School & Education

Our educational system is subdivided into three levels. The compulsory period of education is eleven years. When choosing their career or degree programme, young people can seek advice on training and study options and apply for scholarships if necessary.

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Three Educational Levels

In general, Switzerland makes a distinction between three educational levels built on each other: (1) compulsory education, (2) vocational education and training or intermediate school and (3) higher vocational education, university of applied sciences or university.

Compulsory Education

In the Canton of Zurich, all children go to school for at least eleven years. The schools are mixed-gender, multi-ethnic and denominationally neutral. The children attend kindergarten from the age of four (2 years), followed by primary school (6 years) and secondary school level I (3 years). Compulsory Public School is free of charge. Parents are free to choose a private school for their children at their own expense.

To register your child for school or kindergarten, you can either contact your residential municipality or get in touch with the school management directly. If you have any questions about the Swiss educational system, the Career and Academic Studies Counselling
can assist you.

Vocational Education and Training and Intermediate Schools

Vocational education and training (VET) prepares young people for a specific occupation in a two to four-year apprenticeship, which is a combination of learning the practical skills in a company and attending class at VET School.

Intermediate Schools prepare young people for academic studies at a university or university of applied sciences. There are Intermediate Schools which are completed with a Baccalaureate, and those which are completed with a Specialised Baccalaureate or Federal Vocational Baccalaureate.

Higher Vocational Education, Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences

Higher vocational education allows for professionals to specialise and amplify their expertise. It is subsequent to VET School (apprenticeship). A Baccalaureate is not required.

In Switzerland, a distinction is made between universities - the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH) included - and universities of applied sciences. Universities of applied sciences tend to teach practice-oriented; universities tend to teach theory-oriented. A Baccalaureate is required for admission. For university admission in Switzerland with a foreign Baccalaureate Diploma, please contact the university directly. The respective university will inform you about admission terms and recognition of foreign diplomas.

Career Choices for Young People

Career counsellors assist young people in choosing their career or degree programme. The Career and Academic Studies Counselling provides individual counselling and information.


Scholarships and loans lend support to persons on a low income. Cantonal education grants can be applied for by submitting a request.


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