Structure of Education System in Switzerland

Compulsory education in Switzerland lasts at least nine years and is subdivided into primary school and lower-secondary education. In some cantons, it is mandatory to attend pre-school for one or two years. Primary education lasts six years and lower-secondary education three years in majority of the cantons. Students complete compulsory education at the age of 15 to 16 years.

Primary Education

It includes Pre-School and Primary School.


One to two years of free pre-school education is being provided to the kids in Switzerland.
  • Entry Age: 5 or 6 years old

Primary School

  • Entry Age: 7 years
  • Duration: 4 to 6 years (Depending on the cantons)
  • Grades: 1 to 8 (including Pre-School education)

Secondary Education

Secondary education is split into two levels: lower and upper levels usually referred to as secondary I and II. Lower Level, i.e. level I generally last three years and is compulsory to attend. At the age of 15-16 depending on when they started school, students who wish to like to extend their education move into the upper secondary level, which generally lasts 3 - 4 years. This level forms the beginning phase of post-compulsory education.

Lower Secondary Level

  • Duration: 3 years
  • Grades: 9 to 11
  • Age group:12 to 15 years

Upper Secondary Level

  • Duration: 3 to 4 years
  • Age group:16 to 19 years

Higher or Tertiary Education

  • Age: 18 and above
Higher Education can be completed at tertiary level A institutions or within the framework of tertiary level B professional education and training (PET). Tertiary level A institutions include universities, universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education that provides several academic and practice-oriented courses of study. Tertiary level B provides in-depth specialist knowledge.
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