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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » December 19, 2013
Switzerland in Poland
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Education is Key
December 19, 2013   
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Switzerland has no natural resources or heavy industry to speak of, so the country’s development is founded on education and innovation.

Switzerland has a reputation as a country with one of the best education systems in the world. All public school education in Switzerland is free and students also receive teaching aids, such as textbooks, free of charge.

Education begins with preschool, which usually lasts two years. Unlike elementary education, preschool is not obligatory for all children, though legal regulations vary from one canton to another. Most children start their elementary school at the age of six. The obligatory subjects are a national language (German, French, Italian or Romansh, depending on the region), a foreign language, mathematics, history, civics, geography, nature, drawing, design and technology, music and physical education.

Like most other countries, Switzerland also has private schools, but these are mainly attended by the children of foreigners. These are usually boarding schools.

Switzerland’s education system is decentralized and administered by the country’s cantons. The cantons are also in charge of universities, with the exception of two Federal Institutes of Technology.

After compulsory school, students can enroll in a high school, where they study for three years and from which they can go on to university. The other choice is a vocational school, which offers a mix of in-firm apprenticeship and general and profession-related education. This type of education is highly popular in Switzerland. Basic education in such schools lasts two years, after which students receive a national certificate testifying to their skills. After a total of three to four years of learning a profession, students take final exams at the national level. There are around 200 professions to choose from and the most popular ones are in health care, commercial careers, the hotel industry, education, communication skills, composing and art, music and theater. Each vocational school teaches two national languages and one foreign language, usually English. Students who pass the final national exams are entitled to enter tertiary-level universities of applied sciences.

Switzerland’s most famous universities are the Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich and Lausanne, which are well known around the world.
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