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2018-07-30 11:56:59

The system of education in Switzerland for foreign students

The system of education in Switzerland for foreign students

In this article you can get acquainted with the educational system of Switzerland, which stages it includes. Switzerland is famous for its highest quality of education in everything, and the foreign student has an excellent opportunity to study in elite Swiss educational institutions.

Any reminder of Switzerland causes associations with delicious elite chocolate, reliable and transparent banks, picturesque Alps, as well as prestigious and expensive resorts, attracting millions of foreign tourists. The universally known fact is that living in Switzerland involves expensive and high prices, at the same time, entering the ranking and leading boarding schools and universities in Switzerland, before the foreign student, after completing the education, there are many opportunities for successful employment. It is worth noting that it is in Switzerland that the largest number of the most top-ranking and elite universities in Europe are concentrated, with many graduates becoming Nobel laureates after graduation.

SMAPSE experts would like to draw your attention to the fact that a foreign student will be able, without significant obstacles, to study at the advanced school-board of Switzerland among the most beautiful Alps. However, efforts will have to be made to achieve this ambitious goal. Below you will find the detailed information, having familiarized with which you will have a full understanding of the structure of the educational system of Switzerland, learn the most top and ranking schools-boarding houses and universities of this country, as well as the cost of education.

Educational System in Switzerland

It is worth starting with the fact that a single unified educational system has not been created on the territory of Switzerland. Thus, the number of self-developed education systems fully corresponds to the number of Swiss federal cantons. Note that the cantons are understood as the regions into which Switzerland is divided, which is due to the specific features of the Swiss Constitution. Despite this situation, one can find many common characteristics among the developed and accepted 26 educational systems. As for the federal government, it is responsible for ensuring the quality education of students in the territory of each Swiss region, as well as its availability, including financial.

It is also worth noting that when a child who is a citizen of Switzerland, 6 years and up to 16 years of age, receiving an education is mandatory, while the Swiss can be studied on a free basis. In spite of the canton on whose territory the diploma was obtained, this document on education is universally recognized and quoted everywhere in Switzerland.

Educational principles in Switzerland

The key feature of the Swiss education is due to the fact that among all countries of the world it is recognized as the best, diplomas are quoted in any country. Thus, since the 16th century, which was marked by the Reformation era, Switzerland has become the progenitor of a modern and new approach in the education of students. Thus, at present the traditional Swiss methods are based on the development of educational systems in various cantons of Switzerland. Only experienced and popular teachers took part in their development, in particular, Pestalozzi, Montessori, Piaget and others. It was these figures that once became the founders of reformatory pedagogy. Thus, the following principles are based on teaching:

  • upbringing and education of students is focused on the intensive development of individual talents and abilities;
  • in the framework of education, a student should be interested in learning, thereby demonstrating his abilities.

The educational system of Switzerland is characterized by diversity and flexibility. The methodology of teaching and the educational programs themselves contain the best that has been created by schools in other countries of the world.

Leading Preschool and Primary Education in Switzerland

It is worth starting with the fact that in Switzerland, pre-school education is not mandatory. However, the majority of the Swiss decide to visit their children's kindergartens. According to the expert opinion in prestigious preschool institutions in Switzerland, the child more easily undergoes socialization, thereby receiving quality education for the school. So, in the elite Swiss kindergartens about 154 thousand children are studied. At the earliest age, one can enroll in a given type of educational institution. In particular, groups have been established that accept children who have reached the age of 4 months. However, in the majority of cases, prestigious pre-school institutions in Switzerland accept babies who have reached 3 or 4 years. Within the walls of these educational institutions, pre-school education is provided, at the same time children actively play, sleep and eat. Thus, the leading preschool institutions in Switzerland provide only modern infrastructural equipment, for interesting leisure time students can visit the pool and gym, which are created in almost every educational institution. When choosing the most elite and prestigious Swiss kindergarten, a child can stay in its walls for half a working day.

Private and public preschool institutions in Switzerland

In Switzerland, elite kindergartens are divided into private and public, their total number reaches 5,000. At the same time, 300 prestigious pre-school establishments are private, providing for tuition fees. While entering public kindergartens, part of the costs associated with education is assigned to the municipal authorities in the territory of which the pre-school institution is located. As for the parents, they pay a fee corresponding to their income level.

Swiss elite kindergartens set a sliding schedule for education, that is, after dinner, parents can leave the baby, and pick it up after returning home. It should be noted that some ranking kindergartens receive full-time babies, however, Switzerland does not have 24-hour educational institutions and boarding schools.

It is also worth mentioning the following fact that in Switzerland there are kindergartens that accept for education kids with disabilities and limited opportunities. In the walls of such prestigious educational institutions special conditions are created, however, standard skills are instilled in children at the level of ordinary kids. The stay of children in this type of educational institution ends with the arrival of the moment concerning the acquisition of skills and abilities sufficient for visiting standard kindergartens.

The process of preschool education in Switzerland

Games are used as the main method of teaching preschool institutions. Are you probably somewhat surprised? Thus, the children repeat songs and poems for the teachers, and they also actively observe the nature. Also, teachers are told extremely entertaining stories, from which students are simply delighted. Simultaneously, in the framework of education, the beginning of foreign language classes is envisaged. In accordance with the pedagogical opinion, the use of the didactic approach, which is aimed at mastering a certain amount of knowledge, is simply unacceptable for students at an early age. The Swiss teaching methodology is characterized by pragmatic and personal orientation. Within the framework of the game educators and teachers determine the creative abilities and inclinations of the child, after their definition, their development takes place. After graduation in a prestigious kindergarten in Switzerland, the child's level of knowledge is low, however, he has better physical development, he has acquired self-confidence, in addition, the child is constantly in excellent spirits.

Elite primary education in Switzerland

In most cases, prestigious Swiss kindergartens are established as offices on the basis of the best primary boarding schools in Switzerland. It is worth noting that Swiss students begin to obtain a prestigious primary education after 5-6 years. In connection with which, at present, most of the preschool institutions acquire the status of schools. Thus, in the near future leading kindergartens will be divided into 2 levels of primary education. In the majority of the cantons of Switzerland, the duration of primary education is 6 years. As for the admission to the Swiss top-board school, there are no requirements for passing tests or exams. The doors of the leading educational institutions are widely open to children who wish to receive a top-level education in Switzerland. The key discipline for learning is a foreign language. The teaching load is determined by the teachers themselves and the Swiss canton. So, the load can vary from 23 to 32 sessions during the week. One teacher is responsible for teaching all disciplines.

Elite secondary education in Switzerland

In accordance with Swiss law, all foreign students are obliged to receive a leading secondary education, which is the initial and the first stage of secondary education, whose name is SecondaireI. Students are studied at this educational level after reaching 6 years and up to 15 inclusive. As for the prestigious public school-boarding houses in Switzerland, the children are studied free of charge. The duration of study at the SecondaireI stage is 3-4 years after the successful completion of the leading primary school in Switzerland. Within the framework of this educational stage, according to the level of achievement and abilities, students are divided into 4 groups, namely:

  • students who plan to enter the Swiss university in the future are included in group A. So, they are intensively preparing for exams and successfully entering the ranking gymnasium;
  • students of real classes, provided for the passage of the same educational program but with a lesser degree of intensity of the learning material, students are included in the conditional group B;
  • special classes for students have been created, which have difficulties with the development of the educational program, that is, students study in group C;
  • students who, at the end of secondary school, become students of special gymnasiums, the duration of study is 6 years.

In the event that a student of a weaker group shows good performance, he can be transferred to another group. However, considerable effort will be required to achieve this goal.

The second educational stage is called SecondaireII, which represents the next level of high school. His passing stipulates the receipt of a complete secondary education. Usually, the duration of study at this educational level will be 2-4 years. The difference is due to the fact that the type of education the foreign student was chosen for, or what educational programs are offered by the elite boarding schools of the particular canton of Switzerland. However, regardless of the location of the ranking school-boarding house of Switzerland, all educational institutions without exception have excellent equipment, at their disposal is a vast area on which modern sports grounds are built.

Elite gymnasiums in Switzerland

Entering the leading Swiss gymnasium, a foreign student is required to choose a profile, in particular, humanitarian, science, etc. In accordance with the selected profile, 15 basic disciplines and several additional disciplines are envisaged. In addition, in the prestigious gymnasiums of Switzerland, the qualitative preparation for examinations is conducted, which will allow the graduate to become a holder of a certificate of maturity, whose title is "Maturitégymnasiale". Having this diploma in his hands, it is possible for him to enter the Swiss University of Ranking, thereby continuing his academic education. At the age of 18-19 students become recipients of this certificate.

Top professional education in Switzerland

Students who are not enrolled in Switzerland's ranking gymnasiums can continue to receive professional education. This decision is taken by the preferential number of Swiss. For 2 days students are attending school, while the remaining 3 days are devoted to an internship at a certain large enterprise that corresponds to the profile of the student. Upon completion of successful education, graduates receive a certificate of secondary vocational education. Having this certificate on hand, it is possible to enroll in an elite Swiss university of a special kind, which is an applied or otherwise professional university, without passing exams. If you want to enter the Swiss University of Ranking, students who have received a professional education will need to pass exams.

Best Swiss boarding schools

On the territory of Switzerland, since the tradition has been formed for a long time, a large number of foreign students are being studied. In connection with which, many elite boarding schools are taught in accordance with the standards, both Swiss education and other countries of the world. For example, French, Italian, English and other high-quality international programs are offered to foreign students. Upon completion of the education, graduates are given certificates, universally recognized in Switzerland. However, entering the top Swiss university, it is mandatory to pass exams, you need to get a passing score, and you also need to show the admissions office of a prestigious university knowledge and good command of a foreign language, which provides education. It should be noted that in Switzerland more than 260 elite boarding schools successfully operate, being located in the majority of cases in tourist resorts popular among tourists. In the walls of the best boarding schools in Switzerland are studied, both foreign students and Swiss. Thus, Switzerland is currently actively discussing the issue of the obligation of communities to compensate for part of the costs associated with educating a child in a leading boarding school, parents, or not.

Specific characteristics of obtaining elite education in Switzerland

Due to the fact that according to the Swiss legislation several languages are installed as an official language, the teaching is carried out in one of the following languages within the walls of the leading boarding schools, namely German, French or Italian. In addition, after graduation, graduates are required to know the second state language based on their own choice and, of course, to speak English. Given the fact that Switzerland is somewhat behind in terms of knowledge in the field of preschool education, while Swiss secondary education receives an extremely high rating among other countries in the world. According to the assessment given by the international program for analyzing the achievements of PISA students among European countries, the level of knowledge and education of graduates educated in Switzerland is above the average. As an interesting fact, let us cite the following: the financing of the leading state kindergartens and primary schools in Switzerland is carried out by the communities, in particular, villages and towns. As for the prestigious secondary boarding schools, the cantons in which they are located are responsible for their financing.

Beginning of the school year in Switzerland

The establishment of a specific start date for the school year is independently decided by the canton of Switzerland. Thus, in the territory of some cantons, education is scheduled for 11.15, on 20 August. Just imagine, only the latest Swiss boarding schools open their doors widely for students seeking to gain new knowledge, on September 1. However, at present, Switzerland is actively discussing the issue of establishing a single date for the start of the academic year in all cantons, without exception. At the same time, SMAPSE experts note that these issues are usually resolved in a referendum, and approval is required from at least 10 cantons.

The ability of foreign students to study in Switzerland

SMAPSE experts hasten to please you that foreign students can study at the leading Swiss boarding schools on a free basis. However, the difference in the conditions and requirements of education is conditioned by the concrete canton on whose territory the foreign student will reside, as well as the stage of obtaining education in Switzerland. In case of admission to the primary or secondary boarding school, the foreign student is assigned language courses that do not provide for additional payment, the language depends on which of them is being taught. The end of the passage of effective language courses ends with the onset of the moment of mastering a foreign language at a level sufficient for education. Not knowing a good level of foreign language, a foreign student will not be admitted to study at an elite Swiss senior boarding school. This situation is conditioned by the fact that more than 50% of foreign students are studied in the elite and ranking boarding schools of Switzerland, and the teachers face the task of teaching high level of quality of academic knowledge. In Switzerland, there are specialized leading schools providing for teaching in English, however, instruction in them is paid.

Inclusive education in Switzerland

For more than the first decade, an inclusive education format has been successfully implemented in Switzerland. If the child has special features in development, then he in any case is studied in conjunction with ordinary students. However, parents can not worry, since in the walls of elite boarding schools in Switzerland, any possibility of discrimination is leveled. Especially for students who have limited mobility, or are hard of hearing or seeing, all conditions for unhindered attendance of classes are created, as all school buildings, classrooms, libraries have only modern equipment and special devices that help students to easily move around and learn the teaching material.

Thus, this format of education contributes to the development of social skills in students with disabilities, while at the same time accustoming ordinary students to proper behavior of themselves with people with special characteristics in development. In addition, the choice of a student with a disability in the educational institution of Switzerland depends on the individual characteristics and illness, on the basis of which a specialized and specially equipped rehabilitation center has been established. The prestigious Swiss boarding schools attract specialists who provide professional assistance to students with developmental peculiarities, while applying the latest advanced interactive teaching methods. At the end of the education, graduates with disabilities are almost unhindered to adapt to adulthood.

Higher education in Switzerland

Due to the financial resources of the cantons of Switzerland, in the territory of which the ranking universities are located, the process of obtaining elite higher education by students is being financed. The exception is 2 universities, which are funded from the federal budget.

All the leading Swiss universities are divided into 2 types, namely universities and applied universities, including business schools, evening technical colleges, in which busy people are studied. As for the prestigious applied higher education institutions of Switzerland, they provide qualitative education of narrow specialists for a certain field of activity, in particular tourism or engineering. Thus, 23 applied universities have been created on the territory of Switzerland, of which 14 are pedagogical universities and 120 technical colleges. Duration of education is 3-4 years.

Ranking academic education in Switzerland

If you intend to get a prestigious academic education, then it is only possible to implement it in elite universities in Switzerland. In the majority of cases, they have the status of state. 2 federal universities, 10 cantonal, 2 technological institutes and several private ones are functioning successfully in Switzerland. The duration of study in the walls of the ranking Swiss university varies from 4 to 6 years. However, due to the alignment of the Swiss education system with the Bologna system, the majority of Switzerland's universities provide for education under the bachelor's program (duration is 3 years), as well as in the master's program, which lasts 1.5 - 2 years. After graduating with a master's degree, you can be studied for another 3 years to obtain a doctorate.

It should be noted that the academic year is divided into 2 semesters, namely winter (lasts from October to March) and summer, providing education from April to July.

Brief information about the leading universities in Switzerland

The oldest and most elite university in Switzerland is located in Basel, whose foundation date is 1460. While the largest academic university in Switzerland is recognized by the University of Zurich, in which 25,000 students are studied simultaneously. So, education is possible in several faculties, but the most popular is the Faculty of Philosophy. In addition, over 50% of students at the Zurich University are studying at the Faculty of Philosophy. It is also worth noting that quality teaching is conducted in such disciplines as natural sciences, medicine, economics, law, veterinary medicine, theology. On the basis of the University of Zurich, the leading Higher Technical School operates, within the walls of which foreign students can study in architecture, management, mathematics and social sciences.

Among foreign applicants, prestigious universities in Switzerland, such as Geneva, Lausanne, Neufchatel and Friborg, are in high demand and popular. The fame of the University of Geneva is due to the highest level of quality of teaching law, medicine and literature. By enrolling in the ranking university of Lausanne, a foreign student will be able to obtain the academic education of a criminalist, a lawyer, a biologist, a theologian, a pharmacologist, a psychologist - the choice of specialization remains for the student. The fame and widespread popularity of the University of Berne was obtained thanks to the faculties of political science, physics, astronomy, and statistics. According to experts who are responsible for assessing the quality of education in elite universities in Switzerland, the highest level of quality teaching of the economy is demonstrated in St. Gallen and Lausanne. As for banking, it is better for an applicant to enter Basel or Zurich in order to become a professional lawyer, you should go to Friborg and Neufchatel. Philology is best taught in Geneva.

Perspectives of getting education in Switzerland for foreign students

As mentioned above, Swiss and foreign entrants can become students of elite universities in Switzerland. The cost of obtaining Swiss education is the lowest among the countries of Europe. So, among the total number of students making up 245,000, 47,000 are foreign students. At the same time, the number of foreign students studying at the top universities of Switzerland increases every year.

As an interesting fact, let us cite the following: Switzerland is the first country in Europe, which for the first time introduced exchange educational programs for students. As for foreign applicant for them the process of entry is easier to apply to a Swiss university than to a university. In connection with this, foreign entrants seeking to study at Swiss academic universities in Switzerland initially choose to enter a professional college, a business school, or as an alternative to an applied university.

Selection of foreign entrants

The most popular foreign applicants are Swiss professional and technical prestigious universities and business schools, enrolling in which you can get education in the direction of tourism, hotel and restaurant management, banking, finance. The prestige of Swiss education is universally recognized, thus, at the end of the course, excellent career prospects are opened up. An indisputable fact is that the Swiss higher education in the direction of tourism and hotel business, in particular in mountain resorts, is universally recognized as a reference. In Switzerland, the teaching of banking meets the highest levels of quality and development, so any large corporation, including the international one, will happily employ a young graduate of a profile leading college in Switzerland or a business school because of the qualitative education of the best specialists from other countries of the world. Foreign applicants enter the ranking universities in Switzerland to study art, design, sociology, and economics.

The most important thing for admission is an excellent level of knowledge of a foreign language

In the territory of the various cantons of Switzerland, teaching is conducted in the language that has the official status in this particular region. In connection with what, as part of the admission to the ranking university in Switzerland, pay attention to this. However, in case of insufficient level of possession of a foreign language, a foreign student has the opportunity to attend additional language courses, the passage of which will allow him to reach the required level of knowledge of a foreign language. Foreign students and applicants from the CIS countries are somewhat easier to receive, as practice shows, in prestigious French-speaking universities in Geneva, Lausanne or Neufchatel. So, in the given ranking universities it is possible to apply immediately after finishing the education in the secondary school. To be enrolled to a foreign applicant, you will need to provide the admissions committee with a high school diploma with high marks, as well as a certificate attesting to a good level of knowledge of the French language (DALF). Admission to these prestigious universities in Switzerland does not provide for the passing of exams, and there is no competition. So, all foreign applicants who meet the established requirements are being accepted.

Requirements of elite universities in Switzerland

It should start with the fact that prestigious German-speaking universities make demands on foreign applicants, concerning the education for 2 years in their country. In addition, the foreign entrant will need to pass a single exam in five disciplines, with 3 subjects being mandatory, the other 2 being chosen independently by the Swiss university. The need to pass this exam is typical for both Italian-speaking and some French-speaking top universities in Switzerland. The delivery of this exam is scheduled once a year, namely in the autumn, around September-October in the city of Friborg.

Note that the Swiss leading universities have developed specialized courses aimed at foreign students, the passage of which contributes to effective preparation for the passing of a difficult exam. Course duration is 33 weeks. The university itself provides for the delivery of language tests in the absence of a certificate. It is worth noting that in the walls of prestigious applied universities in Switzerland teaching is conducted in English, in particular, it covers such specialties as tourism, business, management. Thus, for the purpose of successful enrollment, along with the granting of a certificate, you will need to pass a test proving a high level of knowledge of the English language. In the majority of cases, foreign applicants take the language exam TOEFL. In addition, the number of proposed educational programs that provide for teaching in English increases every year in Switzerland. In addition, in the case of highly demanded and popular educational programs, elite universities can independently enter competitive examinations.

The stages of arrival - at the start, attention, march!

Regardless of the region, the typical features of the foreign entrant will need to go through the following steps in order to be credited to the top-level university in Switzerland, namely:

  • Register for the selected education program by sending an electronic application
  • To pay the registration fee, in this case, if the applicant is enrolled, a refund of the amount
  • Prepare a package of documents for the preferred university, which includes:
  • The original or a copy of the certificate / diploma with marks, which is notarized;
  • In the case of studying at a local university, the applicant must send a curriculum and a list of the disciplines that have been passed, and it is required to indicate the language of instruction, as well as the number of academic hours for each discipline;
  • Brief information about yourself, 2 photos size 30x40 mm;
  • 2 letters of recommendation signed by officials;
  • Motivation letter;
  • The certificate of student's solvency, as a rule, is a certificate of the existence of a bank account, the minimum amount of which is 20,000 $, or alternatively a surety can be given to pay the required amount to cover the costs of studying and living in Switzerland.

On the official website of the Swiss University you can find detailed information concerning other necessary documents, the format of their delivery and the deadlines for their submission. After that, a foreign student will need to pass a language test, as well as an examination in Friborg. Next, you deal with the issue of insurance, and the final step will be to obtain a study visa.

Tuition fees in Switzerland

As everyone knows, Switzerland is the most expensive country in Europe, in connection with which, the price of education in Swiss prestigious educational institutions is quite high. However, this situation is typical when a foreign entrant chooses a ranking private university, a hotel management college, or a business school in Switzerland. The cost of education in such prestigious universities in Switzerland varies from 20,000  to 75,000 $ a year. The education is free of charge in the leading public universities and colleges in Switzerland. From the point of view of legal assessment, foreign students are also studied free of charge. So, they make payment in the amount of 500 to 1,000 , which is equivalent to 320 $ - 640 $, for tuition during the semester, while students make minimum contributions. Agree that this is a small amount, taking into account the country of education, where an extremely high standard of living. As for the rest of the expenses, which is about 95%, then the state takes responsibility for its payment.

Is it possible to earn extra money during the educational period?

In accordance with Swiss law, foreign students who study at elite universities in Switzerland, have the right to formally work, starting from the second year. In connection with which, foreign students receive a special residence permit, whose name is Permis. In addition, it is required to pass the procedure for issuing a permit for part-time work in the administration. The student's progress does not affect the issuance of this permission at all. The key requirement is that part-time work should not interfere with the passage of education. It should be noted that each canton in Switzerland independently determines the number of hours allocated for work. So, in Switzerland it can not exceed 15 hours per week during the semester. When the holidays come, the foreign student can work full-time.

Most of the students work in the prestigious Swiss university, in particular, students can work in the departments, helping teachers in writing books or conducting research, etc. In the case of education in leading professional universities or business schools in Switzerland, these institutions offer a variety of paid internship programs. With regard to this case, the institution of higher learning is selecting a job.

Grants and Scholarships for Study in Switzerland

Students who are residents of EU countries can become applicants for educational grants in Switzerland. For other categories of students this privilege does not apply. It is worth noting that foreign students can apply for government scholarships, however, their number is extremely small. As a statistical fact, we quote that from 30 to 40 scholarships are allocated for citizens of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe in order to finance education. In most cases, only excellent students are awarded scholarships.

In addition, scholarships have been created for foreign students who have already obtained higher education, and who plan to study at the graduate school of the elite state university of Switzerland. So, the amount of such financial assistance is on average 1,700 $, and its payment is carried out within 9 months, which is 1 academic year. Annually 8 specialized scholarships are assigned to students or graduate students-economists, the responsibility for the payment of such grants is assigned to the International Student Association in order to support students actively studying the economy.

Additional Scholarships in Switzerland

It should be noted that certain types of scholarships, whose target audience are students of master's programs in music and art, are issued by the Swiss government. At the same time, applicants can be students, representatives of those countries with which mutual agreements have been signed. Through this scholarship, the costs associated with studying and living in Switzerland are fully covered.

With this scholarship, a foreign applicant is not required to issue a certificate of a bank account. In addition, approximately 5-10 scholarships, amounting to 1,600 , are allocated annually by ranking Swiss universities in respect of foreign applicants who study in the framework of master's programs. As a rule, foreign students receive scholarships from the Swiss embassy in his country.

Accommodation of foreign students in Switzerland

Another key distinguishing feature of the Swiss higher education system from other EU countries is that some prestigious universities in Switzerland provide not only comfortable accommodation on campus, but also food, teaching materials, and sometimes inexpensive clothing.

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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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