Education in Switzerland: Main Trends in 2022

Education in Switzerland occupies a significant place as one of the most important components of the economy. The school system in Switzerland claims to be one of the best, the educational institutions of the country occupy high positions in world rankings.

Switzerland is a confederation, so the education system is managed at the local level: cantons are responsible for the management of pre-school education, secondary education in Switzerland – kindergartens, schools, higher education – some universities. Education in Switzerland described on Smapse varies considerably by canton: for example, some begin to teach the first foreign language in the fourth grade, while others begin in the seventh grade.

The education system in Switzerland

The education system in Switzerland qualifies as one of the best, educational institutions of the country occupy high positions in world rankings.

Most children and teenagers in Switzerland attend Swiss public schools. The level of education there is high, and the teaching is multilingual. Lessons are taught in the language of the region (German, French, Italian or Romansh), some classes are held in the second official language, as well as in English. Children attend public school in their place of residence, where education is free of charge. Public schools do not offer meals to students, they do not have school uniforms. Secondary schools in Switzerland have several options:

  • Public, private educational institutions
  • Boarding schools, day schools
  • International schools
  • Educational institutions with specialized teaching methods

Public school education in Switzerland is of high quality, and the cost of education in Switzerland remains low. Most local children attend public schools. Private schools, as a rule, are expensive, and mainly offer education in Switzerland for foreign students: the cost varies from 15000CHF for the day study to 120000CHF for a year in the top closed schools.

The public education system in Switzerland includes:

  • Kindergarten.
  • Elementary school (grades 1-6)
  • Secondary schools of different types and durations
  • Swiss universities.

The Swiss education system is characterized by a high degree of permeability: there are many ways to get into an educational program – to enroll in a school, to transfer, to attend an exchange program or a grant to study in Switzerland. Another advantage of studying in Switzerland is the open access to different types of education: any student who has received the minimum education for the chosen course, can attend courses of their choice.

Positive and negative sides of studying in Switzerland

This state is famous not only for its high level of economic development and favorable environment, but also for European diplomas.

Many people try to go to university in Switzerland, because education here has the following advantages:

  • Earning a diploma that is listed worldwide;
  • Study programs are oriented also on foreigners, therefore pupils of schools, pupils of colleges and students of higher educational institutions can study in English and at the same time learn other state languages;
  • Employment assistance after graduation.
  • Graduates have very high chances to find a prestigious job in Switzerland: large companies offer various internship options and organize job fairs.

However education in this country has one major drawback. Studying in Switzerland is very expensive, not so much because of the cost of education, but because of the high standard of living, which determines the high cost of housing, transport, clothing, food.

Higher education in Switzerland – Features

Higher education in Switzerland for foreingners can be obtained in public and private universities. National universities offer free education, and study at private universities will cost quite expensive, although not more expensive than in the Canadian, American and British similar institutions.

Many applicants wonder what documents need to be prepared in order to enter the best universities in the country. These are recommendations, letters of motivation, short CVs, language certificates (DELF, TOEFL, IELTS), transcripts of school or college grades, and many other papers (they vary from university to university).

Those who are thinking about how to enroll at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich can visit the official website of the institution and there find details about the exams and the required documents. Answers to all questions of potential applicants to the University of Geneva can be found on its web page.

In addition, it is necessary to consider the peculiarities of further education in Switzerland. Graduates from any higher education institution who are fluent in English, German, French or Italian can take advantage of the opportunity to continue their education in a special program of master’s, postgraduate or doctoral studies. Most such programs offer more in-depth specialized knowledge in your chosen field, and their graduates stand an excellent chance of finding employment.

Obtaining a Study Visa

Student visa to Switzerland is an indispensable element in the process of organizing the study in the country, which is a member of the Schengen agreement. To obtain it, you need to apply at the Embassy of the Swiss Republic or at the visa center of the Swiss Republic in your country.

To obtain a visa for studies lasting more than 90 days, you will need:

  • Three questionnaires.
  • A passport and two copies of its first page.
  • Four photos.
  • If you have a Schengen visa, copies of the last two of them.
  • Document confirming enrollment in an educational institution (original and two copies).
  • Proof of payment of tuition and other expenses (original and two copies).
  • Letter of motivation in the language of instruction.
  • Two original autobiographies in the national language.
  • Two original copies of the commitment to leave Switzerland after graduation.
  • Original and two copies of diplomas, certificates translated into the national language.
  • Letter of guarantee from the sponsor and proof of his/her ability to pay.
  • Insurance policy and accident insurance (if the university does not provide health insurance).
  • If the child is under 18 years of age, parental consent is also required for the child to travel abroad independently.
  • All documents must be translated into one of the national languages of Switzerland.

Tuition fees at universities in Switzerland

There is a stereotype that the cost of higher education in Switzerland is calculated fabulous sums. However, this is not the case: while private institutions are really expensive to study at, state universities usually cost very little. In fact, the Swiss Republic is one of the most affordable countries for obtaining education.

In addition, no one ruled out free education in Switzerland for foreingers. Here, the scholarship is much easier to achieve than in any English-speaking country, and more substantial grants: if in England or the U.S., a scholarship reduces the cost of education, in Switzerland, it also covers living expenses.

The price of education in Switzerland depends on the chosen university. For example, a year of education at the University of Zurich will cost 13 000 euros, and at the University of Geneva – 9000 euros. The most expensive university in the country – the University of the Italian part of Switzerland (University of Lugano) – offers education for foreigners for about 18 000 euros per year. This is the only university where the rule of equality of education for residents and non-residents is not respected, because for the Swiss education here will cost about 3,500 euros.

You should also remember that the money spent on tuition, in the absence of a scholarship does not cover living expenses. The cost of living together with food, rent and transportation, depending on the city and the individual needs of the student will be about 20,000 euros per year.

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