The Swiss education system is mostly regulated by the cantons. Thus, there are actually 26 school systems in Switzerland; however, the main features are roughly the same in all cantons:
Attending primary and secondary schools is mandatory; in some cantons, kindergarten, too, is compulsory. Kindergarten, primary and secondary schools are free. Children attend kindergarten at the age of 5 and school when they turn 7. The length of compulsory schooling is 9 years. The school year begins in early autumn, usually in August. The average class-size usually consists of nearly 25 students.
Overview and comparison of the Swiss school system with the American, British and French systems
Swiss public schools enjoy a very good reputation: 95% of all students attend public schools. Due to the high proportion of foreigners in the Swiss population (approximately 20%), the public schools are well prepared with regard to children and young people who speak other native languages. In such cases, comprehensive individual support and integration measures are offered.
If you are planning to stay in Switzerland for a long time, then it is worth attending the public schools – also because of better social integration. If you are visiting Switzerland for a few months or years, attending an international school is a better option.
The availability of international schools in Switzerland is rather modest due to the solid reputation of the public schools. Zurich and Geneva are exceptions
You can find a list of international schools on the next page.
[Link] Overview and comparison of the Swiss school system with the American, British and French systems
[Link] Basic information about the Swiss education system
[Link] Diagram of the Swiss education system
[Link] List of school holidays in Switzerland (german)