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Compulsory schooling: overview

Village school, Chäneltal, Canton Bern (in new window)

Village school, Chäneltal, Canton Bern©

The Swiss educational system is divided into four stages: preschool, primary, secondary I, secondary II, tertiary and adult education.

The second and third stages are compulsory, and last for nine years. Although private schools exist, the majority of children attend state-run schools.

The preschool stage, or kindergarten, is financed largely by the commune. Depending on the canton, children have the right to one or two years of kindergarten education before starting compulsory schooling.

The age at which children start primary school varies by canton; the youngest is 6. The number of years spent also varies: in most cantons it is 6 years, but in others it is 5 or 4.

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