and, what is most important, foreign education systems, in the image and likeness of which the vast majority of cantons are building their respective spheres. The state, for its part, ensures the accessibility of different stages of education to a broad stratum of the population, including for foreign students. In Switzerland, compulsory primary and secondary education, which the Swiss receive for free at the age of 6 to 16 years. The independence of the cantons is also reflected in the differences in the final certificates, but the state has prudently introduced the principle of interchangeability of documents on the completion of the education stage between the cantons.

As mentioned earlier, the main specific features of schools in Switzerland are the high quality of education, its popularity among students from around the world, as well as recognition at the international level. Despite the fact that Switzerland actively uses the work of teachers from other countries ( Great Britain, the United State, Canada, etc.), the country is known for its own developments and educational programs that have won worldwide recognition: these are the methods of educating and educating the children of Montessori, Pestalozzi and some others. As in Great Britain, in Switzerland, the presence of educational traditions, born in the 16th century and formed by our time, is quite strong. The main principles of teaching students in Switzerland today are the following:

  • First, the upbringing and education of students has the primary goal of developing in each student their individualities, the disclosure of talents and abilities, the study and disclosure of the personal potential of students;
  • Secondly, the educational process is built by the teaching staff in such a way that absolutely all the students in the class are interested in, the personal approach is widely used, in which each child receives as much attention as can be required, because only in this way it is possible to really teach students not just what something to a certain material, but to teach oneself to think, analyze and think;
  • Thirdly, the principles of the flexibility of the educational system and curricula are pursued-that is, the professional teacher, having many years of experience working with students, can improvise, devoting more or less time to various topics-everything depends on the students. At the same time, the richest experience of the leading bordinating educational institutions of the world is used, which in the end makes it possible to obtain a highly efficient alloy of different educational systems.

The main stages of education in the Swiss secondary school for foreign students

Swiss law provides for compulsory primary and secondary education for students, while secondary education includes an elementary school, and also from 3 to 4 years of schooling in a secondary school.

Elementary classes provide for the education of students aged 5 to 6 years. It is important to note that in most cases the Swiss go to the primary class immediately after the kindergarten (primary school in Switzerland), which operates on the basis of the same educational institution. By the way, the possibility of entering primary school in Switzerland is also available for foreign students, and no additional tests are required for admission. The primary school provides for the compulsory study of a foreign language, and the number of subjects can vary from 20 to more than 30 academic hours a week - all depends on the canton in which the institution is located. Another specific feature of the Swiss primary school is the fact that all disciplines are taught by one teacher - this circumstance allows students to feel familiar and comfortable throughout the course.

After 6 years of schooling in primary school, students move to secondary school in Switzerland. The secondary school is divided in Switzerland into 2 stages. The first stage is called Secondaire I and lasts from 3 to 4 years. At the end of the secondary school at this stage, the students take the exam, the results of which are divided into 2 parts: one consists of those who successfully pass the exam - they go further to the second stage of the secondary school called Secondaire II. The second stream is formed from those guys who, for one reason or another, were not able to score enough points in the final exam - they go to vocational schools and colleges for education. The second stream at the end of all the studies at the secondary school in Switzerland receive a certificate of secondary vocational education (Maturité professionnelle).

By the way, secondary education in Switzerland retains the right to receive higher education for those students who received a certificate of secondary vocational education - in this case, higher education will also be professional (applied).

So, after successfully passing the exam, students continue to study at the secondary school in Switzerland on the Secondaire II educational program, which consists in intensified preparation for passing the final examinations for a certificate of complete secondary education of the Swiss model, called Maturité gymnasiale (the so-called matriculation certificate).

It is also very important that, since several languages are official in Switzerland at once, education can also take place in any of these languages. However, in Switzerland there are also secondary schools functioning according to the standards of the education system of any country in the world (Great Britain, USA, Canada, Germany, etc.). The fact is that during the formation of education and pedagogy in Switzerland, a large number of teachers from different countries came to the country, who developed their educational methods here. In addition, in Switzerland there are also cantons, in which they speak mainly Italian, French or German.

One way or another, the language of secondary school in Switzerland is not so important - certificates of completion of secondary school are recognized in all cantons, as well as abroad, that is, holders of certificates of maturity can easily enter the leading institutions of higher education Switzerland and the world, while passing additional admission tests or exams will not be needed (in the case of admission to Switzerland). In the case of admission to the university outside of Switzerland, of course, you will need to pass the entrance examinations. Moreover, it is necessary that the language at which the education took place in secondary school in Switzerland coincided with the language in which the university will be educated. Otherwise, the student will find it very difficult (or impossible at all) to join the training team. Therefore, when choosing an educational institution in Switzerland, it is important to understand where the child will later go.

Education in secondary school in Switzerland for secondary vocational education

As mentioned earlier, those students who for some reason failed to successfully pass the final exam of the first stage of secondary school Secondaire I, go to vocational schools, that is, they receive specialization. This circumstance very often happens in Switzerland among local students - this way of obtaining secondary education is even the most popular. During the secondary school education in Switzerland, secondary students are enrolled twice a week in a college or technical school, and the remaining three days they attend internships and practices - each assigned to a specific company in Switzerland, which is selected in accordance with the specialization of the student. At the end of the Secondaire II stage, students also pass the specialization examinations and receive a certificate of full secondary vocational education, also called a "professional maturity certificate" (Maturité professionnelle). This document allows graduates not only to work on specialization, but also to enter a higher educational institution. True, not all universities open doors with a certificate of secondary vocational education - in Switzerland there are 2 groups of higher education institutions: academic and professional. Accordingly, students of secondary vocational schools can enter the second group of universities without examinations, that is, according to the results of the final examination in the secondary school. In academic universities, it is also necessary to take entrance examinations in addition.

Features of the beginning of the school year in Switzerland

Another feature of the education in secondary school in Switzerland is the fact that the answer to the question about the beginning of the academic year will not be universal for the whole country. The fact is that, since each canton has considerable independence, the academic year in different parts of the country begins in different ways. In many cantons the beginning coincides with the generally accepted in the world first of September, however there are also such educational institutions where students go to school in the end of August or in the middle of September. By the way, in Switzerland for a long enough time the debates about establishing a unified start of the academic year in the country have not ceased, but the question is far from final solution. Therefore at the moment it is necessary to specify the period of the beginning of the academic year in each particular secondary school taken.

The process of enrolling in a secondary school in Switzerland

At first, it may seem that Switzerland's educational system is rather confusing and incomprehensible, but any foreign student can freely enter secondary school in Switzerland. During the enrollment of a foreign student to primary schools or to the first stage of secondary school Secondaire I, at any educational institution in Switzerland, he is offered free language courses in a foreign language that depends on the location of the school. These language courses are organized on the basis of the same educational institutions, which allows students not only to prepare for the entrance exam and school education, but also to get to know him personally, as well as with the teachers who will teach him after successful admission.

In case of admission to the second stage of secondary education in Switzerland, Secondaire II, the successful enrollment of a student also depends on the level of fluency in a foreign language. Language courses of a foreign language are also available, where applicants qualitatively and in a relatively short time will increase the level of possession of one or another foreign language. The introductory test for a foreign language was introduced by teachers because of the high popularity of schools in Switzerland. Thus, only the most capable students enter educational institutions.

Thus, compulsory secondary education in Switzerland includes, first, education in primary school Secondaire I (students aged 6 to 16 years), and second, the second stage of secondary education Secondaire II, after which students aged 18 years for 19 years are awarded certificates of full secondary education (Maturité gymnasiale). Education, received in high school in Switzerland, is considered one of the most high-quality and prestigious in the world. According to the latest estimates of authoritative international agencies and organizations working in the field of education, the level of education offered by Swiss schools is at a much higher level than the average for countries belonging to the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

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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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