Education in Switzerland


Education in Switzerland

The education system in Switzerland is very diverse, because the constitution of Switzerland delegates the authority for the school system to the cantons (Article 62). The Swiss constitution sets the foundations, namely that primary school is obligatory for every child and is free in public schools and that the confederation can run or support universities. Swiss people have voted on May 21 2006 to reform the education system in one common program for all the cantons. Because of its diversity, there are many private international schools in Switzerland that encourage respect for all cultures.

The minimum age for primary school is about six years in all cantons but Obwalden, where it is five years and three months. Any boy or girl can take part in school if they choose to, but kids are separated depending on whether they speak French, German or Italian. Primary school continues until grade four or five, depending on the school.

At the end of primary school (or at the beginning of secondary school), pupils are separated according to their capacities in several (often three) sections. The best students are taught advanced classes to be prepared for further studies and the matura, while students who assimilate a little bit more slowly receive an education more adapted to their needs. In PISA science literacy assessment, 15-year-old students in Switzerland had the 16th highest average score of 57 countries. [ [http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/42/8/39700724.pdf Range of rank on the PISA 2006 science scale] ]

The first university in Switzerland was founded in 1460 in Basel, with a faculty of medicine. This place has a long tradition of chemical and medical research in Switzerland. In total, there are 12 Universities in Switzerland; ten of them are managed by the cantons, while two federal institutes of technology, ETHZ in Zürich and EPFL in Lausanne, are under the responsibility of the federal state. In addition, there are various Universities of Applied Sciences which do not require a matura degree to study. Switzerland has the second highest rate of foreign students in tertiary education, after Australia. [ [http://www.ecs.org/html/offsite.asp?document=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eoecd%2Eorg%2Fdataoecd%2F20%2F25%2F35345692%2Epdf Education at Glance 2005] by OECD: Percentage of foreign students in tertiary education.]

Many Nobel prizes were awarded to Swiss scientists. More recently Vladimir Prelog, Heinrich Rohrer, Richard Ernst, Edmond Fischer, Rolf Zinkernagel and Kurt Wüthrich received nobel prizes in the sciences. In total, 113 Nobel Prize winners stand in relation to Switzerland [Nobel prizes in non-science categories included.] and the Nobel Peace Price was awarded 9 times to organizations residing in Switzerland.cite web |url=http://www.muellerscience.com/SPEZIALITAETEN/Schweiz/SchweizerNobelpreistraeger.htm |title=Mueller Science - Spezialitaeten: Schweizer Nobelpreisträger |format= |work= |accessdate=2008-07-31] Geneva host the world's largest particle physics laboratory, the CERN. An other important research center is the Paul Scherrer Institute which belongs to the ETHZ.

Primary

The obligatory school system usually includes primary education ("Primarschule" in German, "école primaire" in French and "scuola primaria / elementare" in Italian) and secondary education I ("Sekundarstufe I" in German, "secondaire I" in French and "scuola secondaria / media" in Italian). Before that, children usually go to kindergarten. The minimum age for primary school is about six years in all cantons but Obwalden, where it is five years and three months. The cantons Thurgau and Nidwalden allow five year olds to start primary school in exceptional cases. Primary school continues until grade four, five or six, depending on the school. Any boy or girl can take part in school if they choose to, but kids are separated depending on whether they speak French, German or Italian.

Secondary

"In some cantons", at the end of primary school (or at the beginning of secondary school), pupils are separated according to their capacities in several (often three) sections. The best students are taught advanced classes to be prepared for further studies and the matura, while students who assimilate a little bit more slowly receive an education more adapted to their needs. This separation can be summarized as follows:
*"Pre-gymnasium": this division aims to prepare the students for Gymnasium (German) / gymnase/collège/lycée (French) / liceo (italian) or other schools which deliver a Federal maturity diploma. Students often have the choice between a science stream (with many hours of mathematics, and an introduction to physics and chemistry) and a more literary stream with Latin (and sometimes Greek).
*"Intermediate": this division targets intermediate students whose goal it is to go to technical or secretarial schools, for example.
*"Pre-professional": This division regroups students who are more interested in manual jobs, and prepares them for an apprenticeship by giving them strong bases in spelling, reading and mathematics.The purpose of this system is to give every student an education that fits his or her needs and interests, but it is also criticized because it segregates children based on intellectual capacity. Secondary I school continues until grade nine, which marks the end of compulsory school.

"Other cantons" have only one kind of secondary school.

Tertiary

Tertiary education depends on the education chosen in secondary education. For students with a matura, university is the most common one. Apprentices who did a vocational high school will often add a Fachhochschule or a Höhere Fachschule to their curriculum. Switzerland has the second highest rate of foreign students in tertiary education, after Australia. [ [http://www.ecs.org/html/offsite.asp?document=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eoecd%2Eorg%2Fdataoecd%2F20%2F25%2F35345692%2Epdf Education at Glance 2005] by OECD: Percentage of foreign students in tertiary education.]

There are 14 Universities in Switzerland, 10 of which are maintained at cantonal level and usually offer a range of non-technical subjects. Most prominent of these, internationally, are the Universität Zürich and the Universität St. Gallen. The remaining 2 institutions are run by the Swiss Confederation and are known as "Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology". Of these the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ) is renowned as a world leader in Science and Technology education and research. 2 Universities are run privately but accredited by Cantones. Fact|date=August 2008

Cantonal Universities:

* Universität Basel (BS)
* Universität Bern (BE)
* Universität Freiburg/Université de Fribourg (FR)
* Université de Genève (GE)
* Université de Lausanne (VD)
* Université de Lucerne (LU)
* Université de Neuchâtel (NE)
* Universität St. Gallen (HSG)(SG)
* Università della Svizzera italiana (TI)
* Universität Zürich (ZH)

Federal Universities:

* Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ)
* École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

In 2008, the ETH Zurich was ranked 15th in the field "Natural Sciences and Mathematics" by the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities [ [http://ed.sjtu.edu.cn/ARWU-FIELD2008/SCI2008.htm Shanghai Ranking 2008 Top 100 world universities in Natural Sciences and Mathematics] ] and the EPFL in Lausanne was ranked 18th in the field "Engineering/Technology and Computer Sciences" by the same ranking.

Academic Institutions (according to the Rector's Conference of Swiss Universities [http://www.crus.ch/information-programmes/reconnaissance-swiss-enic/accords-internationaux/accords-sur-la-reconnaissance-reciproque/hautes-ecoles-ch-a.html?L=1] and to art. 3 and 12 of the Swiss Federal Law on University Funding –LAU [http://www.admin.ch/ch/f/rs/c414_20.html] )
*Graduate Institute of International Studies- HEI (Institut universitaire de hautes études internationales), Genève
*Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration- IDHEAP (Institut de hautes études en administration publique), Lausanne
*Graduate Institute Kurt Bösch - IUKB (Institut Universitaire Kurt Bösch), Sion
*Distance Learning Academic Foundation [http://www.fernuni.ch/] - Fondation pour la formation supérieure à distance, Brigue

Private Institutions:
* Business and Hotel Management School [http://www.bhms.ch]
* SBS Swiss Business School
* European University (EU) [http://www.euruni.edu] The European University is accredited by the NVAO [http://nvao.net Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders] and [http://www.nqa.nl Netherlands Quality Agency B.V.]
* [http://www.educatis.ch/ Educatis University Switzerland ] The Educatis University is accredited by the Swiss Canton of Uri.
* [http://www.egsuniversity.ch/ European Graduate School - EGS University] The EGS University is accredited by the Swiss Canton of Valais.
* [http://edu.zak.ch/ Zentrum fuer Agogik ZAK (Centre for Agogics)] The ZAK is accredited by the Dutch Validation Council (DVC) and by the [http://www.nqa.nl Netherlands Quality Agency B.V.]
* International Hotel Management Institute Switzerland (IMI) (LU) [http://www.imi-luzern.com]
* International Institute for Management Development (IMD) [http://www.imd.ch]

See also

* List of universities in Switzerland
*Licence
*DEA
*Doctorat

References

External links

* [http://www.educationsystem.educa.ch educa.ch] The Swiss Education Server
* [http://www.about.ch/education/index.html about.ch] Information about Education in Switzerland
* [http://www.swissuniversity.ch swissuniversity.ch] The portal of universities in Switzerland
* [http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/country_information/country_profile/Education.html?siteSect=2605&sid=5312179&cKey=1197388325000&ty=st swissinfo.ch - Education in Switzerland]


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