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Switzerland
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Diagram of the education system

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  • Diagram of education system in country language


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  • Education system in Switzerland

    Switzerland
    Overview of the education system (EAG 2018)
  • The tertiary attainment of women in Switzerland has increased twice as fast as that of men over the past decade, resulting in one of the smallest gender gaps in tertiary attainment across all OECD countries.
  • Although the employment rate of tertiary-educated native-born adults is higher than that of similarly educated foreign-born adults, foreign-born adults arriving both before and after the age of 16 enjoy better employment prospects in Switzerland than on average across OECD countries.
  • At upper secondary level, vocational programmes are popular in Switzerland and enrolment in school-based work programmes is among the highest across OECD countries.
  • Across all levels of education and throughout their career, teachers' annual salaries are markedly higher in Switzerland than on average across OECD countries.
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    The following list displays indicators for which your selected country shows the highest and lowest values among countries. The list can be sorted by level of education or by age group. All rankings are calculated including available data from OECD and partner countries. Find out more about the methodology here.

    Show indicators for which your country ranks among the top or bottom: Sort by:

    Educational outcomes

    The level of upper secondary attainment among 25-64 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (87.8 %, rank 10/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The level of upper secondary attainment among 25-34 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (91.9 %, rank 10/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The level of below upper secondary attainment among 25-64 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (12.2 %, rank 36/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The level of tertiary attainment among 25-34 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (50.1 %, rank 10/46 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 year-olds who have attained a vocational degree at the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (36.8 %, rank 8/33 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 year-olds who have attained a general degree at the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (8.4 %, rank 29/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-34 year-old men who have attained tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (49.3 %, rank 6/46 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Switzerland has one of the highest percentages of 25-64 year-olds whose highest education level is a master's or equivalent tertiary education degree. (18.6 %, rank 6/39 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 year-olds who attained a doctoral or equivalent tertiary education degree is one of the highest among countries with available data. (3 %, rank 2/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of female graduates from upper secondary general programmes is one of the highest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (57.1 %, rank 9/39 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Switzerland has one of the highest percentages of young people expected to obtain a bachelor's or an equivalent degree during their lifetime. (47.4 %, rank 7/38 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, Switzerland has one of the highest percentages of young people expected to complete a doctorate or an equivalent education during their lifetime. (1.4 %, rank 7/26 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    The enrolment rate of 5-14 year-olds in Switzerland is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (99.7 %, rank 10/43 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The proportion of upper secondary students enrolled in vocational or pre-vocational programmes is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (64.8 %, rank 7/42 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The percentage of three-year-olds in early childhood education in Switzerland is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2.5 %, rank 43/43 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The percentage of four-year-olds in early childhood and primary education in Switzerland is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (48.1 %, rank 39/43 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Switzerland, the average age of new entrants into doctoral programmes is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (28.5 Years, rank 28/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Fields of education

    In Switzerland, the percentage of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of business, administration and law is relatively high. (28.9 %, rank 9/34 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In Switzerland, the percentage of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is relatively high. (7.7 %, rank 6/34 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In Switzerland, the percentage of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is relatively low. (2.9 %, rank 28/34 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The share of female who enter tertiary education in of the field of natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (43 %, rank 30/33 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The share of female who enter tertiary education in of the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (17.3 %, rank 30/33 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The share of new female entrants to doctoral programmes enrolled in the field of natural sciences, mathematics and statistics in Switzerland is relatively high. (26.8 %, rank 7/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of new female entrants to doctoral programmes enrolled in the field of health and welfare in Switzerland is relatively high. (24.9 %, rank 6/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of new male entrants to doctoral programmes enrolled in the field of natural sciences, mathematics ans statistics in Switzerland is relatively high. (29.7 %, rank 7/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of new male entrants to doctoral programmes enrolled in the field of health and welfare in Switzerland is relatively high. (17.1 %, rank 6/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Student mobility

    Switzerland has one of the largest proportion of international or foreign students enrolled in tertiary education among OECD and partner countries with available data. (17.6 %, rank 4/42 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of international students entering doctorate or equivalent programmes in Switzerland is relatively large. (57.5 %, rank 3/33 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of international and foreign students enrolled in doctoral or equivalent programmes in Switzerland is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with avaialble data. (54.9 %, rank 2/39 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Expenditure per student

    Annual expenditure per student on research and development in tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (14282 USD Equivalent, rank 1/34 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In Switzerland, expenditure on pre-primary educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is comparatively low. (0.2 %, rank 30/33 , 2014) Download Indicator

    Expenditure in education and national wealth

    Between 2010 and 2012, the change in expenditure on educational institutions (from primary to tertiary level) as a percentage of GDP, excluding subsidies, is among the biggest of all OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (102 Index, rank 6/31 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In Switzerland, government expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP on tertiary education from final source of funds is relatively high. (1.3 %, rank 6/39 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Public and private expenditure in education

    The share of public expenditure on tertiary educational institutions is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (3.9 %, rank 9/39 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Between 2010 and 2012, the change in public expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions is comparatively big. (109 Index, rank 9/31 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In Switzerland, total public expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions as a percentage of total public expenditure is comparatively high. (13.6 %, rank 9/39 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Change in public expenditure (including subsidies to households) on primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education as a percentage of total public expenditure between 2011 and 2015 in Switzerland is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (97 Index, rank 11/20 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Teachers

    The number of hours per year lower secondary teachers spend teaching in public institutions is comparatively large in Switzerland. (760 Hours, rank 8/32 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The number of hours per year pre-primary teachers spend teaching in public institutions is comparatively small in Switzerland. (779 Hours, rank 23/26 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Who the teachers are

    The share of women among teaching staff in lower secondary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (54.5 %, rank 31/39 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff in upper secondary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (44 %, rank 38/40 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff in tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (34.7 %, rank 35/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (60.8 %, rank 27/31 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Teachers' salaries

    Starting salaries for pre-primary teachers with minimum training are especially high. (52743 USD Equivalent, rank 2/29 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Salaries of pre-primary teachers with minimum training after 10 years of experience are especially high. (66002 USD Equivalent, rank 2/27 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Salaries of pre-primary teachers with minimum training at the top of scale are especially high. (80416 USD Equivalent, rank 3/27 , 2017) Download Indicator

    It takes lower secondary teachers less time to progress through the salary scale in Switzerland compared to other OECD and partner countries. (24 Years, rank 17/24 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Employment and educational attainment

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education is comparatively high. (88.3 %, rank 8/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds without upper secondary education is comparatively high. (67.2 %, rank 6/43 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively high. (81.8 %, rank 5/43 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (82.4 %, rank 7/33 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a general upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (79.5 %, rank 6/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a general upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is low compared to other OECD and partner countries. (4.5 %, rank 30/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-34 year-olds with tertiary education is compartively high in Switzerland. (88.6 %, rank 5/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-34 year-olds with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is compartively high in Switzerland. (85.5 %, rank 1/43 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-34 year-old women with tertiary education is compartively high in Switzerland. (85.8 %, rank 7/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Earnings and educational attainment

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (25-64 year-olds with upper secondary education and income from employment) are one of the highest among countries with available data. (83.2 %, rank 8/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (25-64 year-olds with tertiary education and income from employment) are one of the highest among countries with available data. (78.4 %, rank 10/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Neither in education nor employed

    The proportion of 20-24 year-olds who are neither employed nor in education or training is comparatively small in Switzerland. (9.1 %, rank 37/39 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Migrant background

    The proportion of 25-34 year-olds who have attained tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (41.4 %, rank 10/30 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 55-64 year-olds who have attained tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (43.3 %, rank 4/30 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-64 year-olds without upper secondary education is comparatively high. (67.7 %, rank 6/27 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-34 year-olds without upper secondary education is comparatively high. (81.8 %, rank 8/30 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-34 year-olds with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively high. (66.3 %, rank 4/30 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education is comparatively high. (91.7 %, rank 2/30 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Earnings of 25-64 year-old full-time full-year earners with below upper secondary education are comparatively high. (106 Index, rank 2/19 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The percentage of foreign-born 15-29 year-olds in education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (34.9 %, rank 21/30 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The percentage of native-born 15-29 year-olds in education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (50.9 %, rank 8/30 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The percentage of native-born 15-29 year-olds neither employed nor in education and training is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (6.5 %, rank 28/30 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Governance

    The percentage of decisions taken at the central level of government for public lower secondary education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries. (0 %, rank 27/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of decisions taken at the central level or state level of government for public lower secondary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries. (47.9 %, rank 8/16 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of decisions taken at the local level of government for public lower secondary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries. (29.2 %, rank 6/33 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of decisions taken at the school level of for public lower secondary education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries. (8.3 %, rank 31/34 , 2017) Download Indicator


    The data table will display up to six selected countries.
    General findings
    • Adults without tertiary-educated parents face greater challenges to attain tertiary level themselves: Only 21% do compared to 68% among those with at least one tertiary-educated parent.
    • While there is little difference on average between the level of tertiary attainment among native-born and foreign-born adults, there are large variations across countries. In Mexico the tertiary attainment of foreign-born adults is more than double that of native-born. In contrast, native-born adults in Slovenia are almost twice more likely to have attained tertiary education than their foreign-born peers.
    • The gender gap favors girls in education but men in the labour market: 50% of 25-34 year-old women attained tertiary education in 2017 compared to 38% of men. However the employment rate of tertiary-educated young women is about 9 percentage points less than for men and they earn only 74% as much as men with similar educational attainment on average across OECD countries.
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    • In 2015, OECD countries spent on average around 5% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on educational institutions from primary to tertiary levels , with variations across countries from 3.1% in the Russian Federation to 6.4% in Norway.
    • On average, OECD countries spend USD 10 391 a year on educational institutions to educate each student from primary to tertiary education. This represents about USD 8 600 per student at primary level, USD 9 900 at secondary level and USD 15 500 at tertiary level.
    • Primary and secondary education accounts for almost 70% of total expenditure on primary to tertiary educational institutions, or around 3.5% of GDP, on average across OECD countries.
    • In 2015, public funding represented more than 80% of total expenditure on primary to tertiary educational institutions across the OECD countries, varying from 62% in Colombia to 99% in Norway. However only two thirds of total expenditure is financed through public sources on tertiary institutions on average across OECD countries.
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    • In most countries, teachers above 50 years of age make up more than a third of the teaching force.
    • While the teaching profession is dominated by women, the share of female teachers decreases with the level of education taught: almost all teachers at the pre-primary level are women; however they make up less than half of the teaching force at tertiary level.
    • On average across OECD countries, statutory salaries of teachers at the top of their salary scales (and maximum qualifications) are between 77% and 81% higher than starting salaries (with minimum qualifications).
    • Teachers' actual salaries at pre-primary, primary and general secondary levels of education are 82% to 96% of earnings of tertiary-educated workers on average across OECD countries.
    • While the average actual salary of primary and secondary female teachers is equal to or higher than the average earnings of full-time, tertiary-educated working women, primary and secondary male teachers earn between 77% and 88% of the average earnings of full-time, tertiary-educated working men.
    • Based on official regulations, public school teachers in OECD countries and economies are required to teach on average 1 030 hours per year at pre-primary level, 771 hours at primary level, 693 hours at lower secondary level (general programmes) and 646 hours at upper secondary level (general programmes).
    • On average across OECD countries, there are 15 students per teacher in primary education, 13 students per teacher in secondary education and 15 students per teacher in tertiary education.
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    • On average across OECD countries, 75% of children aged 3 are enrolled in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC).
    • At age 4, on average across OECD countries, almost 88% of children are enrolled in pre-primary education.
    • Annual expenditure per child in early childhood development programmes was greater than in pre-primary education in 2015 on average across OECD countries.
    • Public funds represent a higher share of total expenditure at pre-primary level than on early childhood development programmes.
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    • The share of first-time upper secondary graduates with a vocational qualification varied from 6% in Canada to 78% in Austria in 2016 with an average of 41% across OECD countries.
    • In 2016, across OECD countries, teaching hours for upper secondary, general programmes vary greatly from 405 hours in Denmark to 1064 hours in Chile with an average of 655 hours.
    • In 2016, the ratio of students to teaching staff in public upper secondary educational institutions across OECD countries varies from 9 in Portugal to 22 in Mexico with an average of 13 across OECD countries.
    • The employment rate for adults with upper secondary education is 18 percentage points higher than for those without. The employment advantage varies from 6 percentage points in Mexico to more than 30 percentage points in the Czech and Slovak Republics.
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    • Between 2007 and 2017, the share of tertiary-educated young adults increased by 10 percentage points on average across OECD countries.
    • In 2015, OECD countries spent on average around 1.5% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on tertiary educational institutions, ranging from 0.5% in Luxembourg to 2.6% in the United States.
    • On average in OECD countries, 59% of young adults will enter a bachelor's degree or equivalent programme in their lifetime while 24% are expected to enter a master's or equivalent programme.
    • While there are large variations across countries, international and foreign students account for 6% of total enrolment in tertiary programmes and reach more than a quarter of enrolments at doctoral level on average across OECD countries.
    • Tertiary-educated adults are more likely to be employed and earn about 55% more than those with upper secondary education on average across OECD countries.
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    Key
    Country Reviews for Switzerland

    Note: These values should be interpreted with care since they are influenced by countries' specific contexts and trade-offs. In education, there is often no simple most- or least-efficient model. For instance, the share of private expenditure in education must be read against other measures designed to mitigate inequities, such as loans and grants; longer learning time is an opportunity to convey more and better content to students, but may hinder investments in other important areas. If you want further information on the nature of different variables, please take the time to read the analysis and contextual information, available at the website for each publication.
    All rankings for individual variables are compiled on the basis of OECD and G20 countries for which data are available. The OECD average includes only OECD countries which are listed here: http://www.oecd.org/about/membersandpartners/

    *TALIS averages are based on all countries participating in the TALIS survey, including partner countries and economies. This explains the difference between the OECD average and the TALIS average. Data from the TALIS survey and Education at a Glance (EAG) may differ. See Annex E of the TALIS technical report and Annex 3 of EAG 2017 for more details about the data collections.

    For additional notes, please refer to annexes in the list of links below the introductory country profile text.