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Professorships Department

Education, School System and Childcare

Switzerland has a top-quality education system characterized by openness and mobility. Each child in Switzerland attends school for eleven years. At the end of this eleven-year period there are a number of paths that can be chosen, whether an apprenticeship, a university of applied sciences, or an academic university in the classic sense. Around 95% of all children in Switzerland attend public (state) school. Public (state) schools are free of charge and the curriculum confessionally neutral.


Responsibility for education is divided between the federal government, the cantons and the communes, thereby reflecting Switzerland’s diverse cultures and languages. Standard rules apply to the age at which children start school, the start and duration of the school year, and the length of compulsory schooling.

Structure of the Swiss Education System

The Swiss education system is made up of the following levels:

  • Primary (including 2 years of pre-school (Kindergarten); 8 years in total)
  • Lower secondary (3 years)
  • Upper secondary (basic vocational training, academic Baccalaureate schools and specialist upper secondary schools)
  • Tertiary (higher education institutions and higher-level vocational training)
  • Continuing education

This graphic shows a simplified form of Switzerland’s education system, along with the corresponding level under the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) system, thus permitting an international comparison. Also provides a  good overview of the Swiss education system and public (state) schools.

Compulsory Schooling

Compulsory schooling generally begins at the age of four and lasts for eleven years. It comprises the primary and lower secondary levels, after which students move to an upper secondary school, which continues for a further two to four years.

More information about schools.


Whether it's a place in a daycare center (Kita), home-based childminders (Tagesfamilie) or childcare facilites available outside school hours: thanks to a wide range of services, parents in the city of Zurich can easily combine work and family life.

Kihz, the foundation for Childcare in the Zurich University Area, offers UZH employees a comprehensive and varied range of care options for children aged from four months until they go to pre-school (Kindergarten).

The city of Zurich provides information on municipal and private childcare services for preschool children and on childcare services before and after school (e.g. Kita or nursery «Hort»).

Weiterführende Informationen


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